PHILADELPHIA – Even when shots start getting by him, Carter Hart doesn’t seem to lose his composure, perhaps a sign he’s mature beyond his years.
The 20-year-old goaltender suffered his initial defeat on Saturday and got his first taste of what it’s like to have a nasty offensive team like the Columbus Blue Jackets storming the gates.
Cam Atkinson, he of the 21 goals already posted this season, got two shots past Hart and, in all, the line of Atkinson, Artemi Panarin and Pierre-Luc Dubois posted eight points.
Hart didn’t sound too upset after the 4-3 loss at the Wells Fargo Center.
“I felt sharp,’’ he said. “Obviously I have to make a couple more saves. We didn’t give them much, when we did they capitalized.’’
Coach Scott Gordon declined to comment on whether Hart or Michal Neuvirth will start Sunday night’s game at the New York Rangers.
Neuvirth is the likely choice, given Hart has already played three games in five days.
Gordon had no problem with Hart’s performance.
“When I look at the goals, the first one I can’t fault him on,’’ Gordon said. “He (Zach Werenski) was walking down Main Street. He made an unbelievable save (on Cam Atkinson) and that rebound goes right to their best player.’’
Power play still an issue
The Flyers did score a power-play goal on Saturday but the numbers remain ugly: Two for the last 36 attempts and their 12 percent overall efficiency is last in the NHL.
“The power play is not always going to score,’’ Gordon said. “You have to look at two things: Time of possession in the offensive zone and now you’re generating shots.
“We had some opportunities, they had some big saves and that’s all you can ask. You want to score but the reality is the other team is trying to stop you from scoring.’’
Varone gets his first goal as Flyer
Phil Varone, a 28-year-old journeyman who has played in only 56 NHL games, got his first goal as a Flyer, poking in the rebound of a James van Riemsdyk shot.
It’s just the sixth goal of his NHL career.
“I was getting chances in other games,’’ he said. “That one (Saturday) was probably the easiest one. Great play by JVR there, it felt good.’’
Varone has been anchoring the fourth line and is a responsible defensive player. He could stick around for a while, keeping Jordan Weal and Jori Lehtera stuck on the bench.
The Flyers play 14 back-to-backs this season, including this weekend and 13 of them finish on the road.
That’s a tough quirk in the schedule. So far, the Flyers have played four (all finishing on the road) and they are 1-3.