It’s safe to say the Philadelphia Flyers missed Brian Elliott.
The veteran netminder made his much-anticipated return to the crease Tuesday evening against the Carolina Hurricanes, stopping 27 of 28 shots in a 2-1 overtime victory.
The Flyers won the game on a Jordan Weal goal with just 3.1 seconds remaining, but it wouldn’t have been possible without an incredible sequence from netminder Elliott and captain Claude Giroux moments prior.
The two combined for one of the best defensive plays of the NHL season after Giroux turned the puck over at center and the Hurricanes broke in 2-on-1.
Jeff Skinner had his slapshot kicked away by the pad of Elliott before Jordan Staal followed up and shot the rebound towards a seemingly empty goal cage. Elliott was just able to reach back and get his paddle on the shot before Giroux used some incredible hand-eye coordination to knock the puck down out of the air. The play wasn’t over there, however, as Elliott found himself way out of position. After Skinner corralled the rebound on the backhand, Giroux then slid in front of the net to block the follow-up attempt and prevent the puck from crossing the line.
If the Flyers do happen to make the playoffs, this will be a sequence that won’t be forgotten.
Elliott may have got some help from Giroux on this play, but his performance against Carolina showed just how much the veteran means to the Flyers. The 32-year-old had won five of six games before getting injured and he wasted no time returning to form after getting back in the crease.
A buzzer-beating goal with 3.1 seconds remaining will make all the highlight packs, but Giroux and Elliott’s incredible defensive play is the real reason the game didn’t end in a fifth straight Philadelphia loss.