The resurgent Philadelphia Flyers are flying high once again. After defeating the Arizona Coyotes and the Las Vegas Golden Knights. They’re riding a five game winning streak. Let me say it again a five game winning streak. It’s as easy as, “A-B-C, 1,2,3,” from the hit song of the Jackson Five. Just who is the catalyst behind the orange and black’s recent success? How about goaltenders Brian Elliott, and Michal Neuvirth.
Last week, as Elliott returned from injury he was rock solid. He faced a total of 83 shots, while saving 76. Elliott’s combined GAA for the week before getting injured on Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes was a 2.75. Let’s not forget that he stole the orange and black two points against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. Elliott stood on his head for the majority of the game while facing 28 shots, while saving 27 for the 2-1 overtime win.
“Yeah, all the help we can get. If we keep taking care of our business, there’s going to be nights where things are going to happen for us too on the other side of it,“ Elliott stated following the 5-3 win on Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens. “It’s good, but a lot of hockey left. If we keep packing on the two points, we’ll put ourselves in a good spot.”
Elliott is just one main reason why the Flyers currently sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 65 points, and just one point from their rivals in the second place Pittsburgh Penguins. Of course, with some highs there are some lows. Unfortunately, Elliott sustained what appeared to be a groin injury following the game on Saturday night against the Coyotes. However, it didn’t faze the Flyers, nor Neuvirth who came in solidly in relief of Elliott during the shootout. Like all season long the goaltending tandem of Elliott and Neuvirth was there to save the day, and rescued the orange and black from a possible defeat to the NHL’s worst team in the Coyotes. Only one question remains. Can Neuvirth shoulder the load in Elliott’s absence?
Neuvirth signed a two-year deal to stay with the Flyers last season at the trade deadline. The Flyers hoped he could get back to his old form of the 2015-16 playoffs, where he finished with a 2-1 record, .67 GAA, and a .981 Save Percentage. Well, good news for the orange and black he was light’s out this past weekend. Neuvirth is proving he is more than capable of shouldering the load until Elliott returns from injury. He came off the bench to backstop five shootout attempts in the 4-3 shootout victory against the Coyotes, and the next night Neuvirth saved 38 shots in the 4-1 victory over the best team in hockey the Las Vegas Golden Knights. For the season, Neuvirth has a 7-7-2 record, 2.50 GAA, and a .917 Save Percentage. It’s been a pretty stellar 2017-18 campaign for Neuvirth, with the exception of missing two weeks with a leg injury.
The 29 year old netminder in Neuvirth has shown he can handle the pressure, when healthy. His career playoff stats are one indication of such. Neuvirth owns a 6-6 record, 1.93 GAA, and a .933 GAA in 13 career playoff games. He was given an extension by the Flyers to handle moments like these, and Neuvirth is out to prove his doubters wrong. One thing is certain Flyers fans, the future is bright in Flyer land.