Hot and Cold Streaks
Hot Streak: Brian Elliott
With Carter Hart out due to a knee injury, Brian Elliott shouldered most of the workload in net. Against the New York Islanders on Sunday, Elliott remained extremely strong through regulation. With the game tied in the third period, he backstopped two penalty kills to force overtime. The only goal that got past Elliott took an unfortunate bounce off Travis Sanheim’s stick, making it impossible to predict and extremely difficult to stop.
Elliott’s second start came in the first game of the back-to-back against the New York Rangers. During the first period – in which the Flyers as a whole played horrendously – he negated the vast majority of the team’s errors and bought them time to pick up their performance. His 33 saves lifted the Flyers to a 3-2 win.
Together, those two starts constituted Elliott’s best two-game stretch of the season. Why was he so strong this week, of all weeks? Scheduling was likely a significant factor. Heading into Sunday’s game, Elliott’s last start had been on April 13th. And a three-day break, unusual in this condensed season, gave him extra rest before the game against the Rangers. When given sufficient time to recharge between starts, Elliott can be an excellent netminder – and he certainly played to that standard this week.
Cold Streak: Kevin Hayes
Kevin Hayes’s cold streak is an unfortunate dilemma. On one hand, he logged an assist in Thursday’s win against the Rangers, which is more than we’ve seen from many Flyers. But his four penalty minutes led the team this week (excluding Laughton’s five minutes for fighting). In Friday’s game, a hooking call against Hayes resulted in a Chris Kreider goal to give the Rangers the early lead. It was the only power-play goal scored against the Flyers this week.
Penalties aside, Hayes also hasn’t scored a goal in 13 games. The last time he scored a single goal was on March 29 against the Buffalo Sabres. In that regard, this isn’t just a cold streak that occurred this week. It’s a cold streak that’s been going on for a while and happened to continue into this week. Such a lack of offensive production – especially from a player who’s getting top-six minutes on a line with two fast, energetic young talents – is disappointing, to say the least.