This week Brian “The Moose” Elliot was awarded with the NHL’s 3rd star award after his strong 1st week of December in which he posted a 1.67 Goals Against Average and a shining .954 save percentage, backstopping the Flyers to a sweep of Western Canada, and a 3-0 record.
Elliot was a victim of circumstance for much of the Flyers 10 game losing streak, either playing relatively well and simply not getting the run support, or getting the Flyers into overtime only to be let down by the team in front of him either during the 3 on 3 session or the shootout. This week, the Flyers play finally caught up to Elliot’s, as he was a massive part of all three Flyers wins and their turnaround in general.
Elliot’s best game was probably his last, a 36 save performance in a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks, Elliot faced an onslaught for much of the contest, as the Flyers were outshot once again and were under siege for a few different segments of the game. Elliot stood tall and had the answer for all but one of the shots he faced. Elliot has gone largely unacknowledged in a year which the top line has taken center stage, but he has been pretty solid for the most part given the team in front him. Yes, a .912 save percentage and a 2.79 Goals Against Average are not the most dazzling stats in the world, but as was mentioned before, these numbers are put up in spite of the team in front of him being wildly inconsistent in their performances on a night to night basis, as well as the majority of the games he has started coming in a 10 game skid where 5 games went to overtime or shootout, AKA a goalie’s worst nightmare, which basically consists of a shooting gallery until someone gets a wide open chance, so I find it hard to judge a goalie’s play in the extra frame equal to the first 60 minutes, but that is a different issue entirely.
The point is, if you are looking to someone to blame for the Flyers tumultuous start to the year, Brian Elliot is the last one you should be pointing fingers at. He has never been known as a out-and-out starter, so expecting him to play 60+ games at an elite level is wishful thinking to say the least, he is playing the best he can right now, and has been good during a time where most of the Flyers have not been. And I think he should get a little more credit for that.