Flyers

Is Flyers' Carter Hart entering Calder Trophy conversation?

Is Flyers' Carter Hart entering Calder Trophy conversation?

If he continues to keep this up, the Calder Trophy may be Carter Hart’s trophy by the end of the season.

Of course there are still two months remaining in the regular season and Hart likely wouldn’t be one of three finalists for the NHL’s top rookie if the voting was held today, but the 20-year-old goaltender is making a remarkably strong push heading down the stretch run.

Hart has made hockey fun again, not just for the teammates he now shares a locker room with, but also for an entire city that was starting to look at this Flyers team as an afterthought this season.

“I don’t want to say you’re expecting him to fail, but you just find it hard to believe that somebody his age can come in and do what he’s been able to do so far,” Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon said Monday night after a 2-1 win over the Canucks (see observations).

Hart has been the Flyers' catalyst during an impressive eight-game winning streak.

The rookie has proceeded to rip off seven straight wins, a feat no goaltender under the age of 21 has accomplished since Carey Price in 2008. If Hart wins his next start (likely Saturday’s game against the Ducks), he’ll match the standard established by Quebec’s Jocelyn Thibault 24 years ago.

On the same day Hart was recognized as the NHL’s second star of the week, he immediately began working on this week’s honors with a season-high 41-save performance Monday (see highlights).

“He’s been remarkable,” Sean Couturier said. “That save at the end — he’s making some miracles out there. It’s nice to have him back there, you know he can steal one.”

It was the save on Nikolay Goldobin during Vancouver’s third-period power play that fans were left talking about on their commute home, and a save that preserved another one-goal win.

“I got a front-row seat to that,” Scott Laughton said. “He dove over there and made a great save and he just gives us life and makes a big save when we need it.” 

Hart upstaged the Calder Trophy front-runner Elias Pettersson, holding Vancouver’s 20-year-old sniper off the scoresheet, while improving his overall record to 10-5-1. Hart’s 471 saves in his first 16 NHL starts are more than any other goaltender since his call-up from Lehigh Valley on Dec. 18.

Three years ago, it was a "Ghost" who took the NHL by storm, lifting the Flyers' spirits following a dismal start to the season. Shayne Gostisbehere set an NHL record for a rookie defenseman with a 15-game point streak, and his spark carried the Flyers into the postseason as he eventually finished second in Calder voting to Chicago’s Artemi Panarin.

Hart is having that same affect, and light years ahead of where you’d expect a typical 20-year-old rookie.

“He’s a humble guy,” Jakub Voracek said. “Comes to work every day and he’s giving us a chance to win the game every single night — and that’s what you want from a goalie. He’s playing like he’s 28 years old.”

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Controversial, confusing hit by Joel Farabee on Mathieu Perreault crushes Flyers (and it could cost him)

Controversial, confusing hit by Joel Farabee on Mathieu Perreault crushes Flyers (and it could cost him)

BOX SCORE

The Flyers' lineup had a supremely uncharacteristic look Sunday at Bell MTS Place.

Joel Farabee then made an uncharacteristic play and the Flyers' road trip went completely haywire with a 7-3 loss to the Jets.

The Flyers (17-11-5) limped through an 0-3-0 swing away from home in which they were outscored 14-5. Prior to this stretch, the Flyers had lost three straight games in regulation only one other time — Oct. 15-19.

The Jets (20-11-2) pounced on the Flyers in a ripe opportunity.

• In his quick climb to the NHL, Farabee had been lauded for his smarts and the way he thinks the game at an advanced level.

On Sunday, though, the 19-year-old rookie made a dumb, ill-advised play and it crushed the Flyers. Really, it cost them any chance at a win and it could cost the rookie a game or two.

With the Flyers trailing, 2-1, almost midway through the second period, Farabee flattened Mathieu Perreault just as the Jets' forward was turning from sending a pass up the boards. Perreault left the game and did not return.

Farabee may have been frustrated as he was crosschecked in the back moments before the hit. Still, the Flyers had just trimmed the deficit to one and were already playing with a patchwork group of forwards.

Farabee was whistled for interference and given a game misconduct, putting Winnipeg on a five-minute power play. The Jets went on to score four goals in fewer than six minutes and the game was over (see highlights).

The NHL will look at the Farabee hit. Stay tuned.

• This was not a game the Flyers could afford mental mistakes or self-inflicted wounds.

The club rushed Carsen Twarynski and Nicolas Aube-Kubel to Winnipeg on Sunday because it's ravaged by injuries at the forward position.

The Flyers came in without Scott Laughton (groin), Tyler Pitlick (concussion), Oskar Lindblom (Ewing's sarcoma diagnosis), Travis Konecny (concussion), Michael Raffl (broken right pinkie finger) and Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder).

To the Flyers' credit, they played with great energy during the first period and were in the game midway through the action.

• Matt Niskanen, James van Riemsdyk and Shayne Gostisbehere scored goals for the Flyers.

Niskanen's marker was actually meaningful. When van Riemsdyk and Gostisbehere lit the lamp, the game was out of reach.

• Brian Elliott was pulled after the second period. Winnipeg bombarded the 34-year-old goalie after Farabee's hit.

Carter Hart made six saves on seven shots in the final stanza.

• The Flyers are off from practice Monday before hosting the Ducks Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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

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

The Flyers have lost three straight games in regulation only once this season.

They'll try to keep it that way Sunday as the Flyers (17-10-5) visit the Jets (19-11-2) after failing to pick up any points in back-to-back losses.

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 5 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 4:30 p.m. ET
Where: Bell MTS Place
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia+
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• The carousel at forward continued with Sunday's call-ups Carsen Twarynski and Nicolas Aube-Kubel.

In Saturday night's 4-1 loss to the Wild, Scott Laughton (groin) and Tyler Pitlick (concussion) left the game and did not return.

On Sunday, the Flyers will be without forwards Laughton, Pitlick, Oskar Lindblom (Ewing's sarcoma diagnosis), Travis Konecny (concussion), Michael Raffl (broken right pinkie finger) and Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder).

With Sunday's roster transactions, the Flyers placed Konecny on injured reserve and Lindblom and defenseman Samuel Morin (ACL) on long-term injured reserve for salary cap relief.

Aube-Kubel, a 23-year-old winger who played nine games for the big club last season, will become the 10th rookie to play for the Flyers this season.

• With all the injuries, the Flyers are in desperate need of their big boys to carry the load.

The Flyers have gone to a different level when Kevin Hayes has produced in the points column. The team is 10-2-1 when he records a point and 7-8-4 when he goes scoreless.

Hayes went without a point over the Flyers' last two games — both regulation losses — and returns to Winnipeg for the first time since being traded by the Jets in June.

• The Jets are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Red Wings. Winnipeg hasn't dropped consecutive games since Oct. 13-17, when it lost three straight.

• Here is the Flyers' projected lineup, according to Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Joel Farabee
Carsen Twarynski-Kevin Hayes-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Morgan Frost-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
David Kase-Mikhail Vorobyev-Chris Stewart

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun
Shayne Gostisbehere-Robert Hagg

Goalies

Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

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