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Brian Elliott stands out for surging Flames

Goaltender big reason for Calgary's 10-game winning streak

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

CALGARY -- The numbers depicting Brian Elliott's midseason turnaround are telling. But Elliott, the goaltender who has helped push the Calgary Flames to a 10-game winning streak, tying the Flames record, isn't concerning himself with goals against or save percentage.

He's fixated solely on one metric.

"The wins," Elliott said. "That's the only number you're really caring about. You don't look at the numbers. If I did earlier in the season I'd probably be cowering in the corner. It's just focusing on having a good practice and building from there. It's really just the final three seconds and you're up a goal and up a couple goals. That's when you have the most fun as a goalie.

"That's what you're really focusing on, that end result."

Elliott, traded from the St. Louis Blues on June 24, had a 9-12-2 record with a 2.88 goals-against average and .892 save percentage in 23 games prior to the All-Star break, with Chad Johnson getting 30 starts to Elliott's 22.

"He had a lot going on for him at the beginning of the season," said forward Troy Brouwer, a teammate of Elliott's with the Blues last season. "A lot of change for him. Sometimes that can be difficult to adjust to.

"You see him just settling in now, getting into a rhythm, seeing the puck well, tracking the puck well, and all that brings confidence. Whenever you're winning games and your team is winning games your confidence is going to go up.

"You see that with him right now."

The numbers back that up.

Since the break, Elliott is 12-1-1 with a 1.93 GAA and .935 save percentage and has reclaimed the starting job.

Video: PIT@CGY: Elliott snags Dumoulin's blistering slapper

"He's playing with confidence and it's making a difference in our game too," forward Alex Chiasson said. "He's a guy if you watch in practice he's really hard to score on. Every shot he tries to not let it in. He practices really hard. I think that's what makes him really good, that he's really competitive. I think he had some time to regroup maybe, get away, and now he's back in his mojo of playing really well.

"I think that swagger helps him be an impact player on our team."

Elliott says nothing has changed in his approach.

"I don't think my focus changes," he said. "I think what I'm focused on right now is trying to stay [at] that even keel whether you're up or down. You just try to play that same way and have that swagger of a confident team. That's what I've been trying to do personally.

"I think guys just feed off each other in the dressing room here."

That seems to have been the case with the Flames. Calgary's 10th straight win came when they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in a shootout at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday. The streak matches the Atlanta Flames' run from Oct. 14-Nov. 3, 1978, and has helped move Calgary into a tie for second in the Pacific Division with the Anaheim Ducks at 82 points.

Video: PIT@CGY: Elliott seals SO win with pad save on Kessel

Elliott has a 1.74 GAA, .943 save percentage and nine wins during the run.

"It's kind of a building all year of everybody playing together as a unit of five, unit of six out there," Elliott said. "Whenever everybody's coming back and working for each other it opens up the game so you can see everything as a goalie."

Chiasson, who with the Ottawa Senators witnessed Andrew Hammond go on a 20-1-2 run two seasons ago, offered the opposite theory on his goaltender. He said Elliott is doing the heavy lifting for the Flames.

"Our team play has been really good, but his play has carried us throughout this stretch," he said.

"Right now Brian is taking the lead and is playing really well."

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