Flames’ Elliott ‘still can’t explain’ soft opening goal in Game 4 loss
Brian Elliott’s night didn’t last long. The same is true for the Flames’ foray into the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Needing a win Wednesday to stave off elimination and a first-round sweep against the Anaheim Ducks, Elliott got the start but was pulled less than six minutes in after allowing a bad goal from Patrick Eaves, giving the visitors an early lead.
Speaking to reporters after the game, a 3-1 Flames loss, ending their season, Calgary’s coach Glen Gulutzan admitted he didn’t like the goal Elliott gave up and that he felt his team at that time “needed a spark.”
Gulutzan certainly didn’t waste any time making his decision to pull Elliott.
Chad Johnson entered the game and was promptly scored on. The Flames, meanwhile, were only able to get one by Ducks goalie John Gibson, who redeemed himself after a shaky outing in Game 3.
“As a goalie you take pride in giving yourself and your team a chance to win every night and that, off the bat, I still can’t explain how it goes under my pad there,” said Elliott, per the Calgary Herald.
“I feel bad. I didn’t give our guys a chance right off the bat. It was definitely a short leash – I’m not saying I deserve a longer one after that. It’s tough when you can’t go out and redeem yourself, but the guys went out and did a great job trying to come back. They put it all out there, I’m definitely proud of them.”
That same column also strongly suggested -- or stated outright -- that the 32-year-old Elliott’s time with the Flames is done after one season.
Acquired last summer from St. Louis, Elliott is a pending unrestricted free agent, per CapFriendly, at the end of a three-year, $7.5 million contract he signed while with the Blues.
He was streaky at times during the season, but ultimately struggled in the latter half of this series, particularly in a Game 3 Flames collapse, before getting the hook after just three shots faced Wednesday.