If there was ever a question about how Carter Hart would respond to the pressure of another young goalie playing well behind him and pushing for more time, Saturday would provide an answer.

No sweat.

Hart made 39 saves, including stopping all 19 he faced in the third period, as the Flyers swept a home-and-home series with the Washington Capitals in a 3-1 victory, their seventh win in their last eight contests.

Hart was sensational in a period where the Flyers really seemed to lack a lot of the juice that they have been playing with in recent weeks.

They built an early lead playing well, buoyed by the suddenly resurgent special teams. The Flyers killed all three shorthanded situations they faced and scored again on the power play – this time a red-hot Scott Laughton tipping a Tony DeAngelo shot past Washington goalie Darcy Kuemper to make it 1-0:

Laughton now has 13 career goals against Washington. The next most against any one team is five. Although that’s a weird stat, one that isn’t, and is just showing how good of a roll the Flyers de facto captain (he’s still the only player with a letter on his jersey) is on in the past month-plus is this:

Laughton has averaged a point per game in the last 18 contests, and has become a reliable threat on the power play, having scored five goals with the man advantage. In the first 447 games of his career, which spans 10 seasons with the Flyers, Laughton had never scored a power play goal. He now has five this season, but even more impressively, he has four in the last 13 games. The Flyers, as a team in those 13 games, are 8-for-42 (19.1%).

He’s chalking up his sudden offensive production to good eats, this time courtesy of Joel Farabee:

The Flyers also got goals 49 seconds apart early in the second period from James van Riemsdyk and Wade Allison, stealing momentum back from the Capitals, who tied the game 1-1 late in the first on a goal by Alexander Ovechkin of another brutal turnover by Morgan Frost:

While this goal was mostly a gift for Ovi, it’s hard not to appreciate his greatness when he does certain things. This marked his 30th goal of the season. It tied Mike Gartner for the most 30-goal seasons in a career. Both men have done it 17 times.

The only time in his career Ovechkin did not top 30 goals in a season was the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season. He scored 24 goals in 45 games.

But this performance was all about Hart, who is now 13-12-6 this season with a 2.91 goals against average and a .910 save percentage, the latter of which is in the top half of the NHL among goalies who have started at least 20 games:

With the win, the Flyers drew back to .500, as they are now 18-18-7 and people are starting to talk about them clawing back into the playoff race, now six points behind the Islanders for the final wild card spot.

While the Flyers have been playing really good hockey of late, and have a light part of their schedule coming up, it’s still really hard to imagine this group being able to sustain this kind of play for an extended period of time.

As Tortorella said after the game, the team is really cohesive right now, and that’s a good thing. It’s a really good thing. As I’ve written earlier, there’s a lot of good coming out of this first season under Tortorella. The players are buying into a system and playing a certain way that has them believing in themselves for the first time in a long while.

The Flyers have 19 games remaining before the trade deadline. And although those 19 kick off with a visit to Boston and facing that wagon, it does lighten up quickly (Anaheim, Chicago, Detroit) before it becomes a slog against playoff-caliber teams (Winnipeg twice, Seattle twice, Edmonton twice, Minnesota, LA, Calgary, New Jersey and both New York teams).

So, the gut feeling is they will still be sellers come March 3rd, but fans should at least enjoy this ride while it’s happening, even if it takes the Flyers further and further away from landing a top pick in the draft next season. There are a significant number of young players who are learning to play the right way, and that is only a benefit to an organization that has been tripping all over itself for years.