The Philadelphia Flyers came into the state of Florida desperately needing a win and some goals, but they leave empty-handed.
After getting shut out last night in Tampa Bay, the Flyers lost to the Florida Panthers tonight in overtime, 2-1. Martin Jones was the x-factor in this one for Philadelphia as he was tested all night, stopping 43 of the 45 shots he faced.
Coming off the heels of a very disappointing loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning last night, the Flyers remained in the state of Florida as they embarked on another tough game against the Florida Panthers.
With Derick Brassard leaving the game early in the first period last night, whatever developmental route the Flyers had in mind for Morgan Frost came to a standstill as they had to call him up for tonight’s game.
In doing so, the lines got re-shuffled as Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Travis Konecny reunited. Morgan Frost found himself in the middle between Cam Atkinson and Joel Farabee. James van Riemsdyk, Scott Laughton, and Zach MacEwan finished off the top-nine. The fourth line was comprised of Oskar Lindblom, Nate Thompson, and Max Willman. On defense, Rasmus Ristolainen was paired up with Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim with Nick Seeler, and Keith Yandle was reunited with Justin Braun.
From the moment the puck dropped, the Panthers had their skating legs going. They were forcing the Flyers to turn the puck over quite a bit and had it not been for some stellar goaltending at the start of the period, the Flyers could’ve found themselves trailing early. Jones made several big stops including back-to-back saves on Eetu Luostarinen and Patric Hornqvist, but none were bigger than his save on Jonathan Huberdeau.
On a 2-on-1, Huberdeau decided to shoot and Jones was there with a big pad save. Ensuing off that save was a Travis Konecny stretch pass that found a streaking Joel Farabee all alone with Sergei Bobrovsky.
Farabee deked Bobrovsky enough to open up his five-hole and it broke his slump of being goalless in 5 games and only scoring once in his last 14. Konecny’s assist was his first assist in 9 games.
Speaking of Konecny, he was by far the most visible player for the Flyers and it was much needed as the offense had dried up substantially. He provided his patented snarl, grit, speed, and offensive opportunities; which goes hand-in-hand with being reunited with Giroux and Couturier.
The second period was more of the same in the sense that the Panthers came out firing on all cylinders and forcing turnovers. Once again Martin Jones stood his ground and kept the Flyers up 1-0.
The Panthers’ pressure was unrelenting throughout the period as the Flyers were only really creating scoring chances off the rush and in transition. Tired legs were definitely catching up to them in that period with their second power play of the game garnering no chances.
The third period followed the same game script as the Panthers came out firing again. They hit the post for the third time in the game and almost tied it were it not for a great clearance by Sean Couturier. There was a mosh pit in front of the net and out of all of it, Nick Seeler got called for a slashing penalty.
The Panthers ended an 0-for-17 drought on their man advantage as they were able to finally tie the game. Great pressure and passing by the Panthers were on full display as Aaron Ekblad slyly foumd Anthony Duclair, who got the puck to a streaking Sam Bennett on the doorstep and there was not much Jones could do with that one.
The remainder of the third period was arcade-style hockey, where both teams were going end to end. The Panthers kept peppering Jones but he stood his ground as best he could.
Carter Verhaeghe had the best chance of the third period on a breakaway as he dangled past Ivan Provorov. Shortly after that, Bennett almost took the lead right in front of the net but couldn’t get it past Jones.
It got worse when Provorov was called for a questionable cross-checking penalty with a little over 3 minutes to go. He got hit during the play by Bennett and once the play was done, Provorov approached him with a love tap, to which Bennett embellished just enough to draw a penalty. The Flyers were able to kill it off though and the game would need extra time to be decided.
The game went into overtime and just like the other three periods, the Panthers controlled the puck with ease. Shot after shot, chance after chance, the Panthers must’ve been mystified as to how this game was even in overtime. Jones had all the answers but as pressure was mounting, especially from Huberdeau, he was able to find Ekblad in the slot and Ekblad finally fired one past Jones to end the game.
Konecny was stuck on the ice for the first two minutes as the Flyers couldn’t get control of the puck. Cam Atkinson had the only chance for the Flyers but he hit the post on a breakaway, getting Bobrovsky to slide out of his crease.
The Flyers were lucky to have this game get to overtime and secure at least one point. The shots were 45-33 for Florida, 7-0 in overtime, and Martin Jones was the only reason the game wasn’t lopsided.
For the Flyers, their scoring woes continue now with 28 goals in their last 15 games, however the silver lining from this game, other than the one point they received for taking it to overtime, was that the top-six had some punch to them.
The top line was reunited and they consistently had offensive zone pressure. Morgan Frost looked assertive, aggressive, and at times dominant in his first game of the season with the big club.
Joel Farabee scored the lone goal for the Flyers, with Provorov and Konecny recording assists. Couturier (8), Konecny (6), and Giroux (5) combined for 19 shots, while Couturier also had 3 hits and 4 blocks. Morgan Frost played 13:44 in his season debut with 1 shot and 3 hits. Martin Jones was great in goal again, stopping 43 shots.
The Panthers received multi-point efforts from Sam Bennett and Aaron Ekblad as they both scored a goal and recorded an assist. Huberdeau and Duclair each had a helper. Sergei Bobrovsky stood his ground when he needed to by stopping 32 of 33 shots he faced.
Up next for the Flyers are the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday at 3:30pm in Philadelphia in their annual Black Friday matinee at Wells Fargo Center.