In an injury that came out of left field, the Flyers announced Saturday that rookie goalie Carter Hart will be sidelined at least 10 days with a lower-body injury.
Flyers coach Scott Gordon on Friday said that it was a painful decision, but that Brian Elliott would start Saturday night’s Stadium Series game against the Penguins at Lincoln Financial Field and that Hart would be the backup.
As it turned out, Hart, 20, would not have been able to play even if Gordon had named him the starter.
Before Saturday’s game, Gordon said Hart was injured in pregame warmups Thursday in Montreal, but did reveal it until Friday night, when he met with a doctor after practicing at the Linc.
Gordon said Hart, who is believed to have injured a hip or groin, would be sidelined seven to 10 days, but in a statement earlier in the day, general manager Chuck Fletcher said the goalie would not play for a “minimum” of 10 days.
Fletcher was not available to comment.
Gordon said that Hart, “to his credit, tried to fight through it, but it was a little more severe than he thought."
Hart allowed three goals on nine shots Thursday’ and was pulled after 10 minutes, 33 seconds. The Flyers lost to the Canadiens, 5-1.
“When I look back at the game, forget about the goals, there were a couple plays I thought he was a little off on,” said Gordon, adding rebounds came off him “funny” in Montreal. “He just didn’t look right to me, and that might explain it.”
After he practiced Friday night, Hart said he was disappointed not to get the start, but with the crowded schedule, he said he would be ready to help the team in upcoming games.
In consecutive games, Hart allowed three goals on nine shots and was pulled in losses to Tampa Bay and Montreal.
Since Jan. 5, Hart has been a workhorse, starting 17 of the Flyers’ 21 games. Before Saturday, he started their last four games over a six-night span.
Based on Fletcher’s time frame, Hart would be unavailable for four more games: Buffalo, Columbus, New Jersey, and the New York Islanders.
The Flyers entered Saturday eight points out of a playoff spot with 21 games left, so each game is critical.
Cam Talbot served as Elliott’s backup against the Penguins.
The Flyers have had five goalies injured this season. Including Saturday, those goalies will have missed a combined total of 101 games.