Goaltender Carter Hart has had the Philadelphia Flyers’ collective backs for most of the season.
They didn’t return the favor Saturday as Hart struggled in a 3-2 loss to visiting New Jersey.
It wasn’t because of a lack of effort, however. The Flyers outplayed best-in-the-NHL New Jersey for a majority of the game. Philly had a 33-18 shots advantage, and outscored the Devils on special teams (1-0).
But Hart was outplayed by Devils backup goalie Akira Schmid (31 saves), and the Flyers (8-12-5) lost for the 12th time in the last 13 games.
The Devils (20-4-1) won their 11th straight road game, a franchise record. Overall, they are on a 17-1-1 run.
“We did a lot of good things,” said right winger Travis Konecny, who scored the Flyers’ first goal. “I love that we stick with it, no matter what was going on out there. … We just battled to the end. There’s a lot of good things to take” from the loss.
“I think we’ve had quite a few of those games where we’ve played very well (and lost),” defenseman Nick Seeler said. “There’s just a couple shifts here and there that have cost us.”
Hart stopped just 15 of 18 shots, and his misplay behind the net led to a third-period goal that gave the Devils a 2-1 lead.
“We played a great game … I need to make some more saves there,” Hart said.
The schedule doesn’t ease up for the Flyers.
Philly will finish off a five-game homestand by facing the defending champion Colorado Avalanche (13-8-1) on Monday, and Alex Ovechkin and Washington (10-12-4) on Wednesday. The Flyers are 1-2 on the homestand.
Like the Flyers, the Avs and Capitals have been crippled by injuries. The latter two teams, however, have much more depth to compensate.
Konecny has 15 points (5-10) in his last 13 games. He played a career-high 24:24, and his goal was his team-leading ninth of the season. … Kevin Hayes has 15 points in his last 15 games …. Scott Laughton had a career-high seven shots Saturday. … The Flyers are 5-7-1 at home. … Lukas Sedlak, claimed off waivers from Colorado six weeks ago, has five points (2-3) in his last four games. He will face his former teammates Monday.