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January 24, 2024

Flyers ready to go the long haul with Samuel Ersson in goal

With Carter Hart taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team, the Flyers have "all the confidence" that Samuel Ersson can keep carrying them forward in goal.

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Samuel-Ersson-Flyers-Stars-1.18.24-NHL.jpg Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

The Flyers have full confidence in Samuel Ersson.

The Flyers' net is suddenly Samuel Ersson's alone, at least for the time being. 

With Carter Hart having been announced to be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team prior to Tuesday night's 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay, Ersson has been left with an opportunity to take greater charge in goal, and the Flyers – still very much in the developing playoff picture even after dropping three straight – have the confidence that he will. 

"Sam's been playing great for us," winger Cam Atkinson said from the locker room postgame Tuesday night. "Have all the confidence in Sam. He's been playing great as of late, and we're going to need him to continue."

Before the past couple of games, the 24-year-old netminder out of Sweden definitely has been playing with the hotter hand.

Since a rough start to the season culminated in a 2-1 Flyers loss to the lowly San Jose Sharks back on November 7, Ersson turned things around quickly and went on a tear, registering an 11-2-2 record and a .931 save percentage in the 15 starts that followed leading into the weekend back-to-back. The stretch also included three shutouts, which are tied for the fourth-most in the NHL so far this season, and with the latest of them being a 2-0, 35-save blanking of the Western Conference juggernaut Winnipeg Jets on January 13

The past three games – two of them Ersson starts and all jammed within four days – have been a setback for the Flyers for a variety of reasons ranging from defensive breakdowns to tired legs and just running into more experienced, star-powered opponents. But with the recent body of work, Ersson has been stellar and has, at minimum, given the Flyers a chance from night to night when he's in. 

Flyers-Jets-Sam-Ersson-Save-1.13.2024-NHL.jpgJames Carey Lauder/USA TODAY Sports

Samuel Ersson shut out one of the West's top teams with the Flyers' 2-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets on January 13.

That's built trust with head coach John Tortorella, who had moved to splitting the starts between Ersson and Hart ever since Hart returned from issues with a lingering illness on December 22, and among teammates too. 

"We obviously have full faith in Sammy," center Morgan Frost said after Tuesday night's loss to the Lightning. "He's played really good this year, and yeah, I think he kinda got a little unlucky tonight with some of their power play chances."

But they're pushing forward. 

Players were reluctant to comment on Hart's leave following Tuesday night's game, and the organization on the whole said it would have no further comment on the matter for the time being, per general manager Danny Brière's statement

It's Ersson's net now looking ahead, and there's little time to stop and think with the Red Wings up next in Detroit on Thursday night to continue what could stand as a pivotal week in the Flyers' season

"It sucks, but we have full confidence in Ersson," defenseman Cam York said of the situation. "We know he's gonna do the job for us."

"I'll just do my thing," Ersson said. "Like I said all year, I'm ready whenever they call upon my name to go in and play. That's all I can think about."

MORE: Flyers get reality check, drop third straight to Lightning

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