Panthers bounce back to top Flyers in shootout
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Blown out at home last month by the Flyers, the Florida Panthers would not be embarrassed twice.
Jonathon Huberdeau and Peter Mueller both scored goals in a shootout to lead the Panthers to a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
The Panthers looked nothing like the team that was routed 7-1 on Jan. 26. Jose Theodore was pulled after allowing three goals on nine shots in the first period in the loss.
In the rematch, Theodore had 30 saves, stopping all 10 shots faced over the third period and OT, and he turned away two shootout attempts by the Flyers.
“It was a little bit of a payback for last time,” he said. “We got outplayed pretty badly and I got pulled. It’s a tough building to play in. But coming in here and getting two points is huge for our confidence.”
Also huge: Stephen Weiss’ tying power-play goal midway through the third period. His wrister from the right circle for his first goal of the season tied the game at 2.
“He’s a big piece to our puzzle, and it’s good to see him get on the board,” Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. “But it’s more than just the goals, he goes into the corners, he wins faceoffs and does all the little things for us. We see that every night, but sure, it’s nice to see him get rewarded with that big goal.”
Jack Skille also scored for the Panthers.
Matt Read and Jakub Voracek both scored goals for the Flyers. Read continued to have his way with the Panthers. Read notched his first career hat trick in the rout against Florida and his second-period goal against Theodore was his sixth goal against them in six career games. He has 28 career goals.
Read was stopped by Theodore in the shootout. Claude Giroux also came up short in the second round.
“They’re a great team, a different team tonight,” Read said.
On a team with scorers such as Giroux and Danny Briere, Read’s an unlikely candidate to put together a string of goals against one team. But he’s found something that works against Florida.
This time, Read was situated in the right place, waiting near the crease to pop in the puck for a 2-1 lead. Theodore smushed the puck against the ice with his glove, but Mike Knuble poked, poked, and poked again until it broke free. Read took advantage of Knuble’s second and third efforts for the goal.
Theodore was stout from there and held off a five-shot OT by the hard-charging Flyers.
The win in the rematch made it easier to put that six-goal loss behind them.
“That’s no fun to get spanked that badly at home,” Dineen said. “It seemed like a long time ago just because the schedule has been so frantic, that these games they just keep coming one after another, but I think we fed off of that a little bit.”
The Flyers and Panthers each scored a goal in the first.
Skille scored his first of the season on a simple wrister from the slot that got past Ilya Bryzgalov. The Panthers had scored only 22 goals this season and Skille had yet to record a point in seven games.
After Florida was whistled for interference, the Flyers capitalized with a man advantage. Voracek fired from the right circle, and teammate Tye McGinn threw a nice screen in front of Theodore to allow the tying goal.
Weiss, a big name in trade rumors these days, is the longest-tenured Panther and career leader in games played and assists. He added a clutch goal to his resume when he evened it up against Bryzgalov, who had been sensational until then, including a flurry of stops in one stretch late in the second.
The Flyers played again without forward Wayne Simmonds, who sustained head and neck injuries on a hit from Washington’s John Erskine last Friday.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said it was a possibility Simmonds could play Saturday against Carolina.
They’ll need every healthy player they can get to bust out of a slow start to the short season.
“We need to find a way to show up, especially at home,” Giroux said. “We need those points right now and we’re a desperate team at the start of the season.”
NOTES: The Flyers signed D Kimmo Timonen on a one-year contract extension through the 2013-14 season. Timonen is in his sixth season with the Flyers and 14th in the NHL. “He’s a good solider and he’s been a good Flyer,” Holmgren said. … Flyers F Scott Hartnell is on the mend from a broken left foot. He had the cast removed Thursday and could start skating next week, Holmgren said. Flyers D Andrej Meszaros (shoulder) also could skate this weekend. Both are expected out for at least another two weeks.