Flyers host Predators in transition with coaching change
Their opening night a smash hit, interim coach Scott Gordon and young goaltender Carter Hart, the Philadelphia Flyers go for their second straight win when they host the Nashville Predators Thursday night.
Brooks, who replaced Dave Hakstol Monday, was victorious behind the bench in his NHL debut, while the 20-year-old Hart was the game’s No. 1 star in a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night.
Hart made 20 saves and became the youngest goalie ever to win a game for the Flyers – as Philly (13-15-4) broke a four-game losing streak.
“It was something special tonight to be out there,” Hart said after the game. “I was trying not to think about it before the game. Now, it’s starting to sink in a little bit.”
Said captain Claude Giroux: “For a 20-year-old goalie, it was pretty impressive how calm he was. Good start for him.”
The Predators, who won in Philadelphia each of the last two seasons, are coming off a 2-1 loss at Chicago, their second straight loss on a four-game road swing that ends Saturday in Boston – and their eight straight loss away from home.
“We came out in the third and tried to press and win it and get it done, but we’re in position right now on the road, I think you need to play a consistent 60 minutes,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said after his team dropped to 22-11-2. “Some of it was OK tonight and some of it was not.”
Pekka Rinne was in goal for Tuesday’s loss, and brings a 6-2-2 record, a 2.63 goals against average and .914 save percentage lifetime against the Flyers. Backup Juuse Saros, 8-5-1 on the season, lost his only career start to the Flyers.
The injury riddled Preds won their first eight road games before dropping the last eight – Chicago’s Cam Ward stopping 30 shots against them Tuesday night.
“We didn’t get a win, so it’s not good enough,” captain Roman Josi said. “Pekka stood on his head for a lot in the second period, and it seemed like we just couldn’t get anything going. We didn’t get enough zone time, didn’t win enough battles, so it’s disappointing. We need to win some games on the road.”
Said Nashville’s Ryan Hartman: “We know we have a great team in this room, but we have to try to make plays. There’s a lot of guys in this room that can make plays, and we just have to make sure they’re 100-percent plays.”
“We’re in a position right now on the road where you need to play a consistent 60 minutes,” Laviolette said. “Some of it was ok tonight, and some of it was not.”
The Flyers were given Wednesday off. They assigned Phil Varone to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Hart, whose parents were on hand for the debut, is staying.