They used to put bumper stickers on the back of their Pintos in the mid-1970s. “Only the Lord saves more than Bernie Parent” was the cute little slogan. It had zero to do with religion and everything to do with the Flyers’ star goaltender at the time.
Carter Hart is not in Bernie’s zip code just yet, even if bumper stickers have been replaced by GIFs and memes. Hart’s next postseason game will be his first. Parent was the King of Spring.
Still, the young goalie has South Philly crowds abuzz with his ridiculous home record.
Parent, Roman Cechmanek and Hart are the only Flyers goalies to win at least 20 games at home with a goals-against average of less than 2.00. Hart’s save percentage of .944 would be the highest in Flyers history among goalies who’ve won at least 20 home games.
Wins are a team measurement. GAA and save percentage reflect directly on the goalie, especially save percentage. Hart’s opening-day win against Chicago in Prague is counted here since the Flyers were the home team that night.
When Wayne Stephenson set the team record with 30 home wins, his goals-against average was 2.01 and his save percentage was .925. These are great numbers, but Hart’s are better.
“Carter’s a young goaltender who has improved throughout the year,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “He’s got a great relationship [with goalie coach Kim Dillabaugh]. They really work on his knowledge of the game and understanding the reads he needs to make.”
In 1974-75, Parent had a ridiculous 1.40 GAA in 39 starts at the Spectrum. Hart, in 24 games this year, is slightly higher at 1.61.
Hart has 20 home wins, tied for eighth most in team history. He missed three weeks (and five home games) with an abdominal strain, and the Flyers have seven home games remaining entering Tuesday. He can’t catch Stephenson, but he could become just the third Flyer with 25 home wins. Parent is the other.
Hart’s next task is not an easy one. The Bruins, who are tops in the league with 98 points, will be at the Wells Fargo Center tonight (7 p.m., NBCSP).
A victory by Hart here will give him the most wins at home in the NHL this season, but more importantly put the Flyers in first place in the Metropolitan Division. If they can stay there, they’d have home-ice advantage for at least the first two rounds of the postseason.
And that’s what it’s all about.
“He’s been electric at home,” teammate Kevin Hayes said. “His stats speak for themselves. ... Our home record has been great. I feel like we have great starts at home. When the puck drops, I feel like we’re never chasing from behind at home. It probably helps a goalie to defend a lead instead of chasing it.”