Brian Elliott will make his fourth start in goal in the last five games when the Flyers play the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.
The 34-year-old veteran has a 2.28 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage.
Elliott was named the NHL’s No. 3 star for games played last week. He went 3-0 (with one no-decision) in four games during the week, compiling a 2.02 GAA and a .933 save percentage.
Carter Hart has struggled in his last thee games; the 21-year-old goalie was pulled in the second period Sunday after allowing five goals on 14 shots in a 5-3 loss to the host Islanders.
Overall, Hart has a 3.32 goals-against average and an .862 save percentage. He had a 1.62 GAA in his first three starts this season and a 5.85 GAA in his last three, including two games in which he was yanked for Elliott.
“Carter’s fighting it a little bit right now, but he’s going to put in the time and put in the work, and we’ve got to focus on what we’ve got to do tonight with Brian in the net,” coach Alain Vigneault said after Tuesday’s morning skate.
In another change, defenseman Robert Hagg will return to the lineup Tuesday. Hagg sat out Sunday’s loss as Samuel Morin went into the lineup and looked rusty in his first appearance of the season. Morin will sit Tuesday.
“Our guys had a day off yesterday, and I’m real confident that we’re going to have good energy tonight and we’re going to come out a lot better than last game,” Vigneault said
Like the Flyers, the Penguins believe they could have more victories, but have lost a few games they believe they deserved to win.
“I think we’ve played better than the percentage we’re at,” said defenseman Kris Letang, whose Penguins are off to a 7-5 start. “We just didn’t score a lot of goals, but we’re generating lots of chances. ... I think we’ve played very good defensively as team. We’re competing in units of five out there; it’s not like one-on-one battles all over the ice.”
The Flyers (5-4-1) have said similar things, and the analytics support them. They are among the league’s best or at the top in several categories, including puck possession, expected goals, and shot attempts.
The Flyers have a staggering 14-3-3 record in Pittsburgh since they helped the Penguins open the building, now know as PPG Paints Arena, in 2010.
There’s been a pattern to the Flyers’ success and failure thus far. When they score first, they are 5-2, and they have averaged five goals during those victories, and they have averaged two goals in their five defeats. The Flyers are 0-2-1 when opponents score first.