Hart's whacks of frustration symbolic of Flyers' start to 2020-21 season


Given the empty stands and the force of the whacks, Carter Hart's frustration taken out on his net may have reverberated TD Garden.

Hart's repeated swings on the iron until the goalie's stick broke were uncharacteristic of the innocent, hard-working 22-year-old who is adored by fans for his harmless nature and precocious play in net.

The hefty hacks turned out to be a microcosm of his team's start to the 2020-21 season. In a disastrous 6-1 loss to the Bruins on Saturday night, the Flyers looked nowhere near like the team that was one of the NHL's best last season from November to the end of the halted regular season in March.

"They slapped us right in the face there," Kevin Hayes said. "It was not a fun game to be a part of, it's unacceptable in every aspect of the game."

The Flyers have looked just as flawed as they have been formidable through six games of a season with high expectations. As Hart allowed seven third-period goals over the Flyers' two-game set in Boston, his frustrations "boiled over," as he put it, following the final horn Saturday night.

"I regret doing that," Hart said. "I'm not a guy who gets angry too often, but I'm just frustrated and that was unprofessional of me to do that there at the end of the game, so I apologize for everyone that saw that. It was just heat of the moment.

"I know I need to be a lot better. The third period there, I know I'm a lot better than that."

Hart didn't have to apologize but good for him for doing it. If anything, Hart's displeasure with himself should be felt by the Flyers and could serve as a timely wake-up call. Hart has not been good over his last three starts and the Flyers know they haven't helped him.

"That happens to everyone — young, old, middle-aged in this league," Hayes said of Hart's frustration. "He's probably frustrated, he's one of the best goalies in the league and we hung him out to dry tonight.

"We have all the faith in the world in him. He's young but he's the backbone of our team. We all have his back, he's a great kid, he's a great competitor. I'm sure he'll be lights out next time he's in the net."

The Flyers are off Sunday. Hart and company will use it to recharge. They'll try to leave the frustration in Boston.

"It's good to show emotion, but frustration right now won't help our situation," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said. "We've got to get back to focus, we've got to get back to work and that's not just with Carter, it's with our whole group. We need to play better as a team in front of him and our goaltenders need to do obviously a good job for us because we're not going to be perfect, we're going to make some mistakes. We'll take tomorrow to refocus, regroup and reenergize, and we'll get back at it on Monday."

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