Hart injured in Flyers’ 6-5 loss to Carolina

Carter Hart

This wasn’t just a lump of coal in the Flyers’ Christmas stocking.

It was more like a bucketful.

With 2:08 remaining in the second period of Friday night’s game at Carolina, goaltender Carter Hart was about to slide over to make a save.

Only problem was, Flyers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had checked the Hurricanes’ Seth Jarvis into the crease. Jarvis crashed right into the unsuspecting Hart, who collapsed to the ice as the puck went into the net.

After spending several minutes on the ice, Hart, who was playing relief for starting goalie Samuel Ersson, was helped off and did not return to action.

Ersson had to grab his gloves and stick and return to action. He had made his NHL debut for this game but had surrendered five goals before coach John Tortorella decided to replace him with Hart, who had played the day before in Toronto.

So the Flyers’ 6-5 loss at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina was really of little concern, given the gravity of Hart’s injury situation.

The Flyers said Hart suffered an upper-body injury on the play but did not provide any other details.

“I haven’t talked to the medical guys,’’ was all Tortorella would offer.

After falling behind by a 6-2 score after two periods, the Flyers put together a three-goal rally in the third period to get within a goal but came up just short.

Ersson was pressed into duty because the Flyers’ regular backup, Felix Sandstrom, was home in Philadelphia recovering from illness.

It was second straight game the Flyers started slowly and then mounted a rally. They fell behind by a 4-1 count in Toronto before losing, 4-3.

“We’ve been behind a lot this year,’’ Tortorella said. “And it’s kind of the same script. We keep on playing. There was some good stuff from individual players, not so good stuff for other players. It could have come apart at the seams going into the third period so I appreciate the guys staying in there and playing. They played hard, they’ve been doing it all year.’’

A pair of goals by Carolina’s Jesper Fast resulted in a Carolina 3-1 lead in the first period.

Fast scored on the first shot put on Ersson at 3:57. After Travis Sanheim tied the score with a solo break off a Morgan Frost lead pass at 11:03, Carolina went ahead again on a goal by Stefan Noesen at 14:32. Then Fast connected again at 19:05.

Tony DeAngelo, playing in his 300th NHL game, finished off a four-on-two rush at 1:01 of the second period with a shot past Antti Raanta but then the ‘Canes rattled off three straight goals.

Andrei Svechnikov started the parade at 5:57. Jordan Martinook made it 5-2 at 7:58, which ended Ersson’s first stint.

On the Hart collision play, Jesperi Kotkaniemi received credit for the sixth goal.

Then came the wild third period comeback.

Nick Seeler scored off a long shot at 6:59 to make it 6-3. Scott Laughton added a shorthanded goal at 7:41. It was Laughton’s third shorthanded goal, tying him for the NHL lead. Travis Konecny added another shorthanded goal at 12:24 to make for a frantic finish.


>Ersson draws praise


Although Ersson did give up five goals in his first turn in net, he recovered after the Hart injury and played a stellar third period, keeping the Hurricanes off the board.

“Tough building, tough team to come in and play your first game,’’ Tortorella commented. “A great experience for him. When Carter got hurt, I thought he came in and made some really big saves in the third period when we needed it.’’

Added DeAngelo: “You’re talking about top-end players coming with speed and transition. I thought he had a great third period, made some saves to keep it at six and give us a chance to come back.’’

Ersson has shown promise with the Phantoms. If Hart is out for any period of time, he might be pressed into service again.

“Obviously I wasn’t happy with how things went (in the first two periods),’’ he said. “I don’t make excuses, I’ve got to be better. I’m a better goalie than I showed out there today. It’s up to me to prove that.’’


>Short shots


The Flyers are off for the holiday break and will not play again until next Thursday in San Jose. It’s the first of a three-game trip, which includes stops in Los Angeles and Anaheim. . .Justin Braun was a healthy scratch. . .The Hurricanes won their eighth straight game and have points in 14 consecutive matches, a team record. . .The Flyers dropped to 0-6 on the second half of back-to-back games. . .Ristolainen’s assist on Seeler’s goal was his first point of the season.

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About Wayne Fish 2343 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.