Flyers sweep Panthers on the road, 2-1

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Flyers' Garnet Hathaway
Philadelphia Flyers right wing Garnet Hathaway (19) scores a goal past Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

John Tortorella doesn’t get too involved in conversations about the skaters Ian Laperriere has in the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He allows Daniel Briere and Laperriere to make those decisions, and what those players do with their NHL stint, if it happens, is up to them.

The Philadelphia Flyers (33-23-8) defeated the Florida Panthers (43-17-4) at the Amerant Bank Arena, 2-1.

Sam Ersson was incredible between the pipes, saving 29/30 shots on goal. Adam Ginning and Ronnie Attard shined together in their 2023-2024 NHL debut. Ryan Poehling, Noah Cates, and Garnet Hathaway continued to shine as a premier forechecking line in the Flyers lineup.

Favorited were the Panthers. They were on a six-game win streak before the puck dropped. However, Philadelphia was the last visitor to win in Sunrise, FL, on February 6th. Ironically, the final score then was 2-1. Florida will visit the Wells Fargo Center on March 24th to avoid a season series sweep against the Flyers.

“I don’t think too many teams have come in here in the past month or so and won a couple. We play hard. Ers [Ersson] was really good; gave us a chance in certain parts of the game. We do a lot of things that we screw up, but we play hard. That’s how we’re going to have to go about it to try to stay competitive.”

John Tortorella; 3/7/2024

Marc Staal received a ‘welcome back’ video package. A season ago, he signed a 35+ NHL contract with the Panthers. Staal averaged second-pair minutes (18:12) in 2022-2023. In the postseason, he played 21 games and saw an uptick in average minutes to 20:56.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Tyson Foerster took the first shots on goal for their respective clubs, to which each goaltender made a save. Travis Konecny and Sam Reinhart were one-on-one with the opposing goaltender in the first period, but Sergei Bobrovsky and Ersson made the save. Florida dominated the pace of play but couldn’t crack the scoreboard.

Then, with 19:50 remaining in the second period, Cam York dished to Poehling in the offensive zone. Poehling used his edges with speed to get in on Bobrovsky. Philadelphia led 1-0.

Unfortunately, the momentum didn’t continue. Nick Cousins did serve a penalty, but the Flyers went 0/1 on the powerplay. Cam Atkinson mustered the only shot with the man advantage. The Panthers used a successful penalty kill to snuff the momentum.

On the day he signed his extension with Florida, Gustav Forsling tied the game, 1-1, with 12:48 remaining in the second period. Cates couldn’t clear the puck out of the defensive zone, allowing Forsling to gain the puck, change his shot angle on Poehling, and score. Then, Staal served a penalty. The Panthers tested their mettle versus the Philadelphia penalty kill.

In this situation, Florida could’ve shifted the outcome of the game. Ersson kept Reinhart and Sam Bennett from scoring while Poehling and Scott Laughton cleared the defensive zone. Laughton was battling an illness during this game and still contributed mightily on the penalty kill, helping the Flyers finish 1/1.

“He [Ersson] knows that he has to do certain things at certain times of the game to keep us in it. The biggest save of the night was the powerplay save; when they [the Florida Panthers] made a couple [of] nice plays and beat us. He’s done that all year long. It’s becoming who he is.”

John Tortorella; 3/7/2024

Before the second period wrapped up, the on-ice activities began to get chippy. Matthew Tkachuk and Hathaway both served penalties, resulting in four-on-four hockey. Before the horn, Attard dropped Tarasenko, and Dmitry Kulikov returned the favor on Owen Tippett.

Tortorella said he thought Philadelphia played their best ‘territorial’ hockey in the third period. There wasn’t much space provided by either team, which meant someone had to pull a scoring opportunity out of the air. He said this, in context about how the Flyers defended and checked, about a period where York went down the tunnel after blocking a shot, akin to Nick Seeler. That spoke highly of the performance from Ginning and Attard on the backend as it did about Cates, Poehling, and Hathaway as forwards.

“They [Ginning and Attard] weren’t afraid. They seem to feel very comfortable. Ginning is a guy that’s going to be in your face; you can see that already in his game, we knew that a little bit about him. Ronnie is going to be able to bring some offense; you can see that. I got to look at the tape, but when I watched them in the game, they were playing against some pretty good people. They weren’t matched up against their third or fourth lines a lot of the night, and I thought they handled themselves really well.”

John Tortorella; 3/7/2024

York did return, and Philadelphia did pull a scoring opportunity out of the air. Cates kept the possession alive on the forecheck and found Staal near the blue line. Staal took a shot on goal, and Hathaway might’ve deflected the puck en route to Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky couldn’t make the glove save, and Hathaway batted the rebound home, 2-1, with :21 remaining in regulation.

“That was sweet. Before we jumped on the ice, we just didn’t want to make any east-west plays. You see Garny [Hathaway] and Catesy [Cates] keeping it below the goal line and throwing it high. Staalsy [Staal] was just getting a quick shot on net, and it ended up working out for us. We did a good job all night getting pucks low to high, getting pucks to the net. For us to be rewarded like that, it was definitely fun.”

Ryan Poehling; 3/7/2024

Up Next

Next, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)