He might have been dreaming of this moment since he first stopped a puck in his driveway, then went inside to watch his hero, Carey Price, compete for the storied Montreal Canadiens.
Friday night, Carter Hart saw fantasy turn to reality.
After the Flyers eliminated the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of their best-of-seven playoff series by a 3-2 score, the Flyer goaltender got in line to shake hands with his opponents.
When he reached Price, the two embraced.
“It was definitely a special moment,’’ Hart said. “I look up to him. To have him come over and congratulate you in the handshake line – he said, ‘Hell of a series, we’ll be watching (vs. New York Islanders).’ It was pretty special, something I won’t forget.’’
Coach Alain Vigneault said: “He (Hart) was up against his idol growing up and he handled it like we expected.’’
Hart had a couple rough games but he always bounced back.
“I think it’s just trust in my own game,’’ he said. “Trusting my teammates. At the end of the day, you just have to go out and play hockey. I know it’s easier said than done but you just have to go out and do what you can control. Focus on one thing. For me, it’s stopping pucks.’’
>Islanders offer a tough task
The Flyers have a tough task in round two. The New York Islanders made quick work of the 2018 Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals in five games and look to be hitting on all cylinders.
At least the Flyers are ready for New York’s speed after playing the quick Canadiens.
“We had to play through a lot of things mentally (vs. Montreal),’’ coach Alain Vigneault said. “To play through them, you learn how to win. You learn how to play. And that’s what we’re doing as a group.
“Some of our guys had their first kick at the can, playoff hockey. So you have to learn, you have to grow.’’
>Gostisbehere to the rescue
Filling in for the suspended Matt Niskanen, Shayne Gostisbehere played well, including a big power rush on the second goal scored by Kevin Hayes.
Kevin Hayes gave Gostisbehere high marks.
“Ghost obviously wants to play every single night,’’ Hayes said. “When he’s not in the lineup he’s working his ass off. His number was called tonight and I thought he played great.’’
Added Hart: “Ghost did a great job coming in, it’s not an easy thing to do. I think our ‘D’ did well clearing bodies away from the front.’’