Flyers goalie Brian Elliott has outplayed Carter Hart | Five observations
Brian Elliott has looked sharper than Carter Hart so far, and four other takeaways.
Five observations from the Flyers’ surprisingly easy 6-2 win over gifted Vegas on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center:
1. An early-season surprise: Veteran goaltender Brian Elliott (2.55 GAA, .925 save percentage), who struggled during an injury-plagued year in 2018-19, has looked sharper than 21-year-old Carter Hart (2.59, .890).
Elliott stopped 33 of 35 shots Monday — he made several key saves with the Flyers holding just a 1-0 lead in the second period — and was arguably the team’s best player. He deserves to start Thursday in Chicago.
2. The Flyers’ second power-play unit has looked so good thus far that it’s tempting to call those players the first unit. It got goals from Travis Konecny and Matt Niskanen on Monday. Niskanen, acquired from Washington, has been especially effective, helping the second unit score five PP goals — three more than it had for the entire season last year. The first unit has three goals this season.
3. Center Misha Vorobyev and right winger Joel Farabee, recalled from the Phantoms on Sunday, played well in the win. Farabee had three shots in 14 minutes, 35 seconds and was lauded by coach Alain Vigneault for his defensive effort. Vorobyev, who centered the fourth line, had an assist and was plus-3, helping hard-working Michael Raffl have his best game of the young season.
A year ago, Vorobyev started strongly and then reverted to some lazy habits and was sent to the minors. We will find out if he has matured as a player this season.
The 19-year-old Farabee (born Feb. 25, 2000), by the way, became the first player born in the 2000s to play for the Flyers.
4. Left winger Oskar Lindblom has quietly been one of the Flyers’ best players in the first seven games. Playing in all situations Monday, he had a goal and an assist in 18:20, the most time of any Flyers forward. He already has four goals and six points.
5. Looking for the right combinations, Vigneault has continually juggled the lines in the first seven games. After Monday’s performance, he figures to stay with these units for a while — and the continuity will be good for the team.