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Ersson Steals Show With 33-Save Performance, Flyers Take Down Flames 4-3 but Lose Konecny to Injury

(Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Samuel Ersson continued his perfect run to start his career with his 6th victory of the season as he backstopped the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-3 victory against the Calgary Flames, snapping their 4-game losing streak.

The young netminder made 33 saves, was instrumental in the first period when the game could’ve shifted in Calgary’s favour by 3 or 4 goals, and held on till the bitter end with the Flames trying to mount their first 3rd period comeback victory of the season. Travis Konecny opened the scoring late in the first, and Nicolas Deslauriers then doubled their lead before Mikael Backlund got one back for the Flames. Tony DeAngelo responded with his 10th of the season only minutes afterwards sending the Flyers into the third period with a 2 goal lead.

The Flames came storming back and tied the game 9 minutes into the third period. Wade Allison scored the eventual game-winning goal after a timeout was called by John Tortorella to regroup his troops after a dismal start to the third period. Ersson improved to 6-0-0, however Travis Konecny didn’t return to the game after suffering an upper body injury late in the second period. Another interesting note among the forward group was Joel Farabee skating just 3:52 today after being demoted to the fourth line.

The Philadelphia Flyers embarked on game 3 of 4 in their Western road trip against the Calgary Flames in the first set of a back-to-back that ends with the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow night. Samuel Ersson was given the start today with Hart playing in his hometown tomorrow, Olle Lycksell returned to the lineup with the Flyers going back to a 12/6 formation, but the big news was that Travis Sanheim was made a healthy scratch after a puzzling performance on Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks.

The line juggling continued with James van Riemsdyk, Morgan Frost, and Travis Konecny as one trio, Nicolas Deslauriers, Noah Cates, and Patrick Brown as another trio, and Olle Lycksell, Joel Farabee, and Wade Allison technically set as the fourth line. Kevin Hayes, Scott Laughton, and Owen Tippett were the only line that remained intact from their last game. Cam York was skating with Rasmus Ristolainen, Justin Braun found himself with Ivan Provorov, keeping Nick Seeler and Tony DeAngelo as the third pair.

As for the Calgary Flames, they welcome back their leading scorer in Elias Lindholm who was forced to miss their last game due to personal reasons. Jonathan Huberdeau has struggled since being acquired in the blockbuster of the summer but has made some strides after a woeful start. He skated alongside Nazem Kadri – another marquee summer acquisition – as the balanced offense of the Flames looked to jump on the struggling Flyers. Jacob Markström received his second straight start and 4th in 5 games as he looked to turn his season around – .891 SV% and a 2.90 GAA.


A minute and 21 seconds into the game, Dennis Gilbert crunched Nicolas Deslauriers with a big body check to which Nick Seeler responded by dropping the gloves in a rather spirited bout to get his team out of their funk.

It was Calgary that got the jolt of energy as they quickly peppered Samuel Ersson with 4 scoring chances in the following few minutes.

The Flyers ended up taking the next 5 shots but with 10:29 remaining in the period, Nazem Kadri perfectly set up Jakob Pelletier for an abbreviated breakaway opportunity that was blockered aside by Ersson. After another dangerous looking shift in the offensive zone for the Flames, Ristolainen was whistled down for a holding minor with 6:47 remaining. 58 seconds into the man advantage, Andrew Mangiapane was called for a holding minor, mitigating a dangerous looking power play that came close to scoring on a few occasions in just under a minute.

With the penalty expiring, Nazem Kadri and Jonathan Huberdeau jumped on an odd-man rush and found themselves all alone on Ersson. DeAngelo lost his man in Kadri and as Ristolainen was trying to get back to disrupt the pass, he dished to Huberdeau who was absolutely robbed by the out-stretched Ersson, keeping the game tied – when it really shouldn’t.

As fate would have it for the Flames, on the very next shift, Travis Konecny scored his 27th goal of the season to get the Flyers on the board with 3:01 remaining. Noah Cates made a great defensive play in the defensive zone to get the puck loose and Konecny did the rest as he went from one end to the other before making a move on Noah Hanifin and then ripping it past Markström.

The Flyers entered the first intermission with a 1-0 lead and even though the shots looked close – 12-10 Flames – the Flames owned the first period with Ersson withstanding all the pressure thrown his way.


5:22 into the second period, Cam York was called for a tripping minor, sending the 19th-ranked Flames power play back onto the ice for the second time today. Travis Konecny has been a man on a mission since finally ending his goal-drought and setting a career-high in goals, and he came within an inch of making it 2-0 while shorthanded. Rasmus Andersson cleared the porch with the puck slowly rolling on the red-line, only for the Flames to set out on a breakaway of their own courtesy of Dillon Dube but his shot went wide.

With York coming out of the penalty box, he was set up by a pass from Scott Laughton in his own zone, and then sent a saucer pass to Nicolas Deslauriers streaking towards the net for a deft deflection goal at the 7:30 mark of the period.

1:25 later, Mikael Backlund got the Flames on the board after ripping a shot high short-side past a screened Ersson for his 12th of the year and 13th point in his last 11 games. Ivan Provorov had trouble with Dennis Gilbert’s dump-in after it seemed to have hit referee but Provorov also swung and missed at the aerial dump-in. Backlund jumped on the loose puck, walked into the faceoff dot and ripped a perfectly labelled shot past the goaltender with Gilbert going hard towards the net and battling James van Riemsdyk which enabled the screen.

16 second later, Nick Seeler was whistled down for a tripping minor, sending the Flames on their third power play in an attempt to tie the game.

The Flyers killed the penalty and scored shortly afterwards again, and this time it was Tony DeAngelo. Provorov cleared the puck knowing that Seeler was coming out of the box. Seeler waited, waited, waited until he got some help in the form of Konecny who then tried setting up Scott Laughton for a one-time deflection. His shot went just wide but the Flyers corralled the rebound before Konecny set up DeAngelo in the middle of the zone for a shot that beat Markström glove-side for his 10th of the season at the 11:31 mark of the period – 20 seconds after the expiration of Seeler’s penalty.

With 6:19 left in the period, Travis Konecny left the ice and went straight into the dressing room accompanied by the medical staff. He was bumped from behind by MacKenzie Weegar and got up gingerly but in obvious discomfort.

With 90 seconds left, Backlund almost added to his earlier goal but was absolutely robbed by the glove of Ersson as he ripped a one-timer from the slot that the 23-year-old Swede emphatically ensnared. With the Flames coming within inches of cutting the deficit again, Patrick Brown was called for an elbowing minor with 51 ticks remaining.

Provorov had difficulty tried to straighten a fumbling puck in the corner so he tried to pin himself along the boards with 8 seconds left in the period but the Flames retrieved the puck and threw another dangerous shot towards Ersson, who kept the score at 3-1 as the Flyers entered the third period up by that score. The Flames held a 13-9 shot advantage in the middle frame as well as a 25-19 edge after 40 minutes.


To start the third period, Konecny was not spotted on the bench and was deemed to have suffered an “upper-body” injury and “unlikely to return this afternoon”. As the period began, Ersson was bumped into by a Flame, dislodging the net and Ivan Provorov was seen wincing in obvious pain as he was nursing a shoulder ailment. Fortunately Ersson was only dinged up ever so slightly and Provorov returned for his next shift.

The Flyers killed the remaining 69 seconds left on Brown’s minor, making them 4-for-4 on the day. 4:38 into the third period, Tyler Toffoli added to his team-leading 22 goals with his 23rd of the season after fooling Ersson with a quick shot from the face-off dot. Ersson was perplexed because it looked like Toffoli was going to one-touch pass it towards the slot to a streaking Flame, however he perfected the fake-pass-shot to get the Flames within 1 with plenty of time left, while also capitalizing on a bad line change by the Flyers.

With the Flames controlling the pace and having all the momentum after Toffoli’s goal, they tied the game with 11:06 remaining after Mangiapane finished off an easy rebound opportunity with the net empty. Noah Hanifin took a simple shot towards Ersson with Backlund parked in front of him and taking away his eyes, he made the save but with no one to block off Mangiapane, it was an easy finish for his 13th of the season.

Scott Laughton was the player in the vicinity who was supposed to be tailing the forward but he got nudged by Backlund just before the goal and was rather slow at getting up.

John Tortorella was forced take a timeout after the tying goal and it became rather evident that without Konecny, the offense was excruciatingly dry and cold as they were still without a third period shot, while the Flames had 2 goals on 8 shots. The timeout must’ve worked because on their first shot of the period at the 11:33 mark of the period, James van Riemsdyk set up Wade Allison at the goal-mouth for an easy deflection goal for his 8th of the season.

Just moments prior, Allison almost caught up to a loose puck rolling in front of Markström, but the strong forechecking of Laughton, Allison, van Riemsdyk, and Justin Braun – who made a subtle play along the boards in the neutral zone to jumpstart the offensive opportunity – retrieved the lead for the Flyers midway through the third.

After icing the puck once again, the Flyers fortunately won the defensive zone faceoff and drew a penalty on Nazem Kadri, who hooked Ivan Provorov with 6:03 remaining in regulation. With the penalty coming to an end, Blake Coleman jumped on a breakaway and the forward made a move on the goaltender and went five-hole but the puck dinged the post. Both goalie and player believed the puck went in but luckily the puck bounced off the post and underneath Ersson’s pad, freezing the puck with 3:43 left.

With 85 seconds left, the Flames pulled Markström for the extra attacker and then were prompted to take a timeout after Ersson froze the puck with 1:15 left. The Flames had a few chances, none more dangerous than their goal-mouth scrum with 10 seconds left but Ersson stood his ground, found the puck, and covered for the faceoff.

The Flyers hung on – mostly because of Ersson – and snapped their 4 game losing streak with a 4-3 win against the Flames. They were outshot 11-3 in the third period, didn’t record their first shot until the 11:33 mark but as fate had it today that shot turned out to be the game winning goal after a clutch timeout by John Tortorella.


The Flyers head to Rogers Place to take on the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow night (9:00pm ET) to finish off their road trip.

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