There is a huge disparity in Carter Hart’s success at home and on the road, and the Flyers’ gifted young goaltender can’t explain it.
“You prepare for them the same way at home or on the road; it doesn’t really matter what environment you’re in,” said Hart, who is expected to make his next start Saturday afternoon against visiting Ottawa. “It doesn’t matter if I’m in Slovakia or in Canada or wherever I am, I prepare the same.”
Hart’s stats at the Wells Fargo Center this season are eye-opening: a 7-1-2 record, a 1.48 goal-against average, and a .944 save percentage in 10 games.
In eight road games, he is 2-4-1 (one no-decision) with a 3.78 GAA and .849 save percentage. Brian Elliott, meanwhile, has been better on the road (5-2, 2.61, .923) than at home (2-0-2, 2.89, .902 entering Thursday).
It’s a small sample size, but if Hart’s home/road splits continue, it might fit into coach Alain Vigneault’s equation when figuring out his goaltender rotation each week.
Overall, Hart is 9-5-3 this season with 2.35 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. He has excelled since a three-game slump in October.
“He’s played extremely well since then,” Vigneault said. “What I’ve seen is a young goaltender going through the process of evolving and improving his game. He ‘s working real hard. He’s doing a lot of work on the ice, but he’s also doing a lot of work with Kim [Dillabaugh, the goalie coach] off the ice, too, to become the best goaltender he can be. There’s obviously room for growth; he’s only 21 years old.”
Hart will celebrate the one-year anniversary of his NHL debut Dec. 18.
“It’s kind of crazy that it’s coming up on a year in the NHL,” he said. “It’s flown by so fast.”
Hart recalled not sleeping the night before his first NHL game and what that 3-2 win over visiting Detroit meant to him. “My parents got to come. My billet partner got to come. That made it even more special to share that moment with them,” he said.
Robert Hagg, who has played well, was back in the lineup Thursday against Arizona as Vigneault went with seven defensemen. Center Misha Vorobyev was among the healthy scratches. … Vigneault still planned to have a four-line rotation, with left wingers Scott Laughton and Claude Giroux spending time as centers during some of the fourth-line shift. ... Nolan Patrick, sidelined all season with a migraine disorder, skated Wednesday for the seventh time in the last eight days.