Flyers, Ersson drops shootout duel versus Blues, 2-1

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Flyers' Sam Ersson positioned in a shootout versus Pavel Buchnevich
St. Louis Blues’ Pavel Buchnevich scores on Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Samuel Ersson during a shootout in an NHL hockey game, Monday, March 4, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Sometimes, the puck doesn’t bounce in favor of the better team. This edition of the Philadelphia Flyers (32-23-8) versus the St. Louis Blues (32-26-3) boiled down to goaltending. Sam Ersson and Jordan Binnington were exceptional for their teams throughout regulation and overtime. To find a winner, this tilt came down to who was the sharpest in a skills competition.

“In the middle of the game, I leaned over to Willie [Darryl Williams] and said, ‘I don’t think he’s [Binnington] going to let another one in.’ That’s how solid he looked. Then, I looked down the other end, ‘I don’t think he’s [Ersson] going to let another one in,’ and there we have the game. Both goalies were outstanding.”

John Tortorella; 3/4/2024

At the Wells Fargo Center, it was Dollar Dog Night. In this economy, Dollar Dog Night is a hot commodity. The Philadelphia Phillies will not host a Dollar Dog Night at Citizens Bank Park in 2024. I offered a tip of the cap to the Phillies fans, housing nine Dollar Dogs, one per inning of a regulation baseball game.

Kevin Hayes made his return to Philadelphia. The last time Hayes played at the Wells Fargo Center was April 11th, 2023, a 4-3 overtime win in his final home game with the Flyers versus the Columbus Blue Jackets. On the video board over the center of the ice, Hayes received a welcome back feature to more cheers than the smattering of boos.

On the ice, Ersson made a myriad of stellar saves. One of his highlight saves came when Pavel Buchnevich had him dead to rights. A slam dunk goal was not when Ersson made the save with his skate, and then Cam York bailed out the next attempt by blocking a shot by Robert Thomas.

Before the end of the first period, Scott Laughton put his team ahead. Ryan Poehling displayed the utmost patience, waiting for every last Blues defender to commit before squeezing the puck past Binnington, where Laughton tucked a goal, 1-0.

“Poehls [Poehling] did a good job bringing it [the puck] to the net, and we got lucky; got rewarded.

Scott Laughton; 3/4/2024

York had one of his strongest performances. In his best sequence of the night, he poked the puck away from Jordan Kyrou, losing his stick in the process. As St. Louis reset, York picked up his stick, found his positioning, and closed in on Colton Parayko for a sliding shot block. John Tortorella, at times, referred to York as one of his best defensemen, and tonight helped back that sentiment:

“I think he’s [York] one of our best defenders. You guys keep talking about offense; I think he’s one of our best defenders. He can use his legs offensively; has a great chance, I think it hits the crossbar at the end. We want him up the ice and he has the legs that he’ll be able to play at both ends”

John Tortorella; 3/4/2024

In the second period, Philadelphia was trapped in a string of penalties. Nick Seeler and Egor Zamula both served penalties, allowing the Blues to compile momentum. Hayes tied the game, slipping behind the Flyers on a breakaway, 1-1. It was a weak goal compared to most breakaway finishes, but Hayes tied the game nonetheless.

Regarding Seeler, he left for the locker room before the end of the second period. He leads the NHL in blocked shots (184), and this one slowed him down for a moment. Seeler was back on the ice for the opening faceoff of the third period.

In regulation, Owen Tippett had the best opportunity to break the tie, but the puck sailed wide. In overtime, York rang the puck off the post. He was a mere inches from securing the three-on-three sudden-death victory. However, Binnington and Ersson forced a shootout.

“I’m not questioning their [the Flyers] effort; I’m questioning how much energy they had. I thought they gave. In between the second and third period; those types of periods and where we’re at in the standings, and where we’re at in the season, we have to find ways. I thought we were the better team; had more scoring chances. I thought both goalies were terrific. That’s the biggest positive, that I saw a team say, ‘you know what, we weren’t that good in the first two; we’ve got to find a way.’ I thought they played their best period in the third.”

John Tortorella; 3/4/2024

Jake Neighbours put pressure on Morgan Frost, who answered in the shootout. Buchnevich made up for his missed opportunity, eventually securing the shootout game-winner after Binnington turned away Tippett to confirm the 2-1 win for St. Louis.

Up Next

Next, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Florida Panthers on Thursday at 7pm.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)