Rangers 4, Flyers 2 (preseason): Carter Hart goes distance in loss



Can Carter Hart cut it? 

That’s the question Flyers fans are dying to know as the 20-year-old rookie probably played his final game of the preseason Thursday. Now, it’s up to the coaching staff to determine whether he’s worthy of making the opening night roster.

Hart went the distance in the Flyers' 4-2 loss to the Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center.

1. Let’s hope what we’ve seen the past two games isn’t an early-season trend. The Flyers fell behind 4-0 to a JV-level Bruins squad before cutting the deficit to a single goal Monday. Against the Rangers, the Flyers were forced to rally back from 3-0. Not a good sign and certainly not something they hope is habit forming to start the season.

2. Outside of Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov, the Flyers' blue line doesn’t inspire much confidence. I’ll give Andrew MacDonald some slack considering he missed the first week of camp and it appears he’s still working off the rust. It was MacDonald who lost an edge and couldn’t recover in his own zone that led to Jimmy Vesey’s slam-dunk goal. Christian Folin had some shaky moments in the first period. Collectively, this defensive unit isn’t close to where the Flyers need it to be.

3. Gostisbehere and Claude Giroux have had two very good preseasons and both appear ready. Gostisbehere seems to have an extra set of eyes. He can sense when a forechecker is closing in on him, and like a point guard in basketball, he seems to know where the other four guys are on the ice at all times.

4. There was a belief that Nolan Patrick would bring that second-half burst into this preseason, but I haven’t seen it so far. Is it a matter of growing accustomed to new linemates James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek, or is Patrick holding something back? I’m not sure, but Patrick has come out of the gates as if he knows he has a roster spot secured. That line is still a work in progress and in two games, it hasn't manufactured much. Dave Hakstol switched JVR with Oskar Lindblom in the second period, and Patrick responded by showing more jump.

5. Hart had very little work in the first period and was then touched up for two goals in the first 1:08 of the second period. Neither goal was one you could pin on Hart as the Rangers scored their first goal on a power play that was a tip-in from outside of the crease. Overall, Hart didn’t appear as settled as he has in his previous appearances. I thought he could have saved the Rangers' 3-0 goal, a one-timer from a sharp angle where he had enough time to square up to the shot.

6. Interesting to see Tyrell Goulbourne playing this deep into the preseason. He was placed on waivers Wednesday and cleared Thursday afternoon as Hakstol elected to use the gritty, fourth-line winger in the game. I would have to think Goulbourne will be sent down to the Phantoms as there’s simply not much of a role for him on this team.

7. Even though Scott Laughton slipped and couldn’t clear the puck that led to a Rangers goal, I thought he formed a solid pairing with Michael Raffl. It will be interesting to see what the composition of that fourth line will be, but I think Laughton at left wing and Raffl on the right is a tough line to play against.

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