Flyers’ Atkinson, Ersson end Jets’ eight-game win streak

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Flyers' Cam Atkinson celebration
Philadelphia Flyers’ Travis Sanheim (6), Sean Walker (26), Cam Atkinson (89) and Joel Farabee (86) celebrate Atkinson’s goal against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024. (John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP)

Capping off a weekend back-to-back, the Philadelphia Flyers (23-14-6) went on a frigid journey to Manitoba to face the Winnipeg Jets (28-10-4). There wasn’t much time for rest after an overtime win against the Minnesota Wild, and the lineup missed a couple of key components before lacing the skates.

Those key components featured Jamie Drysdale (illness) and Sean Couturier (undisclosed), substituted by Marc Staal and Bobby Brink.

Between the pipes, Sam Ersson started the second half of the back-to-back. He was incredible at the Canada Life Centre, saving 35/35 shots on goal. Ersson frustrated the Jets’ offense, Cam Atkinson broke a scoring drought that lasted 26 games, and Garnet Hathaway can call himself victorious after his 500th career NHL game.

Philadelphia Flyers at Winnipeg Jets

Throughout the first period, the Flyers controlled the pace. Ersson was locked in, saving 11/11 of shots on goal.

Atkinson put Philadelphia on the scoreboard, 1-0, scoring his ninth of the season with 5:13 remaining in the first period. It snapped the longest scoring drought of his career, a major relief for the veteran forward, snakebitten since November 11th.

Cashing in again, Atkinson extended the lead on the powerplay during the opening minutes of the second period. Morgan Frost generated the rebound attempt with a wrist shot on Connor Hellebuyck, then Atkinson followed the rebound home, 2-0. With the insurance goal, the Flyers converted a powerplay chance in five straight games.

Holding a 2-0 lead, Philadelphia stuck with their game plan from the first two periods. Winnipeg continued houding Ersson with shots, but he remained poised and stable, denying every opportunity. With the win, the Flyers snapped the Jets’ eight-game win streak and are two points behind the New York Rangers for the top spot in the NHL Metropolitan Division.

“I’m not a big statement win and a test, all that stuff. It’s a good solid win in a back-to-back situation; we get ready for St. Louis and just want to keep playing the best way we can.”

John Tortorella; 1/13/2024

Atkinson Ends Drought

Ending an over two-month scoring drought, Atkinson helped lead Philadelphia to their third straight victory against an elite NHL team.

Couturier and Drysdale exited the lineup before taking the ice against Winnipeg, but the Flyers still found a way to win. Atkinson kept consistent with his effort and was rewarded against one of the best in the league:

“It felt pretty good. Long time coming, longest of my career that I’ve gone without scoring. A little snakebitten there, but just stuck with the process, and trying to get to the areas where I’ve scored a lot of goals in this league. I found a way to get a couple tonight. It feels good.”

Cam Atkinson; 1/13/2024

Ersson’s Third Shutout

Remember when Philadelphia didn’t have consistent goaltending? Those days are long gone. Carter Hart finished the job in overtime against the Wild, and Ersson did his duty, earning his third shutout of the season.

Ersson improved to 11-5-3 in 2023-2024 and 6-2-2 over his last ten games. He remains consistent between the pipes when called upon by John Tortorella.

“For me, it’s important to remember the tough start I had, put everything into perspective for me. I feel like confidence for me is high right now and I’m feeling good about my game, but I know how fast it turns and the season goes up and down. You’re going to have tough stretches.”

Sam Ersson; 1/13/2024

Up Next

Next, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the St. Louis Blues at the Enterprise Center on Monday. The puck drops at 8pm.

(John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP)