Brian Smith | PhiladelphiaFlyers.com
/ Philadelphia Flyers
Shayne Gostisbehere scored with just under two minutes left in regulation to tie the game and force overtime, but the Flyers couldn’t convert in the extra session and succumbed to the Panthers 5-4 in a shootout. The game was a back-and forth affair, with Florida striking first on a Reilly Smith goal just past the halfway point of the first period. Nick Cousins answered four minutes later to tie the game at 1-1 at the first intermission. The teams swapped goals 18 seconds apart in the second when Ryan White’s goal at 13:16 was followed up by one from Jonathan Huberdeau at 13:34. Michael Raffl put the Flyers ahead again just 1:28 into the third, but the Panthers responded with two goals 1:05 apart – one from Akesander Barkov at 8:24 and a second from Smith at 9:29. With 1:55 left in the third, Gostisbehere floated a puck through traffic that made it past Roberto Luongo to tie things at 4-4. The Flyers got a power play in the overtime period but couldn’t capitalize, and Florida took the shootout with two goals to none for the Flyers. Steve Mason stopped 25 of 29 Florida shots, while Luongo turned away 22.
The game turned in the favor of the Flyers getting a point on Gostisbehere’s goal, which came in his first game in the building where he grew up watching the NHL 20 miles from his hometown. In the overtime period, the Flyers had plenty of chances during a 4-on-3 power play, but once the Panthers killed that off the Flyers didn’t have many more opportunities to score.
1. Reilly Smith: Scored two goals – the all-important first goal that has led to 31 of Florida’s 38 wins this season, and the goal that made it 4-3 in the third period.
2. Jaromir Jagr: Recorded two assists to reach 1,855 points on his career, including an excellent effort to set up Huberdeau’s goal that erased the Flyers’ momentum following White’s PPG.
3. Aleksander Barkov: Had an assist and did score a shootout goal that wasn’t actually the game winner, but was also a -2. Could easily have been Sam Gagner, who recorded his first two-point game as a Flyer with a pair of assists, the first of which was a fantastic effort to set up Nick Cousins in front.
Gagner now has two goals and two assists for four points in his last four games… Gostisbehere further extended his Flyers franchise record for a rookie defenseman. All 15 of Gostisbehere’s goals have either tied the game or given the Flyers the lead… Fifteen of the Flyers’ 18 skaters registered a shot on goal. Mark Streit led the Flyers with five shots, while Claude Giroux and Gostisbehere had four apiece. Gostisbehere had an additional four attempts that didn’t reach the net… With the SOL point, the Flyers are two points back of Pittsburgh and three back of Detroit in the race for a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers hold one game in hand on Detroit and are even in games played with Pittsburgh. Detroit hosts Toronto on Sunday while Pittsburgh visits the Rangers.
“It’s a hard-earned point. It’s a tough building to play in coming off a back-to-back. I thought the guys pushed really hard and kept fighting when we got down. It’s obviously not a situation you want to be in, down in the third there, but we kept fighting. It’s a big point for us.”
“The role guys and the supporting cast on this team has been huge. They’ve been a huge factor in continuing this streak and getting points when we need them the most. The second power-play [group] has come up huge as well. That’s what we need. We have to have an all-around team effort and the guys are playing pretty good hockey.”