Concerning news came out of Philadelphia Flyers training camp on Tuesday afternoon as goaltender Carter Hart was forced to leave the team’s intrasquad scrimmage due to an injury.
The specifics of the injury or the severity of it have not been disclosed by the Flyers, though his teammate — forward Kevin Hayes — said he believed it wasn’t anything “too serious.”
Hart was the backstop of the Flyers’ winning ways before the coronavirus pandemic halted play back in March. It was an ill-timed interruption for a Philadelphia team that was one of the NHL’s hottest clubs, winning nine of their final 10 games.
The 21-year-old was no exception to the hot streak, going 11-3 in his final 14 starts with a .929 save percentage.
Behind his play, the Flyers nabbed a top-four spot in the Eastern Conference, ensuring they would get a bye past the NHL Qualifiers — a best-of-five series in this year’s expanded postseason that will pit the fifth-through-twelfth seeds in each conference.
The Flyers will play the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, and Washington Capitals in a round-robin tournament to decipher the final top-four standings in the conference.
The moment wasn’t lost on Hart, who recently told reporters that “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this.”
Should Hart miss any time with play set to begin next month, Brian Elliott will take the reins as the team’s No. 1 goaltender.
In 31 games this year, the 35-year-old posted a 16-7-4 record with a 2.87 goals-against-average and a .899 save percentage.
While Hart would be brand-new to the postseason stage, Elliott has plenty of experience with 45 postseason appearances over his 13-year career. However, the numbers are less-than-stellar.
He is 16-25 as a starter in the playoffs with a .903 SV% and 2.76 GAA.
Starting four games for the Flyers in their last playoff appearance in 2018, he went 1-3 with a .856 SV% and inflated 4.74 GAA.