NEW YORK – While the Flyers are still trying to get their roster finalized, one thing we know for certain: Carter Hart is already in mid-season form and ready for the Oct. 4 opener against Chicago.
The goaltender has allowed only one goal in regulation time in three preseason appearances (135 minutes, two seconds), that one in Thursday night’s 2-1 shootout loss at Madison Square Garden.
Travis Konecny had a Kevin Hayes shot deflect off his skate past Henrik Lundqvist at 6:26 of the second period for the only Flyer goal.
In the shootout, New York’s Mika Zibjanebad provided the winner in the third round for a 1-0 edge.
The Flyers (1-2-3 record) will complete their preseason schedule on Monday with a game against Lausanne Hockey Club in Switzerland.
The only regulation time goal against Hart came with 13 seconds left in the first period when a shot deflected off Lias Andersson past the goalie.
When a team gets a performance like it got from Hart, the confidence level skyrockets.
“In the third period, I loved Carter Hart,’’ coach Alain Vigneault said. “I mean it’s the best that I’ve seen him so far in training camp. He made the difference in that third period. They were the much better team and he gave us a chance.’’
Hart sounds like he’s set to go and get the season going right now.
“I feel ready,’’ he said. “I know a lot of guys are itching to get started. I know we’re all excited to head over to Europe.’’
Defenseman Robert Hagg appreciates what Hart brings to the table.
“He’s done his job, he’s been really good,’’ Hagg said. “It’s good to have him back there. I love having him back there.’’
Hart has stopped 56 of 57 shots this preseason for a .982 save percentage.
Joel Farabee continues to get his chances but can’t get one in the net. Against the Rangers he had 10 shots, including five on net and two off posts.
Vigneault calls him “snakebitten.’’
“He played extremely well again tonight,’’ Vigneault said of the former Boston University star who just turned pro this year. “He had some good looks. He’s having a hard time finding the scoresheet but it’s not for lack of trying.’’
Does he have a shot to make the roster?
“If he’s not in that first game (vs. Chicago) it will be a surprise,’’ Vigneault said. “He’s played extremely well. In my mind, if we started tomorrow, he would probably be in our lineup.’’
Farabee was even given an opportunity in the shootout but was turned away at the last instant.
“It’s definitely frustrating, goals aren’t going in,’’ he said. “But at the end of the day I’m getting chances. That’s all I can ask for now. Not too worried.’’
He played on a third line with Scott Laughton and Michael Raffl.
“Each game I’m getting more comfortable with the speed,’’ Farabee said. “Right now I think I’m playing my best hockey.’’
>Patrick suffering from ‘migraine disorder’
Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher announced on Thursday that third-year center Nolan Patrick has been diagnosed with a condition called “migraine disorder.’’
As reported Wednesday, Patrick will not make the trip to Europe (preseason game at Lausanne, Switzerland on Monday; regular-season opener in Prague, Czech Republic vs. the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 4).
“After consultation with the Flyers’ medical staff and with specialist Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher from the University of Michigan, Patrick has been diagnosed with migraine disorder,’’ Fletcher revealed prior to the Flyers-Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. “We will provide additional information once the team returns.
“He will not be ready to start the season and is listed as week-to-week.’’
Patrick has had at least one confirmed concussion while playing for the Flyers and possibly a second.
But Fletcher said there isn’t necessarily a connection between Patrick’s concussion history and the migraine headaches he’s experiencing now.
“The doctors don’t believe so,’’ Fletcher said. “Clearly last year he took a slap shot in the back of the head area in Long Island. He felt good after that and sometime in the summer, he let us know he was having headaches from time to time. Not constant.
“Nolan spent the time trying to get to the root of it. I think we feel comfortable now that it’s a migraine issue. It’s not a concussion, according to the doctors.’’
Family history could be a factor. Some of Patrick’s relatives have experienced similar health issues.
“Nolan does have a history of migraines,’’ Fletcher said. “Going back to when he was younger. I think at this point he’s relieved to know what it is. The doctor feels there’s a regimen they can put him on and with medication we can control the situation. And we’re hopeful.’’
With Patrick out, it looks like Vigneault will use veteran Scott Laughton as his third-line center.
“The way Scott has played in the middle, he’s played extremely well,’’ Vigneault said. “He’s very dependable, a hard worker. . .that’s sort of what I’m looking for in that position.
“So at this time, he’s sort of got that role locked down. He’s done a good job for us killing penalties.’’
Patrick, a former No. 2 overall draft pick (2017), has tried to stay active with team activities such as meetings but it’s tough when you can’t participate in practices.
“He’s been involved as much as he can be,’’ Vigneault said. “He’s been in all the video sessions. He’s been skating, working out.
“Unfortunately he has that condition. Our medical staff feels with the proper treatment, it should be under control. Hopefully it will be sooner than later. But the young man has to get healthy and I have to deal with the players who are healthy right now and he’s not one of them.’’
>Frost heading north
If Morgan Frost hadn’t suffered a groin injury, would he have started the regular season with the Flyers?
We probably will never know because the Flyers were on the verge of sending him back to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Thursday as they prepare to finalize their roster for the trip to Europe.
Vigneault said Frost played well him during the preseason but left the impression there’s still more work to be done.
“He was right there,’’ Vigneault said before the Flyers-Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. “He was in the mix. He was battling hard, he was playing well.
“Unfortunately he didn’t get on the score sheet with the number of opportunities that he’s had — whereas some of the other kids have been able to do it.’’
For instance, going into Thursday night’s game, rookies Carsen Twarynski and Connor Bunnaman had two goals and one goal respectively.
“Right now we’ve got tough decisions to make,’’ Vigneault said.
Added Fletcher: “I’m a big believer in young skill players playing in the American League, unless they’re in your top nine (on the NHL roster). To me, it doesn’t make any sense to play Frost on the fourth line, particularly a first-year player.’’
>Do Flyers have enough physical players?
With Wayne Simmonds, Radko Gudas and Dale Weise off to new addresses in the past year, the Flyers appear to be a little short in the “energy’’ department.
In fact, on the current roster, only training camp invitee Chris Stewart and former No. 1 draft pick defenseman Sam Morin really have a resume for dropping the gloves or delivering the timely big hit.
Granted, fighting numbers continue to dwindle in the NHL but you still want a couple guys for accountability, right?
“I have coached the three that were mentioned,’’ said Vigneault, whose past teams (such as Montreal, Vancouver and the Rangers) haven’t been known for physical play. “They do bring an element to the game.
“But I feel the way we need to play, we’ve got that element here also. Our guys so far have played real hard. And that’s what we intend to keep doing here moving forward.’’
Fletcher said no decision has been made regarding a contract offer to Stewart.
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