No matter where the Flyers shot the puck, regardless how much they crashed the net or whether it was on the power play or even strength, Minnesota Wild goalie Brian Dubnyk doubled as a brick wall with 32 saves and posted his second straight shutout on Saturday night during a 1-0 victory.
The goalie at the other end of the ice was almost just as good.
While he allowed one goal, albeit a fluky one, none of the blame for the loss fell on Flyers netminder Brian Elliott’s shoulders. For nearly 60 minutes, he played his angles well, bailed out teammates and had 26 saves.
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“Yeah he’s been great making big saves at key moments,” Flyers center Sean Couturier said. “Tonight, it was a bad bounce behind the net and comes right back to their guy on the far side. So, we cannot be too worried about that one.”
It was the second straight strong performance of the season for Elliott. He stopped 38 shots on Thursday in a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks.
Easily his best game of the year, Elliott looked poised and confident.
“I felt good out there,” he said Thursday. “I thought we did a good job defensively. That allowed me to lock in on the puck. We took away lanes. Took away passes. That’s what you have to do with a team like that… move it around.”
It’s only been two games, but Elliott may be finally finding his groove after a rocky start to the season. Signed as a free agent this offseason to a two year, $5 million deal, he is supposed to serve as a stop-gap, with goalie Michal Neuvirth, until one of the organization’s prospects was ready to play in the NHL.
However, he had been mostly a disappointment through the first nine or so games. Often, it appeared Elliott was fighting the puck – and losing the battle.
Although he had a winning record, it was mostly on the heels of a good offense and failed to mask a goals against average north of three and a save percentage south of .900 – not exactly brag-worthy numbers.
With his latest outings, though, Elliott is now 6-4-1 with a 2.73 GAA and .908 save percentage.
“I mean you just try to get better every game,” said Elliott, who went 26-18-3 with a 2.55 GAA and .908 save percentage last season with the Flames. “I don’t analyze it like [if it’s my best game]. I’m not trying to compare myself to myself or anybody else right now.”
When the Flyers compare Elliott to himself, they can only hope that his last two games indicate he is trending in a positive direction.