While Hart is in his first playoffs, Brian Elliott will be right behind to help the Flyers young goaltender.
Having a solid tandem you can rely on is going to be a huge bonus heading into these playoffs. It’s a much different circumstance than before. The long layoff and how teams can develop chemistry again will factor in. The Flyers have two solid goaltenders that have been able to get the job done.
And if both goaltenders are able to find the same groove they had this season, than the Flyers will already have an advantage.
Elliott has appeared in 45 career playoff games. While he has only won 16 of them, his numbers are decently solid. He’s posted a 2.76 GAA and a .903 SV% over seven different stints in the playoffs.
He hasn’t appeared to be a starter in most of them. His 18 games during the 2016 playoffs are the most he’s appeared in. That came with the Blues where he won nine of those appearances. He posted his best playoff numbers that year.
But even if his numbers aren’t impressive, he still has the experience of what the postseason is like. Things are different when it comes to the playoffs. And that’s something Hart will learn once they begin in late July.
Having Elliott to lean on can only help Hart moving forward. And it gives the Flyers a veteran to lean on if Hart does falter.
For Alain Vigneault, the plan going into the season was to try and split the goaltending duties as much as he could. And then as the team headed towards the postseason, it was likely that Hart would begin picking up the bulk of the work.
And that is exactly what happened. Hart picked up most of the play on home ice and was beginning to get more road work as well. It was all to get him ready for his first postseason action.
The team is confident in both of their goaltenders going in. Hart showed improvement this season and Elliott was able to stay healthy and win a few big games.
The partnership between the two and the confidence the team has in them is key to their success. Especially with the long layoff they have seen. They have been able to form that bond over the two seasons that Hart has been in the NHL.
And Elliott has seemingly understood that his days as a starter are likely over. He is there to support and help Hart out along the way.
Elliott will be ready if the Flyers need him. He will likely get time during the exhibition game and possibly even round-robin. But this is Hart’s time to lead the way.
There’s no doubt that Elliott will be there to cheer him on as well.