NEW YORK – Carter Hart insists he prepares the same way for a game in New York (or Philadelphia) as he does in Prague.
If that’s not making a point by using a big chunk of the globe, we don’t know what is.
Anyway, the bottom line is this. The Flyers second-year goalie needed the first 61 games of the season to record two wins on the road.
And now he’s won two away from home in the last 11 days.
So much for a road jinx. Suddenly he’s become a road warrior.
Take Sunday’s game at Madison Square Garden for example.
Earlier in the season, Hart probably would not have fared so well in a game of this magnitude under the bright lights of Broadway.
But in the latest contest, Hart did not allow a goal at even-strength in a hard-fought 5-3 win to complete a weekend sweep of the Blueshirts.
“There’s a big difference in both (home vs. road, Hart is 18-2-2 in Philly),’’ coach Alain Vigneault said after the game. “His games on the road lately, though, his last five or six have been very good.
“Today again in the third period he was excellent. Always remember, he’s 21, like everybody else he’s got to learn the game, he is and he’s figuring things out. There’s no doubt we’ve got a really solid young man with a tremendous amount of potential there.’’
To his credit, Hart doesn’t really pay much attention to his stats, particularly the home and away stuff.
It’s safe to say he probably knows he hasn’t been all that great on the road but then neither has his team been all that good until lately.
Sunday’s win brought them even for the season at 15-15-3.
“I’ve always competed the same no matter where we are,’’ Hart said. “Whether we’re in New York or whether we’re in Prague. It doesn’t matter where you’re at.’’
There’s a good chance Vigneault will go back to Hart this Wednesday at Washington for what could amount to a battle for first place in the Metro Division.
“We know they’re a good team,’’ Hart said. “We’ve played them three times already this year, we know we can play with them.’’
Hart sticks to business on the ice and tries not to get caught up in the road-home thing.
“No,’’ he said. “I’m not worried about that at all. No matter where we’re at, we just try to get two points.’’
>Grant fitting in
Derek Grant was acquired at the trade deadline on Monday and fit right into the lineup for Tuesday night’s win over the San Jose Sharks.
No different in the two games against the Rangers, except on Sunday he scored his first goal as a Flyer and added an assist.
Both Grant and another new acquisition, Nate Thompson, are getting the job done in the eyes of Kevin Hayes.
“They bring something to this team that we needed,’’ Hayes said. “They’ve done their jobs exceptionally well.
“It’s veteran leadership. It helps our team.’’
Grant marvels at the warm reception he got. It makes the job a lot easier.
Sunday’s goal had an impact on the game as it turned out to be the winner and earned him “star of the game’’ honors by attending media.
“It’s always nice when you join a team to get one relatively early,’’ he said. “The guys have all been great. They’re making it easy for me.’’
Grant was playing a defensive role with Anaheim. Now he’s on a third line with James van Riemsdyk. How has the transition been?
“It’s pretty much the same for the most part,’’ he said. “Playing a few less ‘D-zone’ starts, stuff like that and playing with guys like JVR and ‘Pitter’ (Tyler Pitlick). . .they’re always in the right spot. If you can get them the puck, it makes everyone’s job a little easier.’’
>Farabee goes back
Joel Farabee, who was an emergency callup from the Phantoms in case Sean Couturier (illness) couldn’t play on Sunday (he did), was returned to Lehigh Valley after the game.