Flyers

Brian Elliott is Flyers' finalist for 2019 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Brian Elliott is Flyers' finalist for 2019 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Brian Elliott is becoming a master in Masterton nominations.

The 33-year-old goaltender was chosen as the Flyers' 2019 finalist for the award that recognizes the one player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.”

The Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association voted Elliott as the nominee.

This season marks the fifth time in Elliott’s career he has been a representative for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy despite never winning the award. He was nominated four times during his five years with the St. Louis Blues.

“It’s definitely a meaningful award — your dedication to the game,” Elliott said. “I’ve always been a guy that just loves the game, loves to be at the rink and around the team. Whenever you get nominated for something like that, it’s definitely humbling.”

In his first season with the Flyers, Elliott suffered the first significant injury of his career during a game in Arizona on Feb. 10, 2018, extending his body to make a save. The injury required major surgery to repair the abdomen and core muscle area. Doctors realized Elliott also required hip surgery, but the Flyers' netminder postponed an additional surgery in an attempt to be ready for the playoffs. 

“He could have gone in and had them both fixed and been ready for September, but he wanted to play at the end of the year. Credit to him, he’s a high character guy and a battler,” former GM Ron Hextall said.

Once the Flyers were ousted in six games to the Penguins in the first round of the playoffs, Elliott had the second procedure — hip surgery — and proceeded to remain in Philadelphia throughout the offseason under the watchful eye of the Flyers' training staff. 

Elliott believed he had “turned the corner” this season before suffering a recurrence of his hip injury in a game against the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 15.

That setback forced him to miss another three months of action this season.

“It was definitely a test of your mind and trying to stay positive when you have some dark days, but that’s what the game is all about,” Elliott said. “You want to come back and have that drive and have that power, and execution that you had before the injury. It was such a challenge and when you can come out on the other side, either winning a game or overcoming an obstacle, I think that’s the biggest joy you can get out of it.”

Of the 31 team nominees, the PHWA will select three finalists who will attend the NHL’s awards ceremony in Las Vegas once the season has concluded when the winner will be announced.

The Flyers have had three players win the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy that has been awarded every season since 1968. 

Ian Laperriere was the last in 2011 after suffering post-concussion syndrome following a slap shot to the eye and face while blocking a shot.

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Subpar start leads to Flyers loss vs. Lightning but doesn't hurt spot in NHL playoff race

Subpar start leads to Flyers loss vs. Lightning but doesn't hurt spot in NHL playoff race

BOX SCORE

The Flyers didn't bring their A-game to a game they needed it.

There would be no giant killing Saturday as the Flyers lost to the Lightning, 5-3, at Amalie Arena.

Goals from Ivan Provorov, James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux weren't enough for the Flyers (32-20-7), who are 6-3-2 against the Bruins, Lightning, Capitals, Penguins and Blues, the league's top five clubs.

Tampa Bay is the only one the Flyers haven't beaten. They'll get a final crack at the Lightning on March 12 in the same building.

The Lightning (39-15-5) have won 10 straight games.

• This really wasn't a bad loss for the Flyers.

They were at the end of a road trip and playing the NHL's hottest team. Tampa Bay is 22-2-1 over its last 25 games and hasn't lost at home since Dec. 19.

The Flyers entered Saturday with a 66.9 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to Hockey-Reference.com, and still hold an Eastern Conference wild-card spot (see standings).

Alain Vigneault's team just needs to recharge and be ready for a big home-and-home set against the Blue Jackets next week.

• Things got chippy in the second period. Travis Konecny was right in the middle of it all.

Steven Stamkos appeared to trip Giroux before a faceoff. Giroux didn't even look to be that mad about it.

During the final 6:09 of the middle frame, 22 penalty minutes were accrued.

• Brayden Point (10-game point streak) is good at hockey.

• Carter Hart, who was coming off his first road victory since Nov. 10, allowed four goals on 23 shots.

The 21-year-old wasn't the problem.

The first goal was a fluky one by Alex Killorn. On the second, Provorov was sloppy with the puck in the defensive zone and Tampa Bay capitalized to take a 2-0 lead into first intermission.

In the middle stanza, the Lightning beat Hart on a 3-on-2 to grab a commanding 3-0 advantage. Tampa Bay improved to 33-4-3 when it scores three or more goals.

Not only are the Lightning really good, but the Flyers also didn't play their typical forechecking, possession-based game until it was too late.

• Outside of the van Riemsdyk's third-period goal, Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy was strong with 30 saves, 15 of which came in the final stanza. 

Vasilevskiy improved to 18-0-1 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .940 save percentage over his last 19 starts.

• Provorov was far from his best against Tampa Bay but he did score the Flyers' first goal to trim the Lightning's lead to 3-1 in the second period. He also had an assist.

The 23-year-old has grown into a power play quarterback this season. He leads all NHL defensemen with seven man advantage goals after scoring only two over his first three NHL seasons.

• Travis Sanheim played 19:43 minutes Saturday after missing almost the entire third period of Thursday's 6-2 win over the Panthers because of a lower-body issue.

• The Flyers are off Sunday, practice at 11:30 a.m. Monday in Voorhees, New Jersey and host the Blue Jackets Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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Flyers, Lightning have 4 p.m. start on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Flyers, Lightning have 4 p.m. start on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Saturday's game should be a good one.

The Flyers and Lightning are two of the hottest teams in the NHL. Since Jan. 8, the Flyers have the league's most goals (52) and only one team has more points (21) — the Lightning (27).

Tampa Bay is also on a nine-game winning streak and 21-2-1 over its last 24 games.

The big showdown comes a little earlier than usual. Puck drop will be shortly after 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, with Flyers Pregame Live set for 3:30 p.m. ET.

The matchup finishes off a three-game road trip for the Flyers, who then play four of their next five games at the Wells Fargo Center.

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