PITTSBURGH – You know that old cliché about getting right back up on the horse after a particularly bad experience?
Dave Hakstol doesn’t think there’s anything trite about it at all, at least not in Brian Elliott’s case.
Elliott got lit for five goals on just 19 shots in Wednesday night’s 7-0 Game 1 loss to the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena and certainly didn’t display the early-season form which made him so valuable to the Flyers.
But even though it doesn’t look like Elliott has completely regained his form from February core muscle surgery (he’s only played in three games in his comeback), Hakstol said in his post-game press conference that he might very well start Elliott in Game 2.
“It was a tough night, I left him in there,’’ Hakstol said. “I thought there were a lot of areas in his game where he was seeing the game. Battling hard.
“I just wanted to give him the opportunity to battle through.’’
Elliott is a leader on this team and to give him the hook so early in the series could be sending the wrong message.
“My first instinct is yeah (to bring him back),’’ Hakstol said. “It’s always different when you get into the playoffs.
“He’s our guy. He’s a huge reason why we were able to put ourselves in a position to be in the playoffs. His presence in the dressing room and the trust that we all have in him, that’s a pretty big factor.
“Right now, I don’t see a reason why we would go away from him.’’
While Elliott might not quite be as sharp as he would like, there’s no doubt he wants to get back in there for Game 2 and show that Game 1 was an aberration.
“It’s always hard when you miss a lot of time but everybody’s dealing with stuff at this time of year,’’ he said.
“They beat us in almost every aspect tonight, starting from the net out. Everybody has to be better.’’
Elliott is a vet and knows how to regroup.
“It’s a loss,’’ he said. “We have to come back here and try to get the next one. That’s the only way you can look at it. You can’t dwell on it.’’
If he gets a second chance, he hopes to make the most of it.
“Everybody wants to play better the next game,’’ he said. “Who is ever in or out, I’m sure will be giving it their all.’’