Flyers

Carter Hart gives Flyers fans something they've been waiting 20 years for

Carter Hart gives Flyers fans something they've been waiting 20 years for

When PA announcer Lou Nolan revealed the starting lineup with Carter Hart’s name off the top, there was an uproar from a crowd that had been building from the day Ron Hextall retired.

For those who have braved and endured Flyers hockey over the past 20 years, Tuesday night was a coronation. For Hart himself, it was simply a moment some 16 years in the making, and he soaked in every single moment, including the outburst of cheers that came with that very first NHL save.

“Yeah, that was kind of funny,” Hart said after the Flyers' 3-2 win over Detroit (see observations). “It was just like a toe save and they’re going nuts. It was something special tonight, just to be out there. Now, it’s something that’s starting to sink in a little bit when I saw my mom on TV there. It was just a dream.”  

Hart’s mother and father flew in from Edmonton. So did his 78-year-old billet Parker Fowlds, who Hart lived with the past three years in Everett, Washington, and came cross-country to share in the moment as well.

Part of Hart’s acclimation to professional hockey has been living independently in Lehigh Valley and doing all of the routine things his family had done for him over the years.

“[I have] to cook, clean, pay the bills and do almost everything that I'm not used to doing,” Hart said. “But now, I’ve gotten into a routine of cooking and cleaning and doing laundry. I hate doing laundry.”

No one really cares if Hart has shirts piled up in the corner of his room. He’ll only be judged for the one thing he has mastered since he was 8 years old when he strapped on a youth-sized set of goalie gear for the first time — stopping the puck.

On Tuesday night against the Red Wings, Hart had to make just 20 saves, a workload that may have been easier than washing dirty clothes. He became the youngest goalie in Flyers history to win his NHL debut. Hart's most memorable stop coming with 3:17 remaining in the opening period. Hart stoned a wide-open Dylan Larkin from point-blank range to keep the game scoreless. 

“That was a critical save,” interim head coach Scott Gordon said. “Not to get behind in the first period I thought was important and that was a huge save for him.”

“He’s got ice in his veins if you watch him out there,” James van Riemsdyk said. “He’s very poised. Just tracks the game really well and did a great job for us.” 

That save and the final minute of regulation was crucial considering the Flyers simply haven’t been able to win hockey games this season when they score three or fewer goals — an inconceivable record of 1-15-2 until Tuesday’s 3-2 victory.

In other words, they haven’t had a goaltender steal them a game all season. When the Flyers aren’t at their best, which has been pretty much since the opener in Vegas, they need someone like Hart to step up and be a little bit better than the rest.  

“The kid is giving us something right now,” Shayne Gostisbehere said. “He’s giving us some energy, a jolt, something this team desperately needed.”

Desperate is a mild way of putting Hart’s appearance into perspective. The organization’s urgency for a franchise netminder is probably worse than a root canal patient requiring a dose of Lidocaine. 

On this night, Hart gave the Flyers that much-needed injection, and his performance helped numb the pain of a season that has felt like one excruciating toothache.

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Flyers' Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma

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Flyers' Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma

Oskar Lindblom, a 23-year-old forward on the Flyers, is expected to miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season after being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, the team announced Friday afternoon.

Ewing’s sarcoma is a rare form of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones.

Below is a statement from Flyers president of hockey operations and general manager Chuck Fletcher:

Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom has been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma by leading specialists at the University of Pennsylvania. He will undergo further testing and evaluation next week and begin treatment immediately thereafter. He is not expected to return to play for the remainder of the season. The Flyers will do everything possible to support Oskar and assist him in securing the best care available. Out of respect for Oskar and his family, the team will have no further comment at this time and asks that Oskar be afforded a period of privacy so that he may focus his efforts on his treatment and a return to full health.

Lindblom, a native of Sweden, had been one of the Flyers’ top players through 30 games, scoring 11 goals and 18 points.

He was selected by the Flyers in the fifth round of the 2014 draft and has blossomed into a promising player.

Always smiling, positive and humble, Lindblom is beloved by his teammates. His rise from a fifth-round pick to a difference-making player has been a product of hard work.

After scoring 17 goals last season, sixth most among NHL rookies, Lindblom went back to Gävle, Sweden, to train all summer with his old team Brynäs IF.

"It’s like five minutes from my house," Lindblom said during training camp.

“It was nice to be back home for a bit, just relaxed, had some time with friends and family, so it was great.”

It didn't take long for the Flyers' new coaching staff to fall in love with Lindblom's game as the winger raced out of the chute, scoring in the team's season opener and playing a major role ever since.

“I didn’t know much about Oskar before coming here, but what I’ve found is a real smart, two-way player, hard-working young man," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Oct. 26.

In the summer of 2017, Lindblom talked about his climb within the Flyers' system.

"I just think about it by myself, like fifth-rounder, I just felt like I can play and I can be on this level," Lindblom said.

By the age of 23, he has more than made it on the highest level.

Below is the outpouring of support for Lindblom, via social media:

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Shorthanded Flyers can't keep up with Avalanche to begin road trip

Shorthanded Flyers can't keep up with Avalanche to begin road trip

BOX SCORE

From the moment it was announced that Oskar Lindblom would miss Wednesday night's game, the Flyers' chances at Pepsi Center felt bleak.

No Lindblom, no Travis Konecny and facing the NHL's highest-scoring team in its building was not a promising script for the Flyers, who lost to the Avalanche, 3-1.

In stretches this season, the Flyers have struggled to bury goals. And that has been with Lindblom and Konecny — their two leading goal-scorers at 11 apiece — in the lineup.

The Flyers (17-9-5) did some good things but Colorado finished plays behind its world class talent up top.

The Avalanche (20-8-3) are on an eight-game point streak (7-0-1) in which they've scored 4.13 goals per game.

• Without Konecny (concussion) and Lindblom (upper body), the Flyers had difficulty putting the puck in the net. They were going to have to put up some goals against the Avalanche, who entered scoring an NHL-best 3.70 goals per game. For the second time in the last three games, the Flyers scored only one goal.

The lone tally came from Claude Giroux when the Flyers were trailing 3-0 with just over five minutes remaining in regulation.

• Following a first period in which they survived, especially in the back half of it thanks to Carter Hart, the Flyers actually played a solid second period. At one point during the middle stanza, the Flyers were outshooting Colorado 11-0.

But as the Flyers kept pushing to no avail, the Avalanche changed the whole complexion of the period with one play by their two best weapons. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen hooked up for a nasty marker to make it 2-0 with 3:55 left in the period, a deflating goal to allow for the Flyers (see highlights).

Considering Colorado was 14-0-1 when leading after the middle period, the Flyers were in a serious hole, even after a hard-working period.

• Hart, who entered 8-2-2 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .928 save percentage over his last 12 starts, faced the Avalanche for the first time in his career.

He made a highlight-reel save and gave the Flyers a fighting chance in tough circumstances.

The 21-year-old has been impressive during the first period all season long, allowing the Flyers to find their legs and rhythm. He converted 12 of his 24 saves in the opening stanza against Colorado.

On the Avalanche's first-period goal, Scott Laughton won a defensive zone faceoff but the Flyers failed to clear the puck, resulting in Matt Calvert's tally.

Rantanen added his second goal early in the third period and that was pretty much the game.

Colorado goalie Pavel Francouz, who came in 5-0-1 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .926 save percentage over his last eight games (six starts), finished with 32 stops.

• When Philippe Myers (back spasms, day to day) is ready to return, Robert Hagg should be the odd man out on defense. Shayne Gostisbehere has found some of his offensive mojo and Myers has shown way too much promise to be sitting when healthy.

A stay-at-home guy like Hagg was far too noticeable against the Avalanche. He committed a penalty and was a minus-2 in 15:21 minutes.

• David Kase was summoned to Denver this morning to make his NHL debut and become the ninth rookie to play for the Flyers this season

The 22-year-old winger had a nice scoring chance and two shots in 7:47 minutes. 

• The Flyers head to the old stomping grounds of general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr when they visit the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Fletcher was the GM in Minnesota from 2009 to 2018 and Flahr was his AGM from 2010 to 2018.

The Flyers have not lost consecutive games in regulation since Oct. 27-29.

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