Who could replace Frost and Myers? Elliott joins exclusive company after a shutout. 1/20/2021 edition of Philadelphia Flyers Phlight Deck.
After four games, the Philadelphia Flyers own a 3-1-0 record. They’ll take that on the road Thursday, heading into a four-game road trip. Following a turnaround on Tuesday versus the Buffalo Sabres, the Flyers travel to Boston without three players. Alain Vigneault adjusted the lineup well enough to secure a shutout victory with Brian Elliott in goal. Before they take on the Boston Bruins, let’s take a look at Philadelphia’s current standing in today’s Flyers Phlight Deck, brought to you by Philly Sports Network.
Four Flyers unfit to play
Currently, there are four players on Philadelphia’s roster that are marked as “unfit to play” in any capacity. Shayne Gostisbehere is still in the process of player safety protocol for COVID-19. Sean Couturier is within his two-week minimum timeframe due to a rib injury. Last night, Philippe Myers and Morgan Frost became additions to the “unfit to play” list. At the moment, the extent of their injuries and recovery time is yet to be confirmed.
Frost had earned a role with Philadelphia after a good training camp. Once Couturier was injured by Jared McCann on a clean hit into the boards, Vigneault originally placed Frost on the top line. Last night, in the second period, Jake McCabe placed a clean hit on Frost into the boards behind Carter Hutton. Frost got up to his feet, tucking his right arm to his stomach. He wouldn’t return to the game.
Earlier on, the young center attempted to check McCabe off the puck in the neutral zone. There may have been some accidental knee-to-knee contact. Myers’ left knee didn’t seem to be stable upon collision. Up to that point, Myers was playing a physical game. He wouldn’t return either.
Next Man Up
Context clues suggest that Myers could miss significant time. Unpacking the latest Flyers roster moves provides some clarity. Today, Philadelphia assigned Derrick Pouliot from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to the Flyers taxi squad. Nate Prosser was already with the group, and Mark Friedman was listed on the 23-man roster Tuesday night. Placing Pouliot on the taxi squad suggests a roster fill-in for an extended period while Myers recovers from his injury.
Connor Bunnaman is another player who already was listed on the 23-man roster Tuesday. He will likely be the next man up in place of Frost. Since Pouliot takes the available spot on the taxi squad, a betting man can put faith in Bunnaman playing versus the Bruins. Vigneault may keep most of the lines the same as he did when Frost entered the lineup. It’s possible Bunnaman plays on the second line, directly in place of Frost.
41 Shutouts for Flyers goalie Brian Elliott
Steady goaltending played a large role in Philadelphia’s rebound win. Carter Hart had the night off after a brutal Monday night. On Tuesday, it was Elliott’s time to shine. He proved why Chuck Fletcher made the right call on extending his contract during the offseason. Elliott, at 35-years-old, could be the best backup goaltender in the league.
Following the 3-0 victory, Elliott notched the 41st shutout of his career. Not bad for a goaltender who hadn’t played since August 30th, 2020. In 2019-2020, he notched two shutout victories (Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.) Elliott has always been a sure hand throughout his career against the Sabres. Throughout his career, Elliott is 14-2-2 against Buffalo.
His performance last night, saving forty shots in a shutout, puts him among four other Flyers goaltenders (Steve Mason, Martin Biron, Roman Cechmanek, Darren Jensen) to accomplish that feat since 1980.
NHL Player Safety
During the 6-1 loss on Monday to the Sabres, Nicolas Aube-Kubel had an ugly moment. He threw a punch at Rasmus Dahlin as he skated out of the neutral zone and into the offensive zone. The league fined him $4,633.62, which is the maximum allowable under the current CBA restructure. That ignited some bad blood between the two teams on Tuesday.
His fine is worth a mention because Brandon Montour did the same to Ivan Provorov. In the second period, Hutton had to be checked on by Buffalo’s training staff. Leading up to that moment, Philadelphia was crashing the net in the offensive zone. Montour hip checks Provorov into Hutton and the goal. Once Provorov was on the ground, in the netting, Montour followed through with a punch.
What Montour did is not any different from Aube-Kubel. The fine should be the same. Hutton finished the second period but would be replaced in the third by Jonas Johansson.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre