VOORHEES, N.J. — Carter Hart is back … sort of.
As the Flyers (33-27-8) host the Senators (23-40-6) Monday night, Hart will dress for the first time since Feb. 21 but back up Brian Elliott.
For more on that decision, let's get into the essentials:
• When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
• Where: Wells Fargo Center
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
• On paper, Monday looked like an ideal time to give Hart his first action since returning from an ankle injury. The Flyers are at home against the NHL's worst team, making for an opportunistic game to get the 20-year-old back in the swing of things.
However, with the Flyers five points out of a playoff spot with 14 games to go, interim head coach Scott Gordon is looking at every team as the same.
The 33-year-old Elliott has had only one clunker while playing in place of the injured Hart, which went into Gordon's decision.
He's gone 4-1-1 in his last six games and right now, he's playing well, so I can't just take him out of the lineup because it's a perceived lesser opponent, because I don't feel that way.
Like I said to the players, on a nightly basis, we're playing Columbus and Montreal, every single night. So we've got to treat it like that. Right now, Brian has played well and he deserves to be in. He played well on Saturday and there's no reason not to play him.
Gordon said Hart will play one of the two games in the Flyers' upcoming back-to-back against the Capitals at home Thursday and vs. the Maple Leafs on the road Friday. Either of those games pose a much stiffer challenge than Monday's contest.
"I'm not looking at it as a lesser opponent and that's what I told our guys," Gordon said.
• For your nightly scoreboard watching: the Blue Jackets visit the Islanders Monday and the Hurricanes visit the Avalanche, while the Canadiens don't play until Tuesday when they host the Red Wings.
Carolina currently holds the Eastern Conference's first wild-card position with 81 points and Columbus contains the second at 79 points, ahead of Montreal (79 points) and the Flyers (74 points).
The Blue Jackets' next five games are at the Islanders, vs. the Bruins, vs. the Hurricanes, at the Bruins and at the Flames — all top-11 clubs.
Entering Monday, Hockey-Reference.com had the Flyers with a 9.0 percent chance to make the postseason, while SportsClubStats.com gave them a 5.4 percent chance.
• Ottawa was a big-time seller at the Feb. 25 trade deadline and has lost 10 of its last 11 games (1-9-1), a stretch in which it has been outscored 46-24.
The Senators have the NHL's fewest points (52), second-worst goal differential (minus-55) and are 9-24-2 on the road.
• Without Jakub Voracek (two-game suspension), the Flyers will roll with seven defensemen and 11 forwards.
James van Riemsdyk-Nolan Patrick-Claude Giroux
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl-Scott Laughton-Ryan Hartman
Phil Varone-Corban Knight
Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim
Shayne Gostisbehere-Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg-Radko Gudas
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