This isn’t the news the Philadelphia Flyers need right now.
The team announced on Wednesday that starting goaltender Carter Hart is going to miss the next two-to-three weeks with a right lower abdominal strain. Brian Elliott will take over the primary goaltending duties during that stretch, while the team also recalled Alex Lyon from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League.
Let’s break all this down.
First, this is really bad news for the Flyers in the short-term. While Hart’s overall numbers are probably not what the Flyers had hoped for at this point in the season, he is still the team’s best goalie. The best-case scenario of only two weeks would keep him out through at least the all-star break. The Flyers play four games during that stretch, and it begins Wednesday night in St. Louis against the defending Stanley Cup champions (watch it on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET). After that, they return home for three games against Montreal, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh.
If his injury holds him beyond the All-Star break their first two games back are against Pittsburgh and Colorado.
Not exactly an easy schedule for a team playing without its best goalie. They also have two different sets of back-to-backs during that stretch, including tonight and tomorrow against the Blues and Canadiens.
Elliott is mired in a terrible slump with an .843 save percentage in his past seven appearances dating back to the start of December.
That’s going to be a problem for the Flyers because they have already been slipping a bit in recent weeks and find themselves on the playoff bubble. Even with Monday’s shootout win against the Boston (thanks in large part to Brad Marchand’s shootout whiff) the Flyers are just 3-5-1 in their past nine games, with only one of those three wins coming in regulation.
They are currently in a tie with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.