What a couple of months it has been for the Flyers. The ups, the downs, and everything in between. Starting the season off on the right foot, albeit in Prague, then dropping four in a row to Western Conference foe. Riding through the lows of October, and coasting through November with a 10-2-4 record. The Flyers aren’t a roller coaster anymore, they’re an enigma.
While the team as a whole struggled early on, a lot of the fault lies with goaltending. Carter Hart started hot, but laid a few eggs along the way. Brian Elliott was tasked with filling in, but struggled as well.
November proved to be a totally different story in terms of goaltending. Hart and Elliott were solid in net, giving the Flyers a chance in nearly every game they played in. Let’s dive in and take a look at both months.
Carter Hart came into 2019 looking to build on a solid campaign in 2018/19. Hart started the year out looking solid, but his numbers started slipping after his third start of the season. Four straight losses, one in overtime, and never eclipsing a .900 in save percentage during that span. Hart was having a rough go of things.
Hart posted a 2-3-1 record in October. His 3.31 goals against average was bad, but his .864 save percentage was worse. Out of the 7 games he played in, he was pulled twice: once against the Edmonton Oilers on October 16, and another time against the New York Islanders on the 27th. October was a month to forget for Carter Hart.
Elliott was another case of a goalie who wasn’t having the greatest month. It wasn’t as bad as Hart, but didn’t exactly inspire a ton of confidence in net for the Flyers. Elliott was only pulled once, during that atrocity of a game in Pittsburgh. His numbers weren’t glaring, but they were better than those of Carter Hart.
Elliott’s .903 save percentage was average-at-best. His 3.10 goals against average was bad. his 3-2-0 record was ok, but left more to be desired. The two games he spelled Hart in relief were a mixed bag. Against the Oilers, he came in and allowed two goals on eight shots, posting a .750 save percentage, statistically his worst outing of the month. He relieved Hart against the Islanders later on, and stopped all 19 shots he faced.
Altogether, the record reflects the play of these goalies. The Flyers were 5-5-1 during the month of October, and got a combined .887 save percentage and 3.10 goals against average out of Hart and Elliott.
Hart rattled off four wins in a row for the Flyers to start the month of November. He allowed only eight goals in those four games, and his save percentage lingered just under .930 for those four games. He followed that up with a shootout loss to the Washington Capitals. where he stopped 35 of 36 shots, excluding the shootout.
After the Washington game, Hart dropped two in regulation, looking like his October form. He was pulled against the Florida Panthers after allowing four goals on 18 shots. How did Hart respond? By rattling off two consecutive wins and allowing only one goal per game against Vancouver and Detroit.
Overall, Carter posted a 6-2-2 record during November, and upped his save percentage to a solid .927 for the month. His goals against average nearly shrunk in half, posting a 1.95 GAA. Much better than the previous month.
Elliott rounded a corner in November as well. Arguably, Elliott didn’t have a bad game all month. One game with a save percentage under .900, but he kept the Flyers in that game against Toronto until falling in a shootout. Every other start he posted a save percentage over .900 and never allowed over three goals per game.
Elliott posted a 4-0-2 record in the month of November, improving his overall record to 7-2-2. His .926 save percentage trailed Hart by the slimmest of margins, and his 2.38 goals against average was pretty solid, especially for a backup goalie, right?
Elliott and Hart combined for a 10-2-4 record in November, leading the Flyers to their best month of November since 1990. The tandem combined for a .927 save percentage and a 2.12 goals against average. Save percentage combined was a .040 improvement from October, and goals against was a .98 improvement from the previous month.
The Flyers goaltenders are finding ways to keep this team in games. While the offense sputters, the guy in the crease is making saves to keep them in the game. No matter who is in net, the Flyers seem to be rallying behind this solid goaltending. If they can continue this momentum looking forward, we could be looking at a truly solid tandem, and maybe another contract for Brian Elliott.
Mandatory Credit – James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports