Flyers

Carter Hart called up by Flyers with Anthony Stolarz's injury

Carter Hart called up by Flyers with Anthony Stolarz's injury

Updated: 2:22 p.m.

VOORHEES, N.J. — Here comes the kid.

The much anticipated NHL debut of promising prospect Carter Hart could happen as soon as Tuesday when the Flyers take on the Red Wings.

The Flyers on Monday recalled the 20-year-old goaltender after sending Alex Lyon back to Lehigh Valley and losing Anthony Stolarz for the next two to four weeks with a lower-body injury. Stolarz left last Saturday’s game not long after giving up two goals on the Canucks' first four shots (see story)

"I was actually at our team Christmas party last night when I got the call from our coach Scott Gordon, so I was pretty excited," Hart said Monday. "It's something I’ve dreamt of as a kid. I’ve always wanted to be an NHL hockey player since I was 4 years old. When I got the call, I was really excited and kind of shaking with enthusiasm a little bit."

Lyon’s effort in Vancouver was clearly subpar after allowing two easily stoppable goals — Josh Leivo’s sharp-angle shot from near the goal line and Brock Boeser’s slap shot from just inside the blue line that gave the Canucks a 4-1 lead.

At this point, what do the Flyers have to lose? 

It may be the one move capable of galvanizing a Flyers fan base desperate for change. Hart has been widely considered the long-term answer to the Flyers' longtime goaltending issues.

Hart appears to have adjusted recently to the AHL level with a 4-1-0 record, 1.82 GAA and .939 save percentage since Nov. 30. He also recorded his first career shutout with the Phantoms with a 1-0 win over the Hershey Bears on Dec. 7.

"I think I’m just trusting my game and not overthinking plays,” Hart said on his recent resurgence. “I know earlier in the year making the transition from juniors to the pro level, I was overanalyzing everything. I obviously talked with the coaches down there and my goalie coaches back home, and I just got to trust my game. I've got to play to my strengths. When it’s game time, it’s just time to play.”

Interestingly, Hart could start Tuesday night’s game at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers' first game back on home ice since Dec. 6. Michal Neuvirth left the team Thursday in Edmonton to be with his wife Karolina, who gave birth to a baby boy Sunday night.

Regardless of how well Hart has played with the Phantoms recently, it remains to be seen how much he can mask the Flyers' ongoing defensive issues. Over the final four games of the current five-game road trip, the Flyers allowed 22 goals, an average of 5.5 goals per game. 

Hart’s call-up could be seen as a blessing; it could also signal a curse as the team has been snakebitten all season with injuries to four different goaltenders.

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Flyers vs. Lightning: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Lightning: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The hottest team in hockey will finally host the team that hasn’t turned down the heat all season.

With an NHL best 12-2-1 record since Jan. 12, the Flyers (28-24-7, 63 pts.) will continue their frenzied push for a playoff spot as they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning (45-11-4, 94 pts.) for the final time this season.

The Flyers will look to avoid their first season sweep against the Lightning since the 2013-14 season.

Let's take a look at tonight's essentials: 

• When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. 
• Where: Wells Fargo Center
• Broadcast: NBCSP
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• The Flyers recalled goaltender Brian Elliott from his conditioning loan with the Phantoms and have activated him from injured reserve to the active roster (see story). Elliott will back up Carter Hart for tonight’s game against the Lightning.

Hart will be the fourth different Flyers goaltender the Lightning have faced in their last four meetings with Michal Neuvirth, Cal Pickard and Petr Mrazek as the others. 

After a 2-4-1 start to his career, Hart is 11-2-0 with a 2.46 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage over his last 13 appearances. 

• Tonight’s matchup is the 100th meeting between the Flyers and Lightning with the Flyers owning a 47-37-8-7 advantage.

In the first matchup at the Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 17, the Lightning became the sixth team in league history to cough up a four-goal lead in the third period before winning 6-5 in overtime. Ironically, the Flyers matched that same dubious feat when they lost a 5-1 lead to the Red Wings on Saturday before Travis Konecny pulled through with the game-winner in overtime.

In the Dec. 27 rematch at Amalie Arena, the Flyers battled back from a three-goal deficit in the third period, tying the game before Tampa Bay won it again in the OT period.  

• The speed of Lightning has been blinding so far this season. Tampa Bay needed just 58 games to reach the 90-point plateau. Only eight teams in NHL history have topped 90 points prior to their 60th regular-season game.

It’s a good test. If we find a way to squeak into the playoffs it’s a possible matchup for us. We’re excited about this game. The games we’ve played against them have been fun to play. I don’t see why tonight won’t be fun.

-Claude Giroux

Would you believe the 1979-80 Flyers hold the record? Pat Quinn’s team ripped off a 35-game unbeaten streak and started that season with a 39-4-13 mark for 91 points in their first 56 games.

• Tampa Bay is also the first team since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins to have three 70-point scorers before the 60-game mark of the season. 

Remarkably, the NHL’s leading scorer and Hart Trophy favorite Nikita Kucherov is on pace to finish with a whopping 135 points. Even if Kucherov finishes with 101 points, he will have increased his point total every season since entering the league in 2013-14.

Kucherov comes to Philadelphia on a five-game point streak with seven goals and 11 assists, an average of 3.6 points per game.

Projected lineup

Forwards
James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jake Voracek
Scott Laughton-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl-Phil Varone-Justin Bailey

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim
Andrew MacDonald-Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hägg-Radko Gudas

Goalies
Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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Flyers recall Brian Elliott from conditioning assignment with Phantoms

Flyers recall Brian Elliott from conditioning assignment with Phantoms

VOORHEES, N.J. — Brian Elliott will be back in a Flyers sweater for the first time since Nov. 15. 

The 33-year-old goaltender was recalled Tuesday from his conditioning assignment with the Phantoms and is expected to back up Carter Hart for Tuesday’s game against the Lightning.

It will be interesting to see what Elliott’s future in Philadelphia is for the remainder of this season with the addition of Cam Talbot, who wasn’t with his new team for Wednesday’s morning skate in Voorhees.

Elliott could be traded to a contending team with no roster restrictions after the Feb. 25 deadline, although NHL teams still have to be compliant with the salary cap.

Once again, the Flyers have three goaltenders on the active roster with Hart, Elliott and Mike McKenna. McKenna could be placed on waivers as soon as Talbot is cleared to join the team.

Elliott played admirably in his 14 games prior to his injury with a 2.59 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage. However, his 6-7-0 record doesn’t reflect that. He appeared in two games for the Phantoms over the weekend.

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