Flyers rolled by Islanders, but let's not panic about Carter Hart

Flyers rolled by Islanders, but let's not panic about Carter Hart


The Islanders yanked the Flyers back to earth.

And the Flyers had to yank Carter Hart again.

New York, which can beat you up and wear you down with its physical, forechecking style, handed the Flyers a 5-3 loss Sunday night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The Flyers (5-4-1) had their three-game winning streak halted, while Barry Trotz's Islanders (8-3-0) are now winners of seven in a row.

• Let's not freak out about Hart.

Sure, the numbers are not pretty. The 21-year-old has a 5.92 goals-against average over his last three games, two in which he was pulled during the second period. He has allowed 12 goals on 43 shots in that stretch after making 75 saves on 80 shots through his first three games.

But he's only 21. He was playing his first professional games in the AHL at this time last season. He didn't start well with the Phantoms, either, and then turned it on with the Flyers.

Hart's last game was Oct. 19 and he saw only 15 shots. He hasn't seen a ton of action, so he's struggling to find a rhythm. The Flyers were also playing the NHL's hottest team Sunday night.

As bright as his future is, Hart deserves some patience, too.

• Samuel Morin hadn't played an NHL regular-season game since April 6 and looked like it Sunday night.

The 6-foot-6 defenseman was exposed by Mathew Barzal on the Islanders' fifth goal. Shayne Gostisbehere misplayed the goal, as well.

After being a healthy scratch for the first nine games of the season, Morin entered the lineup for Robert Hagg. It's hard to simulate game action no matter how diligently you practice. Morin had a rough season debut and expect Hagg to be back in Tuesday against the Penguins.

• Morin wasn't the only one of the Flyers' defensemen to have a night to forget.

Gostisbehere was not sharp and has three points through 10 games. It looks like he's trying to do too much, which can wear on a player's confidence. During his career 2017-18 season, Gostisbehere had 12 points in his first 10 games.

Travis Sanheim had a pretty assist on the game-opening goal but struggled, as well. On one sequence, the 23-year-old was easily pushed off the puck, which led directly to Ross Johnston's 3-1 goal in the first period.

The Flyers' blueliners, which had been pretty good during the three-game winning streak, took this one on the chin.

• The Flyers were outplayed during the first period.

The Islanders were quicker and tougher on pucks. Fortunately for the Flyers, they received a late goal from Travis Konecny that kept them afloat and down only 3-2 at first intermission.

But it took New York only six minutes into the second period to seize complete control of the game.

The start, though, was just as impactful. The Flyers have been outscored 11-8 in the first period through 10 games. They haven't given games away but they haven't jumped on teams, either.

• The Flyers received first-period goals from Konecny and Jakub Voracek but couldn't generate much the rest of the way. Claude Giroux scored a goal in the final three minutes of regulation off a nice pass from James van Riemsdyk and then the Flyers emptied their net, but it wasn't enough.

• Next up for the Flyers is their first matchup with the Penguins on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

The big question: Who starts in net?

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Flyers brought back to earth by Coyotes, suffer a first since Oct. 19

Flyers brought back to earth by Coyotes, suffer a first since Oct. 19


Despite putting up 21 goals over their five-game winning streak, the Flyers had a propensity to score them in bunches when an opponent started derailing.

On Thursday night, the Flyers never got going and were pulled back to earth in a 3-1 loss to the Coyotes at the Wells Fargo Center.

Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper was the biggest difference. The 6-foot-5 netminder who brought an NHL-best 1.97 goals-against average and .936 save percentage to Philly stopped 28 shots.

With 4:43 left, Matt Niskanen scored the Flyers' lone goal and it ricocheted off a Coyote. Arizona iced the game with an empty-netter (see highlights).

The Flyers (16-8-5) suffered just their second regulation loss at home (9-2-4). The last time they failed to pick up a point at home was Oct. 19 when they lost to the Stars, 4-1.

Thursday night's defeat halted the Flyers' winning streak at five games and their point streak at seven. The Flyers had earned at least a point in 18 of their previous 22 games.

The Coyotes (17-9-4), who were allowing the NHL's second-fewest goals per game at 2.31, improved to 10-3-3 on the road.

• The Flyers went on two power plays in the final six minutes of the second period but could not solve Kuemper.

During those two man advantage opportunities, the Flyers put five shots on Kuemper and also misfired three times.

James van Riemsdyk found Morgan Frost with a slick backhanded pass from behind the net but the 20-year-old missed wide.

• Speaking of Frost, he had a tough game. The rookie had a turnover and some difficulty making plays.

He has gone scoreless over his last seven games following his loud start in which he scored three points in his first two games.

Maybe head coach Alain Vigneault takes him off the first line to relieve some pressure.

"Young player, in my estimation, has got a lot of confidence in himself, which is real good," Vigneault said postgame. "Tonight, there were a couple of plays with the puck, like some of our other guys, that the execution might have been a little bit off. But I think overall, the young man is working hard and trying to get better."

Will he stay on the top line?

"I'm going to watch the game and make [changes], if I have some changes to make, [Friday]," Vigneault said. "I like what the young man can bring to the game."

• Vigneault opted to play seven defensemen instead of slotting call-up Mikhail Vorobyev in at fourth-line center.

It's not a bad approach when you have seven healthy blueliners playing well. It also could mean the Flyers aren't ready to trust Vorobyev on the fourth line again.

The Senators game on Saturday looks like a better matchup for Vorobyev, who is in his fifth stint with the club since the start of last season.

• Brian Elliott hadn't lost in regulation since Oct. 29. The Flyers' backup goalie finished with 15 saves.

He allowed a first-period power play goal to Phil Kessel after Claude Giroux was whistled for a ticky-tacky slashing penalty. He then yielded a backbreaking third-period goal to Conor Garland with 7:03 left in the game.

The goalie was not the problem, though.

Sean Couturier was not a problem, either.

• The Flyers wrap up their three-game homestand Saturday when they welcome the Senators (1 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Next week, the team opens a three-game road trip, which features matchups with the Avalanche on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN), the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Jets on Sunday (5 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).


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The 13 Philly-inspired ornaments you need this year

The 13 Philly-inspired ornaments you need this year

If you live in Philadelphia or the surrounding area, it's safe to say there's at least one ornament on your tree representing the city — whether it be a memento from a previous championship Philly has seen, famous landmarks or even the skyline, you're repping one way or another.

Throw everything you thought you knew about Philly ornaments out the window and make way for Jawnaments ... yes, you read that correctly.

Jawnaments. I swear, there is no place like Philadelphia.

Jawnaments is an Etsy shop that has been around since 2017 but they recently released a ton of non-traditional Philadelphia-inspired ornaments. And they're a thing of beauty.

Can you only function throughout the week because of the daily coffee you grab at Wawa and want to highlight that on your tree this year? They've got you covered.

Haven't received a parking ticket in the city in a while and just miss the stress and anxiety they bring with them? Yup, they've got that covered too.

The Tastykake Krimpet and Kandy Kake ornaments look good enough to eat ... even a classic soft pretzel with yellow mustard is an option.

And since Gritty is just about everywhere in the world ... it he. On an ornament. Oh sorry, *Jawnament.

Trust me, there are a ton of other options but you're just going to have to check out the full shop to see the beauty of it all.

You might even have to get a mini tree that's dedicated to the city you know and love. Heck, keep it up all year!

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