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Flyers Showing Great Hart in Goal

Flyers Showing Great Hart in Goal
It seems like for decades the Flyers have been attempting to find consistency in goal. It is probably too soon to say that the problem is solved with 20-year-old Carter Hart, but at the least, the Flyers and their fans can feel good about what they have seen in the beginning of his NHL career.
 
In his first 20 games following Sunday’s 3-1 win in Detroit, Hart had a 13-6-1 record, a 2.53 goals against average and .924 save percentage.
 
He is a player who has rarely been out of position and so far – and we know it is very early in the process – he has received positive reviews.
 
The aforementioned win over Detroit was especially impressive because it came after he faced some adversity.
 
Hart and the Flyers had barely escaped the Red Wings the day before in a 6-5 overtime win at the Wells Fargo Center.
 
The Flyers had led 5-1 early in the third period before collapsing. Neither Hart nor his defense, were particularly effective in the third period as the Red Wings scored four unanswered goals, sending it to OT on a goal with seven seconds left in regulation.
 
The Flyers won that game on a Travis Konecny wrap-around just 1:27 into overtime.
 
Hart then came back the next night in Detroit with a superb performance, stopping 37 shots and making many spectacular saves.
 
To have a player who won’t turn 21 until August bounce back so quickly shows a lot. He will continue to have to bounce back after being pulled during Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay after allowing three goals by the midway point of the first period. It’s all part of the learning process.
 
It’s amazing that at the beginning of the season, Hart was expected to play all year in the AHL with the Phantoms.
 
Less than two weeks after general manager Ron Hextall was relieved of his duties and replaced by Chuck Fletcher, Hart was called up to the Flyers.
 
He opened with a 3-2 win over the same Red Wings and has been playing stellar hockey for the most part ever since.
 
Over the weekend, the Flyers traded Anthony Stolarz to Edminton for Cam Talbot in a dealing involving goalies.
 
Talbot can be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but he indicated in his opening conference call with the media that he would be amenable to signing with the Flyers.
 
Hart and Talbot are good friends and have trained together in the summers. Talbot has become a mentor toward Hart.
 
Fletcher said Talbot wasn’t brought in to be a mentor, that the Flyers want to see what they can do as they continue to make a playoff push.
 
The fact that the two goalies have a great relationship, sure doesn’t hurt.
 
Once he plays, Talbot will be the eighth goalie used this season by the Flyers which would be a dubious NHL record.
 
The Flyers have injuries and inconsistency in goal, and if Talbot’s arrival can provide more consistency, then it would be a good move.
 
There is not doubt that moving forward, Hart will be the franchise’s No. 1 goalie, but it’s more prudent to share the load.
 
Talbot, as recently as the 2016-17 season, led the NHL with 73 starts. In an 82-game schedule, that is way too many.
 
A 52-30 split is probably more ideal.
 

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Whatever happens in the future, the short term future of the Flyers goaltending situation looks a lot brighter due to Hart living up to his billing and the arrival of a dependable veteran like the 31-year-old Talbot.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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