SUNRISE, Fla. -- Carter Hart deserved better.
The rookie goalie suffered the loss Saturday, but could not be faulted.
“Carter played a great game, even his reactions on the goals were right on,” interim coach Scott Gordon said after defensive breakdowns led to two late goals, enabling Florida to jolt the Flyers, 2-1, at the BB&T Center.
Hart, 20, stopped 34 of 36 shots in the first road game of his young career.
“He was our best player and gave us a chance to win,” Gordon said. “If anything, it falls on the rest of us. There’s no way that he should feel the two goals are the reasons we lost the game.”
Hart (2-2), who is expected to get the start Monday in Carolina, has a 2.28 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in four games.
“I felt confident in the net,” Hart said after the loss. “I think we did a really good job of limiting their [quality] chances …. and keeping them to the outside and just making sure I could see every puck.”
Florida goalie James Reimer was impressed with Hart.
“Obviously, that kid’s got a bright future,” said Reimer, a nine-year NHL veteran. ""I think he sees the puck well, so we were just lucky enough to make a couple good plays and be able to beat him."
While Hart was outstanding, Jordan Weal, subbing for injured center Nolan Patrick, was probably the Flyers’ best forward. He set up Shayne Gostisbehere’s early goal and was in the middle of a handful of other scoring chances. Playing for just the third time in the last 13 games, Weal looked energized as he centered Scott Laughton and Michael Raffl.
“I thought as a line we were really working hard,” Weal said. “We have so much speed on that line and we were getting on pucks quick.”
The Flyers, for the umpteenth time this season, lost a game because they lost the special-teams battle. They were 0-for-2 on the power play, while Florida was 1-for-3, including the game-tying goal with 6 minutes, 44 seconds left.
For the season, the Flyers have outscored opponents in special teams only three times in 37 games, and are 2-1 in those three contests. They have been outscored in special teams in 15 games, winning five of them (5-8-2).
The Flyers’ power play, despite an abundance of talent, has clicked just 12.8 percent of the time and is last in the NHL. The power play had shown some positive signs a few games ago, but it has struggled after the holiday break.
On Monday, the Flyers will face Carolina for the first time this season. The low-scoring Hurricanes (15-17-5) have the same record as the Flyers and have lost two straight. They are averaging just 2.43 goals per game, which is next to last in the NHL.
The Flyers will try to regroup from a devastating loss, one in which they allowed a late three-on-two rush that ended with Jonathan Huberdeau’s finishing off slick tic-tac-toe passing play and scoring with 66 seconds remaining.
“It’s tough….but we go right back at it, so that’s a good thing,” Weal said. “We have a couple of tough buildings to play in coming up, especially Nashville” on Tuesday.
The Flyers are 1-1-1 on the five-game trip and are 3-2-1 since Gordon replaced Dave Hakstol.