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Foerster Scores, Ersson Makes 29 Saves as Flyers Claim 4-3 Shootout Victory Against Penguins

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Apparently the Philadelphia Flyers are good in shootouts now? Samuel Ersson claimed his 2nd consecutive shootout victory, going perfect in the skills competition yet again, as he backstopped his club to an important 4-3 victory.

The Flyers also claimed their first comeback victory of the season after going 0-10-2 in their previous 12 games when allowing the first goal. Kris Letang opened the scoring before Owen Tippett tied things up. Then the third period featured 4 goals after Jake Guentzel retook the lead before Scott Laughton and Tyson Foerster combined for the game-tying and the go-ahead markers. Guentzel tied things up with 20 seconds left before Sean Couturier scored the only goal in the shootout.

Ersson made 29 saves plus 3 in the shootout, Jarry had 31 saves plus 2 in the shootout, Foerster had a goal and an assist, while Guentzel scored twice and Bryan Rust tallied 2 assists. These teams face off again on Monday at the Wells Fargo Center.

In the first installment of the Battle of Pennsylvania, the Flyers traveled across the state to face off against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. After a thrilling 5-game winning streak, the Flyers have gone 1-3-1 since then, with their lone victory being a 1-0 shootout triumph over the New York Islanders. In their most recent game, the Orange and Black rallied from 2 goals down with 5 minutes to play to force overtime but lost in the early stages to New Jersey.

Looking to get back in the winning column and looking ahead to their home game against Pittsburgh on Monday, the Flyers started Samuel Ersson as he looks to improve on his fantastic November that saw him post a 1.70 GAA as he sported a 4-1-0 record. Marc Staal returned back to the lineup as the musical chairs on defense continues as Egor Zamula made his way out and Joel Farabee remained in the lineup after being benched for 58+ minutes last game.

As for the Penguins, they entered tonight with an 11-10-1 record – compared to the Flyers 11-10-2 – as they look to get back on track after a slow start to the season. Tristan Jarry,who scored a goal in his last game, earned his 4th straight start and the usual cast and crew pace the club in goals and points with Crosby (14 goals and 25 points), Jake Guentzel (25), and Evgeni Malkin (20) leading the way. Surprisingly, the Penguins’ power play has been as deplorable as the Flyers’ as they sat 27th in the league with an 11.86% success rate – compared to the Flyers 11.69% – entering tonight.


94 seconds into the game, Morgan Frost was called for a high sticking minor as he clipped Lars Eller along the boards in the defensive zone. The 27th-ranked power play of the Penguins went head-to-head early on against the 10th-ranked penalty of the Flyers with the former generating a lot of early chances, 1 of which was stopped by Samuel Ersson and 2 blocked by Cam York.

Marc Staal reminded us very early on why the entire fanbase has been scratching their head with his re-entry into the lineup as he over-skated a puck just outside of the defensive zone and lost the streaking Penguins player, who was poke-checked away by an attentive Ersson.

The Penguins went nearly 13 minutes without a shot on goal after their early power play but found their legs at the end of the period when they registered 2 more shots and several more that went just high or wide. The Flyers held a 7-3 edge in shots after the first 20 as well as a 13-9 advantage in hits, while the Penguins led in the faceoff dot (10-7).

In a period that didn’t have much of anything going on, York stood out with a team-high 7:51 TOI, 1 shot on goal, and 3 blocked shots – including 2 hard blocks on Evgeni Malkin during the early power play.


2:42 into the second period, York was called for an interference minor as he pushed Jansen Harkins into Ersson. A rather nonchalant power play until there was about 12 seconds left when the Penguins tried jamming home a net-front opportunity but Ersson’s sprawling glove was able to keep the puck out.

With 14:42 left in the period, Radim Zohorna was called for a roughing minor as he nudged York’s head with his glove when they both jumped in the air for an errant puck. Another special teams parallel between these two clubs is that they both held a top-10 penalty kill – as they do with a bottom-6 power play.

4:37 later, the Flyers received their 2nd power play after Travis Konecny was high-sticked by Drew O’Connor. Aside from a slot opportunity from Cam Atkinson off the initial draw, the Flyers power play couldn’t muster up much of anything. With the expiration of the penalty, the Flyers slumped to the tune of 1/30 while playing on the road.

The shift that followed was all Philadelphia as Sean Walker and Konecny were zipping all over the place and firing shots at will. Sidney Crosby was a little aloof as he took offence to a cross-check from Walker and started to shadow him the rest of the shift, which helped the Flyers come close to the game’s opening goal on a couple occasions.

With 5:29 remaining in the period, the Penguins scored the dreaded first goal of the game after Kris Letang’s pass-for-shot attempt deflected off Travis Sanheim’s stick blade and past Ersson top-shelf.

Ironically enough, Sanheim failed to clear the puck twice – both times Letang kept the puck in the zone. And as we already painfully knew, the Flyers had yet to spurn a comeback victory going 0-10-2 when allowing the first goal.

On the very next shift, after a big block from Sanheim, Owen Tippett jumped on an interrupted breakaway with his shot gloved aside by Jarry. Tippett then  found himself on another breakaway after a perfect outlet pass from Tyson Foerster a minute later but this time around he finished it off with a hard backhand to tie the game.

With 43.2 seconds left, Bryan Rust was whistled for a roughing minor. Letang cross-checked Sean Couturier in the back while Marcus Pettersson pinned him down with the Flyers looking to fire a shot with just a few seconds left in the period – nothing was called. The Flyers fired 14 shots to the Penguins 8 in the period and held a 21-11 advantage through 40.


2 minutes into the third period, Jake Guentzel finished off a bang-bang play in the blue paint for a 2-1 lead. Erik Karlsson threw a pass into the crease that was deflected in by the skate of Guentzel who was being tied up by Staal.

5:02 into the third period, Nicolas Deslauriers was assessed a boarding minor after what looked like a clean check along the boards. With 1 second left on the penalty to Deslauriers, Scott Laughton ended his lengthy goal-drought after beating Malkin to a rolling puck before patiently firing one through Jarry’s blocker for his 2nd of the season and first in 13 games.

Just past the midway point of the period, Staal was called for a tripping minor at the 11:03 mark but it was negated 1:07 later after Karlsson was called for an interference minor. The Flyers road power play finally struck gold after Foerster ripped a hard shot from his office blocker side past Jarry.

With 1:44 left to play in regulation, Jarry was pulled for the extra attacker and after what seemed like an eternity in the offensive zone, the Penguins tied the game with just 20 seconds left after Guentzel deflected a rebound that popped off Ersson’s blocker. Tippett had a chance to clear the zone maybe 20 seconds prior but Letang checked him right before he exited the zone, which allowed the Penguins to regroup with the Flyers tired and stationary.

Off to overtime for the second consecutive night.


There’s something about the Flyers and starting the overtime session so poorly as they allowed Crosby and Guentzel far too much time and space to win the game but Ersson made some key stops with other shots going high and wide – in the first 20 seconds.

After Malkin got away with about 3 slashes as Tippett was trying to make his way on a breakaway, the Flyers were guilty of a too many men on the ice minor with Laughton blowing a tire behind the play and Farabee jumping off the bench too soon with just 60 seconds left.

The Flyers survived with tons of blocked shots and the Penguins firing one timers high and wide, giving them a 5/5 moniker on the night and killing 34 for their last 36 attempts.

Off to a shootout in Ersson’s second consecutive start.


Foerster: Miss
Guentzel: Miss

Couturier: Goal
Crosby: Miss

Konecny: Miss
Rust: Miss

Couturier and Ersson helped lead the Flyers to their first comeback win of the season and second shootout victory of the season as well.


The Flyers finish off the home-and-home with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday (7:00pm ET, NBCSP) before embarking on a mini 3-game road trip in Arizona, Colorado, and Nashville.

Union Forge Vodka proudly serves as the Official Vodka of Flyers Nation. This partnership celebrates the unyielding spirit of Flyers fans and offers a quality spirit that perfectly compliments the team’s essence. Whether celebrating victories or showing resilience, Union Forge Vodka embodies the winning spirit of both the Flyers and their dedicated fans. Stay connected with exciting giveaways by following @unionforge and @flyersnation across all social media platforms.

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