Flyers help Brian Elliott celebrate his 500th NHL game

Kevin Hayes wears special shirt to honor Brian Elliott's 500th NHL game.

Kevin Hayes competed in his 500th NHL game the other night and for a “skating’’ player, that’s a pretty significant milestone.

Tuesday night, it was Brian Elliott’s turn to hit the five-century mark, but with one significant difference.

He’s a goaltender, the most demanding position in hockey.

It’s safe to say, Elliott’s teammates were quite aware of the landmark game because they all wore “Moose’’ shirts around the locker room prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center.

“Moose is an ultimate teammate,’’ Hayes said in a pre-game media Zoom call. “He’s a guy who speaks up when he has to. He’s also a guy who goes about his business, too.’’

Elliott, 36, was a ninth-round draft pick (291st overall) of the Ottawa Senators in 2003 after a distinguished career at the University of Wisconsin.

For his NHL career, Elliott has compiled some impressive numbers, including a record of 453-254-49 (nearly 200 games over .500), with a 2.53 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.

In his four years with the Flyers, Elliott is 63-37-14 with a 2.85 GAA and .903 SP.

“He works hard without saying anything,’’ Hayes noted. “He’s been around this league for a long time. There’s a reason for it. Goalie’s a tough position to make a long career out of. There’s only been a few guys.’’

Elliott’s best year was the 2011-12 season. While with the St. Louis Blues, he won the Jennings Trophy and led the league in two important categories: GAA – 1.56 and SP — .940.

“In order for him to accomplish 500 games, it’s incredible,’’ Hayes said. “He’s a great leader for our team, a great leader for Carter (Hart). I don’t know who put these shirts together but I’m sure he’s pretty excited about it.’’

Added coach Alain Vigneault: “Five hundred games, that’s quite an accomplishment. We’re going to play a real good game in front of him tonight.’’

>Wilson tactics discussed

Both Hayes and Vigneault were asked about the attack Washington’s Tom Wilson made on the Rangers’ Artemi Panarin on Monday night.

Wilson also punched Pavel Buchnevich when he was on the ice. The NHL chose to only fine Wilson ($5,000) rather than add to an already hefty suspension list.

And, oh, by the way, the Flyers play the Capitals in D.C. on Friday and Saturday.

“A lot of guys have been talking about it,’’ Hayes said. “I didn’t see it. But if we have media (call) the next time, I’ll watch it for you.’’

Vigneault is aware of Wilson’s history.

“A lot of stuff can happen on the ice,’’ Vigneault said. “A player like Wilson going after a player like Panarin and taking him down in the manner that he did, no helmet, could have hit his head on the ice there. It could have been serious, the league decided otherwise.

“I’ll let the league handle that. I’ve got enough of my issues here in Philly.’’

>Confidence with Lyon’

Alex Lyon’s performance in Monday night’s game might have been the best of his brief NHL career. Vigneault was asked if the Flyers have faith in the young goaltender.

“Stopping the puck is what gives coaches and teammates (confidence),’’ Vigneault said. “When a goaltender performs the way Alex did, the players in front of him will play better.

“They know if they make a mistake, it’s not in the back of the net, then they can go out and play with a little more confidence. . .try and make plays. If they know their goalie has their back the way Alex did, that was a big part of us getting the win.’’


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About Wayne Fish 2444 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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