Flyers

On a day when Flyers' Carter Hart isn't his best, he still shows uniqueness

On a day when Flyers' Carter Hart isn't his best, he still shows uniqueness

This is why Carter Hart is different.

As Jakub Voracek addressed reporters near the doorway of the Flyers' dressing area, Hart, with a smile on his face, quietly snuck back into the room.

Hart had just given up four goals in the third period as a party at the Wells Fargo Center turned into an all-out panic. A 5-1 lead vanished into the air when the fourth goal hit the back of the net with seven seconds remaining in regulation.

By the sound of their collective gasp, Flyers fans were in a state of disbelief. After all, this was so unlike Hart, who has quickly spoiled a goalie-starved city. The 20-year-old entered Saturday's action 8-1-0 with a 2.44 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in his previous nine outings. Through 18 games, he had allowed four goals just three times.

Travis Konecny softened the blow for Hart by scoring 1:27 into overtime, buoying the Flyers to a 6-5 victory over the Red Wings that felt like the great escape (see observations).

Afterward, Hart could have sulked, he could have sought pity. He could have easily scurried away following his postgame interview.

Instead, he smiled and hugged his buddy Connor Parkkila. The 7-year-old boy, who has autism, is one of his biggest fans going back to Hart's junior hockey days with the WHL's Everett Silvertips. During the summer of 2016, Hart was given No. 79 at his first Flyers development camp after being drafted in the second round.

Back in Everett, Parkkila was already rocking a No. 79 Flyers jersey.

He is why Hart decided to keep the number.

Parkkila, in town for Saturday's game with his parents, proudly wore his autographed Hart jersey. The signed message from Hart: "Love ya buddy!"


(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

The scene, captured by Flyers senior director of public relations Zack Hill, is why nobody should be concerned with the rookie goaltender. His maturity, professionalism and compassion speak volumes, much louder than one troubling stat line on a Saturday afternoon in which Hart finally showed his age.

"Obviously you don't want to do that with a 5-1 lead," Hart said. "At the end of the day, we got the two points and that's what matters. A little bit dicey there at the end, making it interesting for the other team. For the rest of the game, I thought we played really well. I mean, I've got to do better, too.

"We came out with the two points and that's what matters. We'll build off it and we'll look at what we have to improve."

Hart faced adversity on New Year's Eve when he endured his first NHL benching in his fifth career game. He responded by going 9-3-1 with a 2.39 goals-against average and .931 save percentage over his next 13 starts to propel the Flyers into the playoff race.

He'll get back up from that bad third period.

On the ice Saturday, Hart was far from his best. But off the ice, he was pretty awesome.

It's what makes him different. It's why people aren't worrying about the Flyers in net.

How about that?

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Flyers at Wild: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Wild: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The Flyers will be playing for more than just two points Saturday night.

They'll be playing for Oskar Lindblom, their teammate who was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. The news was announced Friday and has been followed by an outpouring of support for the 23-year-old (see story).

As they back Lindblom, the Flyers will try to move forward. Since the start of November, they've done a pretty good job of not leaving games empty-handed. The Flyers have earned at least a point in 16 of their last 20 contests, going 12-4-4.

On Saturday, the Flyers (17-9-5) will try to get back into the points column when they visit the Wild (15-12-5).

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Xcel Energy Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• An example of how consistent the Flyers have been is that they haven't lost consecutive games in regulation since Oct. 27-29. They'll try to avoid doing so Saturday night after dropping to the Avalanche, 3-1, Wednesday night.

With head coach Alain Vigneault's constant emphasis on structure and possession, the Flyers have given themselves a chance most nights.

A positive for Vigneault and company heading into the matchup with the Wild: The Flyers are tied for second in the NHL with the fewest shots allowed per game (28.8), while Minnesota puts up the second-fewest shots per game (28.6).

The Flyers have a good chance to play on their terms tonight.

• Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr are back in their old stomping grounds.

Fletcher was the GM of the Wild from 2009 to 2018 and Flahr was his AGM from 2010 to 2018.

Fletcher's challenge in Philadelphia was similar to the one he faced in Minnesota and here's how he fared (see story).

• The Wild have played the fewest home games in the NHL (12) and the most on the road (20). Minnesota is 8-1-3 at home and 11-3-4 overall since Nov. 5 following a 4-9-1 start.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Morgan Frost-Tyler Pitlick
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
David Kase-Mikhail Vorobyev-Chris Stewart

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun
Shayne Gostisbehere-Philippe Myers

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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Flyers' Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma

usa_oskar_lindblom_flyers.jpg
USA Today Images

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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