Flyers

Flyers prospect Carter Hart makes WHL history

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Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers prospect Carter Hart makes WHL history

More WHL history for Flyers goaltending prospect Carter Hart.

Hart on Wednesday afternoon was named the 2017-18 Del Wilson Memorial Trophy winner for the third consecutive season, becoming the first goalie to win the award three times.

The 19-year-old also tied the WHL record for all-time shutouts (26) after recording seven this season. He posted a 1.60 goals-against average with a .947 save percentage in 41 games. He lost just 10 total games in the regular season.

Hart's team, Everett, is in the WHL Final against Swift Current. If the Silvertips win, they'll advance to the Memorial Cup.

A 2016 second-round pick, Hart led the WHL in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts. He missed time to play in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships and he also dealt with mono.

It's expected that Hart will again be a finalist for the CHL Goaltender of the Year award, an honor he took home in 2015-16. He was a finalist in 2016-17 for the award but didn't win it. Owen Sound's Michael McNiven won it last year.

Hart can become the first goalie ever to win the CHL Goaltender of the Year award twice.

With his junior career over after the postseason, Hart will turn pro in 2018-19. He's expected to spend at least the start of the season in Lehigh Valley, but Ron Hextall didn't shut the door completely on him being in the NHL at some point next season.

"I have no idea," Hextall said last week if Hart needs a full season with the Phantoms. "That's a hypothetical question. Everyone will be given that opportunity. We don't pre-determine decisions. I’m not going to sit here right now and say, ‘Any young player’s not going to play for our team.’ We’re not going to sit here and say who will or who won’t. That’s not fair."

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

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

Can the Flyers avoid their first sweep to the Capitals since the 2006-07 season?

The Philadelphia Flyers (36-31-8, 80 points) will face the Washington Capitals (43-24-8, 94 points) for the fourth and final time this season. 

The Flyers enter Sunday seven points out of the wild card chase behind the Montreal Canadiens with seven games remaining in the regular season for both teams.

Other games vital to the Flyers’ playoff chances:

• Montreal at Carolina, 7 p.m.
• Columbus at Vancouver, 10 p.m.

Let's take a look at today's essentials:

When: 12:30 p.m. EST
Where: Capital One Center
Broadcast: NBC
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• After Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Islanders, head coach Scott Gordon now has the same number of regulation losses (15) and overtime losses (4) as Dave Hakstol had this season. However, Gordon has amassed twice as many wins (24 to Hakstol’s 12).

Gordon mentioned that an element of fatigue has set in with a bug spreading its way throughout the locker room, coupled with the Flyers’ high level of play since mid-January.

“I think that we just need to dig down and we all have more, we all have better, and including myself. I think we just all need to dig down deeper.” - Flyers goaltender Carter Hart.

• Over their past five games the Flyers have allowed an average of 42 shots per game. It’s their most allowed over a five-game stretch this season.

• Claude Giroux comes into Sunday’s game with a five-game point streak after adding an assist in a 4-2 loss to the Islanders Saturday.

With that point, Giroux topped 60 assists for the third time and hit the 80-point mark for the fourth time in his 12-year career.

Since 2011-12, only Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby has more 80-point seasons (6) than Giroux, who’s tied with Toronto’s John Tavares.

• With his goal on Saturday, defenseman Robert Hägg extended his career-best season with five goals and 19 points, more than double his rookie season total of eight points.

• Over the Flyers last eight games the penalty kill has successfully killed off 22 of 23 power play opportunities. Against the Islanders, it was exceptionally good, successfully killing all five chances including 2:35 of a 5-on-3 advantage.

• For winning the 2018 Stanley Cup Championship, the Washington Capitals will visit the White House Monday. Goaltender Braden Holtby and forward Brett Connolly have declined the invitation and will not join their teammates.

Projected lineup

Forwards
Oskar Lindblom - Sean Couturier - Claude Giroux
James van Riemsdyk - Nolan Patrick - Jake Voracek
Ryan Hartman - Scott Laughton - Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl - Corban Knight - Justin Bailey

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov - Travis Sanheim
Shayne Gostisbehere - Philippe Myers
Robert Hägg- Radko Gudas

Goalies
Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

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No Johnny Boychuk drama, but Jakub Voracek, Flyers honest about their reality

No Johnny Boychuk drama, but Jakub Voracek, Flyers honest about their reality

The Flyers aren't fooling themselves.

There's a sense of reality setting in with the Flyers that they're running out of lives and postgame lines. They've lost four of their last six games after making a furious run from Jan. 14 to March 11, going 18-4-2 with a plus-22 goal differential.

To sustain such a pace over the final 13 games of the regular season would have been awfully difficult and the Flyers are noticing it, with another nail being hammered into the coffin Saturday afternoon courtesy of a 4-2 loss to the Islanders (see observations).

Inconsistency has reared its ugly over this 2-4-0 stretch, which has the Flyers seven points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot with seven games to go (see standings). In particular Saturday, the inconsistency bit the Flyers during the second period. They were outshot 15-5 and the Islanders pinned the Flyers in the defensive zone while taking a 2-1 lead.

Too often have the Flyers been burned by a poor period of play. Saturday was no different despite the Flyers tying the game early in the final stanza.

"Especially today, we were god-awful, oh my God in the second," Jakub Voracek said of the middle period. "I don't think we had a shot in the first 10 minutes. When they get zone time, they do a great job cycling us and keep the puck away from their net. I don't think we were moving well enough in the second period to give ourselves a chance to create something."

The Flyers have tried wiping the slate and turning the page after each difficult loss, but players are human and realistic, as well. Saturday marked the Flyers' third straight loss at the Wells Fargo Center, which this team simply could not afford.

"It sucks, that's the feeling right now, they played better than we did the whole game," Robert Hagg said. "We didn't deserve to win today, so, right now, yes, I have a terrible feeling."

The Islanders stayed away from the drama and decided to instead get the best of the Flyers on the scoreboard. Johnny Boychuk and New York didn't seek retaliation for Voracek's interference two weeks ago, a play that didn't really warrant retaliation anyway.

But when Boychuk angrily called out Voracek after the collision during the third period of the March 9 game, an attempt at payback was possible Saturday.

"There was no talking about the Voracek thing," Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. "Those two will figure it out down the road, but Johnny is one of those ultimate team guys. He knows how important what we're trying to do is, he knows how important this game was. There was no 'me' in his thought process, it was all about 'we.'"

Boychuk was back in the lineup for the first time since the incident with Voracek. He had been mostly a healthy scratch, so it seemed like a not-so-coincidental return.

"I expected something was going to happen," Voracek. "It didn't. I'm not going to say I was unhappy about that. He played a great game.

"We just blew it."

No sugarcoating it, not with where the Flyers are now.

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