Carter Hart’s confidence is sagging.

You can hear it in his somber-sounding voice when the 22-year-old says, “I don’t feel like myself.”

You can see it in his play on the ice, where he is making himself small in the net and has become vulnerable to high shots on the glove side.

Brian Elliott, 35, the backup goalie who is now in his 13th NHL season, can relate. Like Hart, Elliott has been through some tough stretches during his quality career.

After Wednesday’s practice in Voorhees, Elliott, who has served as Hart’s mentor, was asked if there was more pressure on a young goalie than a skater who was going through a slump.

“It’s how you take it,” he said. “Like any position, you kind of relate it to the golf thing. You try so much harder, and sometimes you push [your shot] even further -- pull it, yank it. I think you just have to stay patient and do the things that got you here in the first place.”

He said goaltenders have “internal battles” every day and “you try as hard as you can without over-trying.”

Elliott (2.29 GAA, .919 save percentage), who is expected to start Thursday against visiting Washington, said his conversations with Hart are “kind of between us goalies. You share experiences and just try to be a sounding board a little bit.”

Last season, his first full year in the NHL, Hart was very good, compiling a 2.42 GAA (sixth-best in NHL among goalies with at least 30 games) and .914 save percentage. He was even better in the playoffs (2.23, .926).

Now, playing behind a mistake-prone defense that misses the retired Matt Niskanen, he looks lost.

» READ MORE: How Carter Hart was viewed before the season

Among NHL goaltenders who have played in at least 10 games this season, Hart is 41st with a 3.61 goals-against average and 40th with an .888 save percentage.

Coach Alain Vigneault said he prefers having goaltender coach Kim Dillabaugh spend most of the time trying to get Hart straightened out.

“I think goaltender is a special position, and I trust Kim quite a bit and I let him deal with both of our guys a lot more than I get involved,” Vigneault said. “But at the end of the day, Carter is not the first goaltender/player to go through a challenging time. He’s got to work. There’s no secret formula to anything in life; the common denominator for people who have consistency and success is hard work, and the right frame of mind to push yourself.”

Hart stayed long after practice and did extra work with Dillabaugh on Wednesday, one day after he was yanked after allowing three goals in the first period. Elliott relieved him as the Flyers overcame a 4-2 deficit and defeated lowly Buffalo, 5-4, in a shootout.

After Wednesday’s game, Hart was happy with the comeback win, despondent that his struggles continued.

“I need to find a way to get back on track because I’m not playing well,” he said. “I know it. Everyone knows it. It’s hard right now.”

He said he had to “trust my game” and stop overthinking things.

With two goalies needed more than usual because of the condensed schedule, Hart won’t be out for long. He is expected to get his next start Saturday against the Capitals.

In life and in sports, “it’s not a consistent climb. There’s peaks and valleys. There’s ups and downs,” Vigneault said. “The ones that work harder, work smarter, and don’t feel sorry for themselves and push themselves are the ones that become the best they can be.”

» READ MORE: Is Flyers coach Alain Vigneault indirectly asking his GM to bolster the defense?