The Wells Fargo Center was quiet Monday night for about five seconds as Lauren Hart prepared to sing the national anthems before the Vancouver-Flyers game.
Fans placed hands on hearts and removed ballcaps as a respectful silence enveloped the arena. The quiet was broken, however, when a fan in the upper level shouted, “We love you, Carter.”
Two and a half hours later, Flyers rookie Carter Hart earned his team another victory, its eighth in a row, by stopping a career-high 41 shots in the 2-1 win. This came on top of the 40-save effort he had in Saturday’s overtime win against Edmonton.
Flyers fans and observers, who’ve been waiting for the club to develop a goalie for more than 30 years, have reason to be optimistic. Over the last three weeks, thanks largely to Hart’s stellar play, the Flyers have climbed back into the playoff conversation.
While there’s still plenty of work to be done, here’s a look at their eight-game winning streak.
Before the streak
On the morning of Jan. 14, the Flyers were 16-23-6 and in last place in the 16-team Eastern Conference. They were 15 points out of a playoff spot, and their 38 points were the fewest among the NHL’s 31 teams.
During the streak
On the morning of Feb. 6, the Flyers were 24-23-6 and in 11th place in the East. They passed five teams and were just five points out of a playoff spot.
“In beer league, yeah.”
You can watch video of the goal here:
Leaders during the streak
* Points: Sean Couturier (5-5—10), Jake Voracek (1-8—9), Nolan Patrick (5-3—8), Claude Giroux (2-6—8), James van Riemsdyk (5-2—7), Travis Konecny (3-4—7).
* Game-winning goals: Nolan Patrick (2), Sean Couturier (1), Travis Konecny (1), Oskar Lindblom (1), Travis Sanheim (1), Wayne Simmonds (1), Jake Voracek (1).
* Plus/minus: Sean Couturier (+8), Oskar Lindblom (+6), Jake Voracek (+5).
* Goaltenders: Carter Hart (7-0, .934 save pct., 2.40 GAA), Anthony Stolarz (1-0, 1.000 save pct., 0.00 GAA).
“I think there is a belief in [Hart], there is a belief in Stolie and the way he played the other night that I think the guys have fed off on the bench. You can hear it when the guys are fired up and they’re making saves."
Odds and ends
* Before the streak, the Flyers averaged 2.77 goals and allowed 3.56.
* During the streak, the Flyers are averaging 3.75 goals and allowing 2.12.
* The Flyers had three guys with multiple goals in win No. 1, vs. Minnesota: James van Riemsdyk (3), Wayne Simmonds (2), Nolan Patrick (2), It’s just the second time in nine years that three Flyers had done that.
* Sean Couturier scored the Flyers' final three goals in win No. 2 against Boston. It was the first time in more than 16 years that the Flyers had a hat trick in consecutive games.
* Ivan Provorov played 30:20 in the overtime victory against Boston (win No. 6). The 22-year-old is the second-youngest Flyer to play 30 minutes in a game (Alexandre Picard, 2007) since minutes tracking began in 1997. Provorov did not score a point, but also was not on the ice for either of Boston’s goals.
* Win No. 8, against Vancouver, was the 2,000th in franchise history. The Flyers are the first expansion franchise to get to 2000. Of course, the most important number is 1975, the year of their last Stanley Cup.
* The Flyers had 17 power-play goals in their first 45 games. They have nine in their last eight games.
* The Flyers have converted 7 of their last 9 power plays.
``I looked at him a few times during warmups. It was kind of cool to be on the same ice as him."
No. 1, Jan. 14, beat Minnesota, 7-4. Three stars: James Patrick (2g, 2a), James van Riemsdyk (3g), Wayne Simmonds (2g).
No. 2, Jan. 16, beat Boston, 4-3. Three stars: Sean Couturier (3g), Carter Hart (39 saves), Peter Cehlarik (Bos., 2g).
No. 3, Jan. 19, won at Montreal, 5-3. Three stars: Nolan Patrick (2 g), Travis Konecny (1g, 1a), Carter Hart (33 saves).
No. 4, Jan. 28, beat Winnipeg, 3-1. Three stars: Carter Hart (31 saves), Travis Konecny (1g, 1a), James van Riemsdyk (1g).
No. 5, Jan. 29, won at N.Y. Rangers, 1-0. Three stars: Anthony Stolarz (38 saves, second career shutout), Oskar Lindblom (1g), Alexandar Georgiev (NYR, 18 saves).
No. 6, Jan. 31, won at Boston, 3-2 (OT). Three stars: Travis Sanheim (GWG), David Pastrnak (2g), Tuuka Rask (Bos., 38 saves).
No. 7, Feb. 2, beat Edmonton, 5-4 (OT). Three stars: Nolan Patrick (GWG), Connor McDavid (Edm, 1g, 1a), Carter Hart, 40 saves).
No. 8, Feb. 3, beat Vancouver, 2-1. Three stars: Carter Hart (41 saves), Jake Voracek (1g), Sean Couturier (1g).
Thursday, Feb. 7: L.A. KINGS, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 9: ANAHEIM, 1 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 11: PITTSBURGH, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 12: at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 16: DETROIT, 1 p.m.
This sums it up
“I feel comfortable at this level. I think after the first couple of games — or even after that first game against Detroit — my nerves were just crazy. [But] after that just, [I] kind of realized, ‘Hey, it’s another game.’ The boards are the same, the ice is the same, just got to go out and play. That’s the approach that I have to have.” — Carter Hart, after a 3-1 win against Central Division-leading Winnipeg.