Hart leads Flyers past Predators 2-1
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The kid has lived up to the hype so far.
Carter Hart made 31 saves for his second straight win in his second NHL start, and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Thursday night.
Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek scored for the Flyers, who won their second straight since interim coach Scott Gordon replaced Dave Hakstol after he was fired on Monday.
The 20-year-old Hart made 20 saves in his debut in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Detroit. He was even better against Nashville.
“He’s the main reason we won the last two games,” Voracek said.
Hart, a touted prospect who was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft, made two big saves to help kill off the Predators’ lengthy 5-on-3 power play late in the second period. He stopped each of the 13 shots he faced in the third.
“I’m competing and having fun,” Hart said.
Hart made his best stop early in the third when he denied Roman Josi from close range with a strong glove save. The Flyers also caught a break when Ryan Johansen’s wrist shot hit the post just before time expired.
While he is facing players he idolized just a few years ago, Hart isn’t intimidated.
“They’re the same as you and me,” Hart said. “They bleed when you cut them.”
Nick Bonino scored for Nashville, which lost its ninth straight game on the road. The Predators, who began the day in a tie for first in the Central Division, last won away from Nashville on Nov. 10 in Dallas.
“We had some good looks, (but) the young kid in net made some good saves,” Johansen said. “We competed hard. ... We just couldn’t find a way.”
The Predators tied it at 1 4:04 into the second when Bonino scored from in front after a deflection.
Philadelphia regained the lead when Giroux got his 12th of the season on a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Pekka Rinne on the blocker side.
The Flyers preserved the lead by killing off a 5-on-3 in the final two minutes of the second. Hart denied Ryan Ellis and Kevin Fiala during the stretch, and defenseman Robert Hagg blocked two shots. Philadelphia also got lucky when Josi’s shot clanked off the post.
“It gave the whole building a lift,” Gordon said of the penalty kill. “You could feel the emotion in the crowd and that carries over to the bench.”
Voracek opened the scoring 5:10 into the first by finishing a great pass from Sean Couturier, who found a wide-open Voracek at the side of the crease.
NOTES: The teams will meet once more in the regular season, Jan. 1 in Nashville. ... Predators C Colton Sissons was held out after injuring his right ankle in the third period of Tuesday’s 2-1 loss at Chicago. . Nashville suffered its first regulation loss to an Eastern Conference opponent, dropping to 10-1-1.
Predators: Finish a four-game trip at Boston on Saturday.
Flyers: Host Columbus on Saturday.
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