After missing four games with an apparent leg injury, Flyers goalie Brian Elliott looked sharp Tuesday in his first appearance in two weeks.
Elliott stopped 27 shots – including six in a dazzling overtime performance – as the Flyers rallied past Carolina, 2-1, and ended a four-game losing streak.
“He’s a great goalie, and just has that veteran presence in the room, too,” winger Jordan Weal said after Wednesday’s optional practice in Voorhees. “The things he says before the game just kind of calm the boys down and get us focused on the job at hand. He’s been a great addition for our team.”
Even though Elliott is in his first year with the Flyers, coach Dave Hakstol earlier in the week said the 32-year-old goalie was “one of the guys who controls the pulse of our team” with his play and leadership.
Weal, who on Tuesday scored the first overtime goal of his young career – he beat goalie Cam Ward with 3.1 seconds left – agreed with Hakstol’s assessment.
“He’s had a lot of success, and everyone has a lot of respect for him,” Weal said. “When he says something before the game — a reminder of what we have to do — everyone is listening. It’s great to have guys like that in your room, and then he goes out there and battles every night and everyone respects that. It’s great to see.”
Elliott will be in the nets Thursday when the Flyers (25-19-9) host Montreal (22-25-6), which is without star defenseman Shea Weber, sidelined with a foot injury. The Canadiens are 8-10-2 since Weber left the lineup.
“I feel good,” Elliott said. “Coming back from rehabbing a little bit, I think it gives you a little bit of a mental rest, too.”
Elliott has played in 39 of the Flyers’ 53 games. He is on pace to play in 60 games, which would top his career high of 55 set with Ottawa in 2009-10. The Ontario native has reached the 50-game mark just once in his career.
Being sidelined for two weeks “could be a little bit of a blessing in disguise to take a little bit [of time] off and then come back a little bit refreshed,” said Elliott, who has a 2.71 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. “I feel good going into this last little bit. We play a lot of games in a little bit of time, so we’re going to need everybody going [strong].”
The Flyers have 29 games left, including five sets of back-to-backs. Barring an injury, Elliott will get most of the remaining starts.
“We’ll really monitor how he’s feeling and where we’re at as a team and what’s best for that night,” Hakstol said. “Up to this point, Moose has handled the workload really well, and he’s communicated very well in terms of where he’s at.”
Because of the Eagles parade, the Flyers’ morning skate Thursday has been moved from the Wells Fargo Center to the Skate Zone in Voorhees at 10:30. The Canadiens changed their hotel – going from Center City to the airport – and canceled their morning skate because of the parade. … The Wells Fargo Center parking lot will open at 4:30 p.m. for those attending the game. … The Flyers, who hold the Eastern Conference’s top wild-card spot (barely), will play in Arizona on Saturday and in Las Vegas on Sunday.