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The Two O’Clock Number: 40

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Carter Hart hasn’t been asked to stop a ton of shots in a single game much this season, but he came through yesterday.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not often there’s meaning to a game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Anaheim Ducks, but last night was one of those meetings. On top of attempting to snap a three-game slide the Orange and Black were playing in their first home contest since forward Oskar Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma. With the team looking to gain points for the first time in three contests in an emotional setting Carter Hart came up huge, which is why he’s the focal point of today’s number.

40 - the number of saves Hart made last night. It was the first time in his 21 starts so far this season where he faced 40 or more shots, so Hart’s lack of stat lines with 40 or more saves isn’t really on him (oh hell yeah, team defense!). The same can’t be said about his workload last season, as he provided four performances with 40 saves or more while facing 40 shots or more seven times in 30 starts. Since the start of 2018-19 Hart is one of 14 goalies in the NHL with five games of 40 saves or more with the others listed below.

Games with 40-plus saves since 2018-19

Player Team Times facing 40-plus shots Games with 40-plus saves
Player Team Times facing 40-plus shots Games with 40-plus saves
Henrik Lundqvist New York Rangers 17 9
Linus Ullmark Buffalo Sabres 12 9
John Gibson Anaheim Ducks 13 8
Carter Hutton Buffalo Sabres 13 8
Frederik Andersen Toronto Maple Leafs 14 7
Connor Hellebuyck Winnipeg Jets 13 7
Jacob Markstrom Vancouver Canucks 9 7
Philipp Grubauer Colorado Avalanche 7 6
Jimmy Howard Detroit Red Wings 12 6
Cam Ward Chicago Blackhawks 8 6
Craig Anderson Ottawa Senators 12 5
Alexandar Georgiev New York Rangers 10 5
Anton Khudobin Dallas Stars 5 5
Carter Hart Philadelphia Flyers 8 5

Hart was the only one of these goalies to record 40 or more saves last night, as John Gibson stopped 27 of the 30 shots Hart’s teammates threw his way. Looking at the names above some of these netminders get a lot of opportunities to post 40 or more saves in a night’s work thanks to the teams in front of them. Since the Flyers have transitioned into a team that actually plays defense this season that means Hart’s eight games facing 40 or more shots makes him only one of four goalies over the last two seasons who have posted five 40-save games or more with only eight opportunities to do so. The other three goalies to accomplish this are Cam Ward (all came last season with the Chicago Blackhawks), the Dallas StarsAnton Khudobin, and the Colorado Avalanche’s Philipp Grubauer.

Even with the limited times he’s been asked to face an excessive amount of shots over the past two seasons, Hart has still managed to put himself in exclusive company. His win last night was the fourth time in his career he’s made 40 or more saves and allowed one goal against or less. Across the whole league only Jack Campbell of the Los Angeles Kings has had four games with 40 saves or more while allowing one goal or less since the start of the 2018-19 season. Campbell hasn’t faced 40 or more shots often over the last two seasons, but when he does he turns it on. All four of the games he faced 40-plus shots on goal Campbell either allowed one goal against (a 49-save win over the Arizona Coyotes on April 2nd and a 46-save LOSS against the Vegas Golden Knights on January 1st) or a shutout.

From a team perspective it’s nice to see the number of times Hart faces a whole mess of shots has reduced compared to last season. There’s a lot of this season left, but the team’s overall shot suppression numbers and penalty kill numbers are improved meaning there should be a lot less shots and goals against Philly. On the nights where the defense isn’t clicking or a team has the Flyers’ number it’s nice to know the franchise has a goalie that can give them a chance to win every night regardless of workload.