When the Flyers signed Brian Elliott as a free agent in the offseason, the plan was for him to divide the goaltending duties with Michal Neuvirth.
Instead, he has been a workhorse.
Even before Neuvirth suffered an injury last week, Elliott was getting most of the playing time. He made his fifth straight start Tuesday against Toronto and his 22nd start in 30 games this season.
“I’ve always said when you get an opportunity in this league, you have to take advantage of it,” Elliott said before the game. “I just try to be the best I can for the guys and give them a chance. That’s what our job is and they do the rest of the work.”
With Elliott leading the way, the Flyers swept all three games in Western Canada last week. He had a 1.67 goals-against average and a .954 save percentage in those games and was named the NHL’s No. 3 star of the week.
Before Tuesday’s game, Elliott was asked if he felt as locked in as he did in some of his great seasons with St. Louis.
“It’s a constant process of just trying to keep mentally sharp and physically ready,” said Elliott, a soft-spoken, analytical sort. “You have your ups and downs through the season. Period to period and shot to shot, you have to battle mentally — and that’s what’s fun about the goaltending position. You have to keep pressing and you can’t rest on anything.”
Added Elliott, who registered his 200th career win Thursday in Vancouver: “I pride myself on trying to work hard to keep pressing on, and when the guys are playing as good as they have of late, it makes it a little easier.”
Winger Travis Konecny was dropped to the fourth line, and Jordan Weal moved up to the third line. Konecny entered the night with one goal in his last 19 games.
After serving a 10-game suspension, Radko Gudas returned to the lineup Tuesday and was paired with Travis Sanheim. The Flyers were 3-3-4 during Gudas’ suspension.
Toronto star center Auston Matthews missed the game with what is believed to be a head injury. … Michael Raffl is the eighth player in Flyers history to have game-winning goals in three straight games. … Ivan Provorov averaged 24:57 of ice time (16th in the league) in the first 29 games. He has played more this season than any NHL player under 22. … Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk, a former Flyer, took a team-high 14 goals into the game. … Zarley Zalapski, a puck-moving defenseman who played 12 games with the Flyers in 1999-2000, died at age 49. He played with five teams over 12 years.