PITTSBURGH -- It’s a small sample size, but Flyers backup goalie Martin Jones has made a strong early impression with his new team.
Two games. Two wins. Two very good outings.
Jones, 31, has beaten Boston and Vancouver and compiled a 2.01 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage.
“It’s always important to get off to a good start, and you want to make a good impression for your new team and instill some confidence in them that I’ll get the job done as well,” Jones said before the Flyers dropped a 3-2 overtime decision Thursday to the Penguins in Pittsburgh. “It’s a good start. The boys are playing really well and we’re going to look to keep getting better.”
Carter Hart made 33 saves against the Penguins. Jones will get the call Saturday in Washington, where he will get perhaps his toughest challenge of the young season against a Capitals team led by a scoring machine named Alex Ovechkin, who leads the NHL with 10 goals.
Jones is coming off three less-than-stellar seasons in San Jose, where he had an .896 save percentage in each of those years.
A free-agent signee, he has worked with goaltender coach Kim Dillabaugh and made a few adjustments, such as “structure stuff and positional stuff. It’s not like I reinvented the wheel or anything like that.”
“For me, it’s a fresh start in my game here,” Jones said. “There are some things in my game that I’ve tidied up a little bit. I’ve played a lot of hockey the last five, six years, and sometimes you can get in bad habits when you’re not getting that detailed practice time — like I’ve been able to get in the last little bit.”
Right winger Travis Konecny likes what he has seen from the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Jones.
“I think a perfect example of how he’s played was in Vancouver,” Konecny said, referring to a 2-1 win. “He was all over the place, standing on his head to keep us in the lead. ... He comes in and practices hard and does an awesome job with Hartsy. They complement and push each other, so it’s all good.”
After being a No. 1 goalie in most of his career, Jones is getting acclimated to being a No. 2.
“It’s an adjustment, for sure,” he said, adding his relationship with Hart couldn’t be better. “For me, it’s all about taking advantage of that extra practice time and making sure you’re staying sharp. I’ve been through it earlier in my career. I didn’t play a ton in my first few years behind Quickie [Jonathan Quick of the Kings], so I’ve been through it.”