Flyers

Flyers mascot Gritty's top-10 moments from 2018

Flyers mascot Gritty's top-10 moments from 2018

It has been just three months and a week since Gritty, those googly eyes and that unkempt beard stormed into our lives.

Remember when just about everyone was wondering: Who is this terrifying muppet?

Silly us.

Slowly but surely, the orange fella captured the hearts of Philadelphia with his moxie and rambunctiousness, a don't-care-what-you-think-of-me attitude truly representative of the city's spirit.

The Flyers' mascot had a captivating 2018 and did so in fewer than 100 days.

Before we look forward to (and brace for) what Gritty has in store during 2019 (a scary but fun thought), let's look back at his top-10 moments from 2018.

10. Showing his grit

Gritty is always up on his skates when he takes the ice.

Like any player, the skating developed with time and didn't come without speed bumps.

But now, he's fearless.

From laying people out as Gritty Claus to clotheslining sumo wrestlers and keeping the kids hydrated, he's done it all.

9. 'Zamboni dust!'

Seeing snow for the first time is always a spectacle.

During a mid-November snowfall, Gritty couldn't get enough of it as he took a break from work to play in the "Zamboni dust."

Who knows how the Flyers got him to come back inside.

8. Halloween scare

Gritty fever was in full force when Halloween rolled around.

It even freaked out the poor guy for a brief moment.

But everyone embraced the grittiness on Halloween, even this adorable baby.

7. Gritty … from half court!

From the ice to the hardwood.

No big deal, Gritty just sinking half-court shots at college basketball games.

This is what the mascot does and you could tell by the look of his celebration.

Gritty seems like a stretch four.

6. Well, that's something …

"I'll do a Gritty tattoo?"

"What?"

"No, seriously."

That's probably the conversation had between people and tattoo artists as they sit down to discuss the decision of fresh ink.

More and more Gritty tattoos have begun to surface — he's had that type of impact.

Not to mention his own beer and all sorts of other products.

5. He came in like a wrecking ball

If Gritty didn't have the Delaware Valley won over yet, he accomplished it when he came floating down from the rafters to Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" before the Flyers' home opener.

Of course, he did.

4. Celebrity status

You knew Gritty was a star when he started appearing on national shows.

He's been on "Good Morning America," Jimmy Fallon's "The Tonight Show" and ESPN's "Always Late with Katie Nolan," while being impersonated on Conan O'Brien's "Team Coco" and featured on NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

3. A mascot of the people

The people believe in Gritty.

So much that they even voted for him in November. Yes, in Camden County, Gritty received 14 write-in votes, two of which came for county sheriff.

There's no denying that Gritty unifies people.

2. Did we just become best friends?

Sept. 29, 2018 — a monumental date.

The night Gritty met the Phillie Phanatic.

It was a sight to see. 

The Phillies tweeted "#BreakTheInternet" and the Flyers tweeted "name a more iconic duo."

A pretty good summation of a magical evening.

1. Gritty? Gritty!

The No. 1 moment: Gritty's introduction.

No one quite knew what to think Sept. 24 when he rocked the stage at the Please Touch Museum's Hamilton Hall.

Now, he has a top-10 moments from 2018.

What a ride.

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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.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers