The Philadelphia Flyers began a tough back-to-back in Florida with a tight performance against the Panthers and a 3-1 victory
The Philadelphia Flyers began their swing through Florida in Miami against the Panthers on Tuesday night, with the Flyers trying to avoid their sixth loss in eight games. Furthermore, the Flyers surprised everyone in the afternoon before the game when it became clear that Michael Del Zotto would be a healthy scratch.
From there, the Flyers did something they haven’t done all season. They collapsed around the goalie, and protected a small lead. Steve Mason lost his shutout in the final moments, but overall it was the best defense and goaltending the Flyers have managed all season for a 3-1 win.
Couturier Down. Overshadowing any individual performance from the game was Sean Couturier going down injured. He got his skate tied up and went down awkwardly. He was in a lot of pain on the ice, and a time frame for his injury is TBA.
Simmonds Man of the Match. Wayne Simmonds didn’t just score the first goal of the game, but he was all over the ice in all situations.
MacDonald for Del Zotto. Andrew MacDonald resumed his spot alongside Shayne Gostisbehere, to mixed results. Mostly they avoided big mistakes, but this might be the first game all season where Ghost did not attempt a single shot.
Gudas Leads. Radko Gudas was in top form last night, leading the Flyers in ice time and possession. He also banged bodies with 5 hits. All this while dealing with the Panther’s top line.
Goaltending and Special Teams
The real story of this game was the team defensive effort. Steve Mason looked sharp and locked it down, while the Flyers did a lot to protect him and limit second chances. Ultimately, Mason made 38 saves, allowing only 1 goal in the final 2 minutes of the game. It was definitely his best game of the season.
The Flyers were also perfect on special teams. They killed off 4 penalties, while scoring on both their power plays. Best not to be overconfident however, as both power play goals were on the rush instead of traditional setups, and the Panthers were peppering the Flyers net on some of their power plays.
The Philadelphia Flyers go across Florida for a re-match against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight. Just last week, the Lightning stifled the Flyers 3-0, while goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy extended his scoreless streak. The Lightning lost their last game, but that was with Ben Bishop in net. Vasilevskiy will try to end extend his streak against the Flyers.
The Flyers will also have to figure out how they will fill Couturier’s 2C spot. The leading candidates are probably Nick Cousins and Brayden Schenn. Also, the Anthony Stolarz watch is on for his NHL debut in net. Given Mason’s strong performance against the Panthers, he might start on back-to-back nights anyway.