Goaltender Carter Hart, the Philadelphia Flyers’ backbone, was injured midway through the first period Wednesday and left the ice.
Hart was in a goal-mouth scramble as Buffalo’s Brandon Biro knocked the puck past him to give the Sabres a 2-1 lead with 10 minutes to go in the first. Biro and Flyers right winger Cam Atkinson appeared to land on him briefly.
A short time earlier, Hart made a pad save and was slow to get up, perhaps injuring his groin.
After the opening period, the Philadelphia Flyers said he had a mid-body injury and would not return to the game. They had no other update after the game.
Carter Hart left the game with a mid-body injury after this goal. https://t.co/zPf7OBqmHi
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) November 2, 2023
The 25-year-old Hart is off to an impressive start. He entered the night with a 2.30 GAA and .921 save percentage.
He was replaced Wednesday by Sam Ersson, who has struggled mightily in his two appearances — a 5.91 GAA and a .760 save percentage. Daniel Spencer, 29, a Gloucester native, was the emergency backup goalie.
The Flyers ended up losing the game, 5-2, despite outshooting the Sabres, 40-15.
With Hart, the Flyers are competitive in most games. If he is sidelined for a while?
Well, that could be a major problem unless Ersson regains his form. The Flyers figure to recall Cal Petersen or Felix Sandstrom from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Sandstrom, who was on the Flyers’ roster but didn’t play in any games earlier this season, was sent to the Phantoms on a conditioning stint this week.
Sandstrom, 26, played his first game in 2023-24 Wednesday, stopping 24 of 28 shots as the Phantoms lost a 4-3 overtime decision in Hershey.
Petersen, 29, was acquired as part of the Ivan Provorov trade in the offseason. He did not perform well in training camp, and had just a 3.76 GAA and .884 save percentage in four games with the AHL’s Phantoms this season. He has played in 101 NHL games, compiling a 2.92 GA and .905 save percentage.
After Wednesday’s loss, Flyers coach John Tortorella said the team would not play a more defensive game if Hart was sidelined for a while. Philly has a rematch with the Sabres on Saturday, in Buffalo.