It’s no secret Brian Elliott has had a shaky first round.
Although he was one of the best puck stoppers in the league during the final third of the season, Elliott has seemingly reverted back to his early season form, sporting an .887 save rate through the first three games. It’s no exaggeration to say the Flames could likely be up in the series if they had received even average goaltending so far.
If it feels like we’ve had this debate before, we have. After Elliott stumbled out of the gate in October, it became a question of whether Chad Johnson had usurped him as the Flames’ starter. Then we wondered if the team would bother to re-sign either of the current guys when it was still unclear who would be the starter.
The question was seemingly settled in February when Elliott re-took the net for the rest of the regular season. But here we are again.
While Elliott is clearly struggling right now, Chad Johnson isn’t necessarily a superior option. Not only is he coming off a groin injury, Johnson has only played three games since the end of February and sports a pretty ugly record against the Ducks during the regular season to boot (four games, one win, .875 SV%).
The other option is rookie Jon Gillies. Throwing the kid into an elimination situation for his second start in the NHL seems both desperate and cruel. That’s not going to happen.
So what you would do? Go back to Elliott, who was excellent in Game 1 and for the last 30 games of the season? Or give Johnson a chance to re-capture the magic from his November-December run?