CALGARY, Alberta — It’s a small sample size, but in the first three games of the season, seven of the Flyers’ 10 goals have been scored by players ages 23 and under.
Add the strong play from goalie Carter Hart, 21, and it’s clear that the kids have triggered the Flyers’ solid start.
On Tuesday in Calgary, however, they will turn to their oldest player, 34-year-old goalie Brian Elliott, to help keep their point streak alive. The Flyers (2-0-1) will try to start the season with points in their first four games for the first time since 2011-12, when they began the campaign 4-0-1.
Elliott will get his first start of the season, facing his former team, the 2-3-1 Flames.
“We have lots of confidence in both of our goalies,” captain Claude Giroux said.
Elliott was plagued by injuries last season and was limited to just 26 games during the Year of Eight Goalies. Now he’s healthy and wants to show the Flyers’ belief in him -- they signed him to a one-year deal at $2 million -- was justified.
Because he now feels like himself, Elliott said this year’s training camp was much different than the previous season’s.
“It’s definitely a different feeling than last year,” said Elliott, who had just a 2.96 goals-against average and .907 save percentage last season. “I definitely feel like I have an opportunity to help the team win a lot of games.”
The youngsters, meanwhile, are blossoming, and that bodes well for when Giroux, James van Riemsdyk, and Jake Voracek start scoring. The three veterans head into Tuesday’s game looking for their first goals of the season, and they have combined for just one point, an assist from Giroux.
No matter. The Flyers have earned five out of a possible six points. Credit their start to Travis Konecny (three goals, six points), Oskar Lindblom (two goals, three points) and Ivan Provorov (goal, two assists), and secondary scoring, including two goals from the second power-play unit.
But, mostly, credit Hart and a defense that has been aided by newcomers Justin Braun and Matt Niskanen.
Hart (1.62 goals-against average, .938 save percentage) has been the driving force, but he will hand the keys to Elliott on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Hart will get his first NHL start in Edmonton, which is near his hometown of Sherwood Park, Alberta.
Elliott will face a Calgary team playing its first game after a 1-2 road trip, including Sunday’s 3-1 loss in San Jose.
Flyers coach Alain Vigneault has deep respect for the Flames.
“I watched their game [against San Jose], and part of their game against Vegas [a 6-2 loss], and they have a lot of skill,” Vigneault said. “They have some good speed and skill. They’re probably one of the teams in the league that has their D’s really involved in the rush. It’s always a four-man rush, so we’re going to have to be really good on our rush reads coming back into our zone, and without a doubt, we’re going to have to play smart against that high-end skill.”