If you were trying to pinpoint the cause of the Ottawa Senators' eleven game win streak, it wouldn't take you long to credit the goaltending. Mike Brodeur kicked it all off by posting a shutout against the Rangers and leading the Senators over the Habs, but since then it's been all Brian Elliott. Elliott has only allowed 11 goals in the 9 games that make up his portion of the streak, which is all kinds of absurd when you consider that the day the winning streak started I questioned if Brian Elliott and Pascal Leclaire were the worst Senators goalie tandem ever. Oops.
At the time I posted the article -- January 14 -- such criticism of Elliott was warranted. He had a save percentage of .893, which was 45th in the league. His goals against average was 2.91. His performance, at that time, was nowhere near acceptable for an NHL goaltender.
Fast forward to now, and look at the change that an incredible hot streak in net can make in one man's stats:
|Elliott (Jan. 14)||2.91||.893
|Elliott (Feb. 5)||2.43||.913
His play has been so solid over the last 9 games that it managed to erase the embarrassing stats in his first 25. Elliott's save percentage is now above that of Marc-Andre Fleury, Jonathan Quick, Carey Price, Chris Mason, and many, many others. His goals against average is also ranked 13th in the league.
I know that Elliott is going to come back down to earth at some point, but the guy needs to get some recognition for his incredible play as of late. He has given the Senators the unexpected opportunity to seize home ice for the playoffs, and he has given Sens fans a run of goaltending they are unlikely to see again for a very, very long time.