CHICAGO — Carter Hart continues to turn back the clock.
Just last month, the Flyers' rookie netminder matched Jocelyn Thibault’s rookie record with eight straight victories before the age of 21, a record established back in 1995.
Thursday against the Blackhawks, Hart may have done himself one better.
Hart’s 40-save performance in a 3-1 win at the United Center was another gem in his rookie season and marked the first time in 32 years that a rookie goaltender had three winning performances of making 40 saves or more while allowing one goal or less (see observations). Boston’s Bill Ranford was the last goalie to do that prior to Hart Thursday night.
Here's how Hart did it:
• March 21 at Chicago, W 3-1, 40 saves
• March 17 at Pittsburgh, W 2-1, 41 saves
• Feb. 4 vs. Vancouver, W 2-1, 41 saves
Hart is also 7-0 during games in which he’s been forced to make 37 or more saves, and certainly the volume of shots Hart has been subjected to is an element general manager Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers will want to address in the offseason.
However, the Chicago Blackhawks didn’t want to give Hart too much credit for the victory.
“I think he made some pretty good stops,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “I think we had a lot of opportunities in the second and third, but yeah, I give him credit — he played pretty well.”
Since losing three straight games, and getting pulled in the first period in two of the losses, Hart has regained his composure and appears to be locked in with a .966 save percentage over his last three starts. Moreover, it shows the maturity and intelligence of a young player in a position that can be quite demanding.
“I’m just trying to worry about things one day at a time and worry about the present moment,” Hart said. “The past is in the past and you don’t want to dwell on it. I think for me, I just have to live in the present moment whether I’m at the rink or at home. Just focus on what I’m doing and not get ahead of myself, or dwelling on the past.”
Right now, Hart is merely rewriting the past.
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