Flyers

Bring the kid's bed everywhere — Hart bounces back in big way for Flyers

Flyers

The Flyers might want to find a way to ship Carter Hart's bed wherever and whenever they stay on the road this season.

The 22-year-old goalie wasn't the biggest fan of his slumber in the team's Boston hotel last week when the Flyers had a two-game trip to forget against the Bruins. Hart must've enjoyed sleeping in his own bed before taking on the Devils at the Prudential Center as he was dialed in to lift the Flyers to a 3-1 win Thursday night.

The Flyers were far from perfect and often outplayed by New Jersey, but they'll worry about that later. Hart returned to form and the team earned a sweep of its two-game road set against the Devils.

Despite the Flyers coming off a 5-3 victory from Tuesday, head coach Alain Vigneault made a pair of changes on the back end. He ended up pressing the right buttons by inserting Erik Gustafsson and Nate Prosser into the lineup.

The Flyers (5-2-1) got a pair of third-period goals from Michael Raffl and Claude Giroux after the Devils (3-3-1) had outshot them 24-8 over the first two stanzas.

• Hart hadn't played since last Saturday. He was coming off a stretch in which he had allowed four or more goals in three consecutive starts for the first time in his career. He allowed seven third-period goals over two games in Boston.

 

He was happy the Flyers traveled to Newark, New Jersey, the day of for both games against the Devils.

"It's nice that we're only a short bus ride away to Jersey, we get to sleep in our own beds — I think that's huge," Hart said Wednesday. "I know the first couple of nights on the road there in Boston, it's tough getting a good sleep in the hotel bed when you haven't slept in a bed that hasn't been your own for a long time."

Entering Thursday, Hart's shots against per 60 minutes (34.8) was second highest in the NHL among goaltenders with five or more games played. He converted 33 saves on 34 shots against the Devils.

New Jersey's No. 1 goalie Mackenzie Blackwood was out again because of COVID protocol. Scott Wedgewood, who has only 25 career starts, had to make only 14 stops.

• To no surprise, Prosser drew into the lineup for his first NHL game in over two years and scored the Flyers' first goal.

OK, just kidding. Both of those storylines weren't expected.

The 34-year-old defenseman scored his first NHL goal since April 5, 2018, to draw the Flyers even at 1-1 during the opening frame. Give a ton of credit to Prosser, who had a real solid game, was steady and played four minutes on the penalty kill.

Gustafsson has times in which he will struggle defensively but he can really impact games with his legs and passing ability. He delivered two assists in his return to the lineup following Tuesday's healthy scratch. His second helper was an excellent primary feed on Giroux's 3-1 goal.

• The fourth line of Raffl, Connor Bunnaman and Nicolas Aube-Kubel was huge by setting the tone in the final frame. That group produced the game-winner 2:10 into the third period.

• The Flyers have been outshot in seven of their eight games, with five of them by double-digit margins.

In no disrespect to Prosser, if the Flyers were told that through two periods Thursday Prosser would be their only goal scorer and they'd have eight shots, they wouldn't have loved their chances.

The Flyers haven't come close to playing a complete game yet.

• Vigneault said pregame that Philippe Myers (fractured rib) skated again Thursday and "felt good." Vigneault will meet with Myers and Flyers director of sports medicine Jim McCrossin on Friday to further evaluate the 24-year-old defenseman's status for this weekend's back-to-back set (more on Myers here).

Vigneault estimated that Sean Couturier, who is recovering from a costochondral separation suffered on Jan. 15, is "still a couple of weeks away" from returning (more on Couturier here).

• The Flyers this weekend meet the Islanders for the first time since their second-round Game 7 loss to New York in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 

The Islanders visit the Wells Fargo Center for games on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and Sunday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP). New York beat the Flyers nine out of 12 times in 2019-20, including the preseason, regular season and postseason. In all 12 games, the Islanders scored three or more goals.

Subscribe to and rate Flyers Talk

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube