It wasn’t just a 5-2 loss that the Flyers suffered to the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night. Carter Hart also suffered what was reported as a “mid-body” injury. The Flyers will not be skating before they head to rematch the Sabres in Buffalo. But the team is expected to find out more about what could be ailing Hart.
According to Elliotte Friedman, whatever it may be could cause Hart to be out for a bit. Anthony San Filippo of Crossing Broad later added that the Flyers are hopeful it’s only two-to-three weeks and not four-to-six.
"“Carter Hart was injured in Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to Buffalo. They’ll know more Thursday, but word is he’s going to miss a bit of time.”"
Most belief that Hart suffered the injury early in the first period when Kyle Okposo was pushed into the crease by Cam Atkinson. Okposo landed on Hart as the Flyers goaltender was slow to get up afterward. He remained in the game up until Brandon Biro gave the Sabres a 2-1 lead. He was forced to go down into the butterfly position to try and stop the goal. He was unable to continue the game after that.
Sam Ersson, who has been struggling to start the season, came on in relief. Felix Sandstrom was recently loaned to the Phantoms on a conditioning stint. Using that “loophole” allowed the Flyers to get Sandstrom to the AHL without having to pass him through waivers. Sandstrom, having not played since the preseason, needed game action. It’s possible that the team could now recall him from his stint to fill in if Hart is indeed out for awhile.
Sandstrom stopped 24 of 28 shots in his Phantoms season debut on Wednesday night. It was a 5-4 overtime loss to the Hershey Bears. He has struggled to gain footing at the NHL level. In 25 career games, Sandstrom has a 3.62 GAA and a .887 SV%. Of those 25 games, Sandstrom has only come out victorious in three of them. That’s not always on the goaltender of course, but he hasn’t helped in case in most games. He has been prone to giving up that one goal that turns into a backbreaker for the team.
If the team wants to have Sandstrom get more time in the AHL, a conditioning stint lasts up to two weeks. They could then bring up Cal Petersen to work with Ersson for the time being. Petersen, after a tough showing in his first preseason outing, got better as time went. There was hope that a fresh team found help him regain his form. He has also struggled at the NHL level, spending most of his time in the AHL. The Flyers could go to Petersen simply due to him having more experience. He’s appeared in 101 games and holds a 2.92 GAA and a .905 SV%.
Regardless of what the Flyers end up doing, it’s tough to have Hart out for any period of time. He was arguably one of the team’s best players since the start of the season. His numbers are understandably down a little after giving up two goals on five shots before leaving with his injury. But he still holds a 2.52 GAA and a .913 SV% in eight games. He’s given up more than two goals in only three of those.
The Flyers will now have an idea of what this team could look like without Carter Hart.