Watching Brian Elliott between the pipes can certainly get the heart beating, and it certainly has through the first week of the season as Flyers fans are experiencing life with Elliott for the first time.
The up-and-down play, and not just game-to-game but period-to-period, shot-to-shot, is exactly who he is. This is why he, over a course of 82 games, is typically as consistent as they come because with the good comes the bad, and it never wavers too far one way or the other.
I’ve been asked many times already about my thoughts on Elliott and if his erratic (at least what it seems to be from the eye of the viewer) style can work in Philadelphia. My advice: just let it play out because that’s who he is and in the end, it’ll all work out.
See, Elliott’s splits over a season are amazingly similar. His career GAA per month over his career are as follows:
His save percentage differ slightly but nothing too noteworthy, never falling outside .905-.921.
Yet, when you look at his game-by-game splits, it’s completely up and down. One game he’ll give up six, the next two. After that, he’ll have a pair of two goal games followed by four and five, respectively.
Briefly, Flyers fans have already seen this phenomenon. Elliott gave up six goals in his last start after allowing just two and three in the two games prior.
Last season, for example, his goals allowed over the first 10 games went 6, 4, 4, 2, 1, 2, 2, 4, 5, 3. That’s a 3.30 GAA. His next 10 games went 4, 4, 2, 1, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 4. That’s a 2.40 GAA with nearly a full goal allowed differential.
It’s like that one episode of Seinfeld where Jerry is convinced he is the epitome of ‘Even Steven.’ In this case, Brian Elliott always breaks even.
When combining him with someone like Michal Neuvirth, who tends to go on a few different runs per season in which he looks as locked in as any goalie in the league, the Flyers should have a reliable tandem barring health.
The ‘holding your breath every shot’ with Elliott not make Flyers fans too comfortable on a night-to-night basis, but in the end, remember, it’ll all even out.