Carter Hart did something Bernie Parent, Pelle Lindbergh and Ron Hextall failed to do: win his first playoff start. After the way Hart outdueled childhood idol Carey Price on Wednesday, we thought we’d take a look at some other notable Flyers goaltenders’ playoff debuts.
P.S. The round-robins were nice, and are considered by the league as postseason games, but Wednesday night started the real playoffs.
» READ MORE: Carter Hart dazzles in win over Canadiens
First playoff game: April 4, 1968.
Age: Turned 23 the day before.
Result: Lost, 1-0, as St. Louis’ Jim Roberts scored with less than six minutes remaining. The opposing goalie was Glenn Hall, also a Hall of Famer.
Notable: The Spectrum was about one-third empty as a crowd of only 10,649 showed up. It was the Flyers’ first home game in 35 days following the arena’s roof blowing off. Maintenance failed to turn on the air conditioning until late in the second period, which caused the ice to soften and even led to some puddling. “They fixed the roof,” griped St. Louis coach Scotty Bowman, “now they ought to fix the floor.” ... It was the first Flyers playoff game in history and started about an hour after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis.
» READ MORE: Bernie Parents says ‘Carter Hart is just incredible'
First playoff game: April 5, 1983.
Age: 23. Turned 24 the following month.
Result: Gave up three first-period goals and lost, 5-3, to the Rangers and opposing goalie Eddie Mio.
Notable: Inquirer beat writer Al Morganti said Lindbergh got no support from his defense and stopped four full or partial breakaways. “The Flyers’ defense would have backed up into the parking lot if the boards weren’t there,” Morganti wrote. ... Any thoughts Flyers coach Bob McCammon might have had to play veteran Bob Froese disappeared the next day when Froese pulled his groin in practice. ... New York went on to sweep the Flyers in the best-of-5. ... Lindbergh lost his first four playoff starts. His first victory wasn’t until 1985 when he took the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals. He was killed in a car accident six months later at age 26.
» From the archives: Darren Jensen, the man who played after Pelle Lindbergh died
First playoff game: April 8, 1987.
Age: 22. Turned 23 in May.
Result: Lost to the Rangers, 3-0, as New York’s John Vanbiesbrouck made 26 saves for the shutout.
Notable: The Flyers gave up two goals in 27 seconds in the second period and were shutout at home in a playoff game for the first time in 14 years. ... Philadelphia rallied to win the series and went to the Cup Finals before losing to Edmonton. Hextall won the 1987 Conn Smythe as the NHL playoff MVP despite playing for a team that did not win the Stanley Cup. That’s happened only once since (Anaheim, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, 2003). ... Vanbiesbrouck was 23 years old when Hextall made his playoff debut. He signed with the Flyers 11 years later. He was the goalie when they were eliminated by Toronto in the first round in 1999 and rookie Brian Boucher’s backup when they made it to the conference finals in 2000.
First playoff game: April 13, 2000.
Result: Beat Buffalo, 3-2, as Boucher beat Dominik Hasek.
Notable: The game-winning goal was scored by Simon Gagne, another Flyers rookie. ... Boucher was the fifth different Flyers goalie in five years to start the playoff opener. Ron Hextall (1996), Garth Snow (1997), Sean Burke (1998), John Vanbiesbrouck (1999) and now Boucher. Roman Cechmanek would extend the dubious streak in 2001. ... Boucher was the only goalie the Flyers used in the 2000 postseason, including nearly 152 minutes of the five-overtime win at Pittsburgh in the conference semis.
First playoff game: April 14, 2011.
Result: Lost to Buffalo, 1-0. Ryan Miller stopped 35 shots for the Sabres, whose defense blocked another 16 attempts.
Notable: Bobrovsky made 24 saves, but couldn’t stop Patrick Kaleta’s rebound shot early in the third period. It was Bobrovsky’s only playoff series here, which the Flyers won in six games. ... It was a merry-go-round for Flyers goaltenders that postseason. Coach Peter Laviolette made seven in-game switches in 10 games between Bobrovsky, Boucher and Michael Leighton. The Flyers acquired Ilya Bryzgalov (ugh) in June, 2012 and traded Bobrovsky a few weeks later. Bobrovsky won two Vezinas with Columbus and this year, now with Florida, is the second-highest-paid goalie in the NHL at $10 million. He was mediocre in the Panthers qualifying series loss to the Islanders.
Won first playoff game Patrick Roy (1986).
Lost first playoff game: Martin Brodeur (1992), Ken Dryden (1971), Grant Fuhr (1982).
No-decision first playoff game: Dominik Hasek (1991, Billy Smith (1975).
Won first playoff game Brian Elliott (2010), Connor Hellebucyk (2018), Roberto Luongo (2007), Carey Price (2008), Pekka Rinne (2010).
Lost first playoff game Marc-Andre Fleury (2011), Braden Holtby (2012), Henrik Lundqvist (2006), Jonathan Quick (2010), Tuukka Rask (2010).
No-decision first playoff game: Andrei Vasilevskiy (2015).
Source: Inquirer research, Hockey-Reference.com.