After three-month recovery, Elliott getting close to return

Brian Elliott

VOORHEES – The word “streaky’’ doesn’t begin to describe the Flyers’ play over the past few seasons.

During the 2016-17 campaign, they became the first NHL team to win 10 straight games and not make the playoffs.

In the 2017-18 slate, they went winless in 10 games (0-5-5) and still reached the postseason.

This season, they’ve already gone through an eight-game (0-6-2) winless streak and followed that up with a current seven-game winning streak.

Crazy, right?

And both of this year’s streaks have come without starting goaltender Brian Elliott, who’s been sidelined since Nov. 15 with a lower-body injury.

Elliott is finally getting close to coming back. He’s been taking shots in practice and the timeframe, according to general manager Chuck Fletcher, is about another week or two until game action sounds like a possibility.

But what’s the rush? With Carter Hart (who just won NHL rookie of the month for January) playing so well, there doesn’t seem to be any pressure for Elliott’s return.

That wasn’t the case at the end of last season when Elliott was trying to come back from a groin injury suffered on Feb. 10 in Arizona. Elliott kind of hurried back and really wasn’t himself in a first-round playoff loss to Pittsburgh.

This time he can kind of ease his way back into the lineup.

“I feel good,’’ he said after Sunday’s optional practice at the Skate Zone. “I’m taking a lot of shots, it’s just tough in the regular season to get in those practices.

“You think you’re going to get a practice and then you get a day off. There’s little things like that which throw wrenches into the system. You just have to adjust. . .our goalie drills are really to recreate what you’re going to see in a game.’’

Health is the key. Elliott, who is finishing up a two-year contract, doesn’t want to risk reinjury.

“You want to get back in there as fast as you can,’’ he said. “That’s what is tough about the situation. You have to be safe about it so you don’t have any hiccups along the way. You have that internal pressure, it’s not really external.’’

Elliott has been impressed by the play of the 20-year-old Hart.

“He lets the play come to him,’’ Elliott said. “When you’re feeling it and winning games, you stay a little bit more patient. He’s been able to settle in a little bit. He lets the game come to him and basically that’s what every goalie wants.’’

 

>Short shots

 

By scoring six power-play goals in two games, the Flyers have gone from 31st to 24th in NHL rankings. . .Coach Scott Gordon announced Hart will start in goal on Monday night vs. Vancouver and Anthony Stolarz will play against Los Angeles on Thursday. The Flyers play 13 games in 28 days in February and Gordon does not want to overload Hart’s playing time. . .Gordon, who hails from the Boston area, was asked for his rooting interest in the Super Bowl. Well, it has to be the Patriots, right? “We (Boston) haven’t won a championship in, what, three months?’’

Wayne Fish
About Wayne Fish 1091 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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