ST. LOUIS — The Flyers will be without their No. 1 goalie for a handful of games.
Carter Hart will be sidelined two to three weeks because of a lower right abdominal strain, and the Flyers demoted winger Joel Farabee to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday to open cap space and recalled Alex Lyon as their backup goalie.
Hart, 21, suffered the injury while on the ice for a few minutes at Tuesday’s practice in Voorhees, coach Alain Vigneault said. He recorded a 6-5 shootout win Monday over Boston.
Lyon served as Brian “Moose” Elliott’s backup Wednesday in St. Louis. Elliott had been scheduled to start Wednesday even before Hart was injured.
If Hart is sidelined just two weeks, he would miss only four games, because the Flyers have a league-mandated break and the All-Star break in that span. They won’t play any games in a nine-day span (Jan. 22-30).
After Wednesday, Hart (2.61 GAA, .905 save percentage) will likely miss games against Montreal, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh.
“It’s tough losing a guy like that,” right winger Travis Konecny said. “You never want to see an injury, but for that to happen at this time when we’re going into a break is probably a best-case scenario.”
“We’ll take it one game at a time, and Brian is going to get a chance to play," Vigneault said, "and I’m very confident he’s going to play well and the team is going to play well.”
Entering Wednesday, Elliott was 9-5-3 with a 3.16 goals-against average and .896 save percentage. The Blues were aiming for a club-record 10th straight home win Wednesday, and they had outscored opponents, 36-15, in their previous nine games at the Enterprise Center.
“Moose has been solid for us all year and given us a chance to win games,” right winger Jake Voracek said before Wednesday’s game. “You have to appreciate that and play good for him.”
Vigneault was undecided about whether Lyon, who was having a strong season at Lehigh Valley, would start Thursday against visiting Montreal, the second of back-to-back games.
“We’ll get through today,” Vigneault said after a morning meeting. “I feel good about Alex. I got to know him during training camp. I like the way he played for us. He just got off a shutout, and I saw part of it. If we need him, I know he’s going to be ready.”
Asked if Lyon made an impression when he had a brief stint with the Flyers last season, Voracek smiled.
“Last year, we had so many goalies that I don’t even remember how he played,” Voracek cracked.
The Flyers used an NHL-record eight goaltenders last season.
Lyon, 27, a one-time star at Yale University, played 11 games with the Flyers in 2017-18 and two games with them last season, compiling a combined 3.05 GAA and .894 save percentage.
With the injury-plagued Phantoms this season, he was 9-11-2 with a 2.56 GAA and .916 save percentage.
“I’ve gotten a lot better at staying ready for an opportunity,” Lyon said after a brief morning practice session. “I feel like I’ve been on top of my game for most of the year. Wins have been tough to come by, but I’ve just tried to stay within myself. The team has been playing well, but just can’t find the back of the net. It happens every once in a while.”
Lyon said he was "less stressed” about his play this season. “I’ve been locked in about how I want to do things and feel more prepared than ever to just let it fly, and wherever the chips fall is where they fall,” he said.
Farabee (three goals, 12 points in 37 games), who has a $925,000 cap hit, was loaned to the Phantoms to create cap room to recall Lyon ($750,000) from Lehigh Valley, and winger Chris Stewart was placed on waivers. Farabee will probably be recalled if Stewart clears waivers Thursday and is sent to the Phantoms. In the meantime, Stewart played right wing on the fourth line Wednesday.
“I only worry about things I can control,” Stewart said about the oddity of returning to the lineup and being put on waivers on the same day.