The “CH” on the Montreal Canadiens’ famed jersey stands for Club de Hockey Canadiens.
In their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Flyers, it seemed to stand for something else: Carter Hart.
Hart, the Flyers’ unflappable 22-year-old goaltender, outdueled his idol, Carey Price, 33, in a six-game series win over the Canadiens.
Now he goes up against another veteran goaltender in the next round: The Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, 32, who is 7-2 with a 1.67 GAA and .934 save percentage in this year’s postseason.
Hart, who is 6-2 with a 1.71 GAA and .943 save percentage in the first postseason of his young career, was asked by an Edmonton reporter in a Zoom call Sunday if he had a sense of how his play was being celebrated in Philadelphia and his hometown outside of Edmonton.
“I don’t know if there’s really anything to celebrate right now,” he said. “We’ve got a job to do this round. Like I said earlier, one day at a time. We know this series is going to be intense. We’ll prepare the right way. My family and friends back home are cheering us all on and happy to see us playing well. I know they’ve got my back.”
The series starts Monday in Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena.
The Flyers loaned center German Rubtsov to Sochi of Russia’s KHL. Several players from the Phantoms will be playing in Europe for a while because the AHL season won’t start until at least Dec. 4 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the Flyers’ other prospects who will play overseas until the AHL season begins: David Kase, Linus Sandin, and Maxim Sushko. Goalie Felix Sandstrom, who is coming off surgery, may also play in Europe, though that hasn’t been finalized.
“We want the guys to keep playing,” said Brent Flahr, one of the Flyers’ assistant general managers. “A guy like Rubtsov has missed so much hockey the last two years with injuries, and to get him playing in a quality league would certainly be beneficial.”
Rubtsov, 22, selected by the Flyers in the first round of the 2016 draft, had two goals and 13 points in 42 games with the Phantoms last season. He was pointless in four games with the Flyers.