When discussing his plan in net for the Flyers' back-to-back set this weekend, Alain Vigneault joked that coaches tend to change their minds.
On Saturday, the head coach was forced to change his mind as Carter Hart was unexpectedly scratched from his scheduled start against the Capitals because of a lower-body injury. Hart practiced Friday. The timeline for his availability is uncertain. The Flyers entered Saturday eight points out of a playoff spot with 13 games left, so it's likely the club wanted to err on the side of caution with its 22-year-old goalie.
Alex Lyon made his first NHL start since Feb. 1, 2020, a span of 14 and a half months without one. Brian Elliott, who is slated to start Sunday against the Islanders, was Lyon's backup.
Hart made 31 saves in the Flyers' 2-1 shootout win Thursday over the Penguins. Vigneault said as Hart started his preparation Saturday morning, the goalie informed Flyers director of sports medicine Jim McCrossin that he couldn't play.
"He tweaked something at the end of the Pittsburgh game, we were aware of it, he practiced yesterday, everything seemed fine — that's why we made the call on him playing today and Moose practicing this morning and Moose obviously playing tomorrow," Vigneault said after the Flyers' 6-3 loss to the Capitals. "But when he was warming up, he told Jimmy that he couldn't go. So around 11 o'clock, we told Alex he was coming in, we called back at the practice facility where Moose had just finished skating and told him to come and back up. We got caught a little bit off guard there."
The Flyers were also without Nolan Patrick and Tanner Laczynski. A little over three minutes into the third period of Thursday night's game, Patrick was forced to exit and did not return after a shot hit him in the head. Following the game, Vigneault said he saw Patrick and the 22-year-old center told him everything was fine.
"Him and Jimmy talked and they felt it was better for him, after taking that shot, to take today off. I'm not 100 percent sure on tomorrow," Vigneault said. "Tanner Laczynski is hurt, he tweaked something also in Pittsburgh. That's what we've got available at this moment."
Patrick and Laczynski did not partake in Friday's optional practice. Laczynski is out with a lower-body injury. He missed training camp because of his recovery from offseason core muscle surgery.
Here's how the Flyers looked against Washington at the Wells Fargo Center:
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