With division lead in sight, Hart, Flyers keep streaking

Carter Hart Flyers
Carter Hart
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers are tied with the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division with 14 games remaining.

How many of us saw that coming?

Those of you who put your hands up can put them down now because you’re probably lying.

Philadelphia won its ninth-straight game on Saturday night, a 3-1 triumph over the Buffalo Sabres to move up to 89 points on the season. That’s already seven more points than they had all of last year.

The Flyers have been the best team in hockey since Jan. 8, owning a 19-5-1 record, which erased a 15-point deficit behind those Capitals at the time and saw Alain Vigneault’s men jump four teams in the division standings.

Claude Giroux was the latest Flyer to play the hero as his two goals helped erase a less-than-convincing first two periods against Buffalo on Saturday night.

The veteran captain has six points (4 goals, 2 assists) in his last five games.

“Right now, everything we touch is working,” Flyers forward Jakub Voracek said. “We were due for a game like that, let’s be honest. It’s impossible to be on top of your game throughout the season but the difference is you find a way to win instead of getting beat. Good two points. We hang in with Washington.”

But it’s one of their youngest players that is making the largest impact as franchise netminder Carter Hart continues to reach new heights in the infancy of his NHL career.

The 21-year-old became the youngest goalie in NHL history to record two winning streaks of seven or more games. His 38-save performance against Buffalo was his seventh-straight win after he put up an eight-game streak last season.

It continues his unbeatable ways at Wells Fargo Center as Saturday night was also his eighth-straight win at home. His record in Philadelphia this season is a sterling 20-2-2 this season.

That mark tied a franchise record for fewest home games before reaching 20 wins, joining Wayne Stephenson in 1976-76 and Bernie Parent just one year later.

Hart is slated to get the call again on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center where he’ll try to slow down the NHL-best Boston Bruins, who have a league-high 98 points with 13 games remaining.

With the Bruins challenge comes the task of slowing down the NHL’s top scorer in David Pastrnak, who has rifled in 48 goals within Boston’s “Perfection Line” that also features Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

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