Carter Hart couldn’t stay completely cool as he finished his skate through the handshake line Friday night. He had just gotten the better of his hockey hero in a playoff series, and the two men were about to meet at the blue line.
Hart’s expression, and his attention to Price’s words, told the story of what he was feeling:
“[Price] said, ‘Hell of a series’ and he’ll be watching,” Hart told reporters, per The Associated Press. “Pretty special and definitely something I won’t forget.”
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Hart earned that moment with his effort in Philly’s clinching 3-2 victory in Game 6. He stopped 31 of 33 Montreal shots, giving him a .939 save percentage for the series. His two shutouts canceled out rough outings in Games 2 and 5.
Price finished his series with a .926 save percentage, but he allowed three goals on just 17 shots Friday. The first two goals came in the first 5:23 of the game. With Hart doing his thing in net, Philly never trailed.
The East’s top playoff seed moves on to a second-round matchup with the division-rival Islanders. Hart was not good in his lone appearance against New York in the regular season; he allowed five goals in 14 shots in a Philadelphia loss on Oct. 27.
Then again, that was almost 10 months ago in the NHL’s marathon 2019-20 campaign. So much has happened since then, starting with Hart’s memorable first playoff series victory.