Consider it the kid's first clunker.
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Carter Hart stomached the first benching of his NHL career Monday night as he lasted just 22:19 and the Flyers fell to the Hurricanes, 3-1, on New Year's Eve at PNC Arena.
The 20-year-old Hart had made 100 saves on 109 shots over his first four starts but permitted three goals on 10 shots to Carolina and the Flyers couldn't dig out of the hole.
Jakub Voracek scored the Flyers' only goal and it came in the third period.
For the second straight season, the Flyers are in last place of the Metropolitan Division entering New Year's Day.
Last season, they were 16-14-8 with 40 points and an even goal differential through 38 games. This season, the Flyers are 15-18-5 with 35 points and a minus-25 goal differential through 38 games.
The Hurricanes (16-17-5), who came in 3-8-2 with eight points since Nov. 30, took Game 1 of the four-game regular-season series with the Flyers.
• Hart, not looking sharp, was pulled by interim head coach Scott Gordon 2:19 into the second period after yielding a pair of goals.
Hart looked slow to react on both markers and the Flyers weren't great in front of him, either.
The Hurricanes scored just six seconds into the middle stanza after the Flyers actually won the period's opening faceoff. However, Travis Sanheim retreated for a brief second and it cost the Flyers as Jordan Martinook pounced on the puck, split the defensemen and beat Hart to give Carolina a 2-0 advantage.
Could Hart have stopped the shot? Sure, but the Flyers should not be burned down the middle after winning the neutral zone faceoff.
• A little over two minutes later, Hart was yanked when Andrei Svechnikov scored the Hurricanes' third goal on 10 shots. Radko Gudas attempted a stretch pass that was intercepted through the air by Clark Bishop, who quickly attacked the Flyers to create a 3-on-2 and found Svechnikov for the 3-0 lead.
Hart had been providing timely saves on visible, trackable shots. He simply didn't have that in his game Monday, and that's OK. Again, he's 20 years old.
• Hart hadn't allowed many soft goals this season but the one he gave up to Lucas Wallmark midway through the first period was more than stoppable.
Wallmark flung a relatively innocuous shot from straightaway with Gudas in coverage and no one near the net. It beat Hart top shelf on his glove side, almost taking him by surprise a bit.
Still, Hart has allowed just two first-period goals through five starts, which is a major positive. Prior to Monday, he had kept the team in games when things often snowballed on the Flyers before his arrival.
• To the Flyers' credit, they stayed out of the box, for the most part, allowing the Hurricanes just two power-play opportunities. However, the Flyers went 0 for 2 on the man advantage, which is 9 for 91 (9.9 percent) since Oct. 13.
Gordon may have to shake up personnel or positioning to somehow get the power play going.
• Michal Neuvirth took over for Hart and converted 23 saves. Gordon made the right call to pull Hart when he did because the Flyers were still in the game and it saved the rookie from a complete unraveling.
Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney made 22 stops and won his first game since Nov. 27.
• The Flyers are right back at it New Year's Day when they visit the Predators (8:30 p.m./NBCSP), who snapped a six-game losing streak Monday with a 6-3 win over the Capitals.
Tuesday's contest concludes a five-game road trip for the Flyers, who return to the Wells Fargo Center Thursday to again play the Hurricanes (7 p.m./NBCSP).
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