Flyers fall to Florida in OT, winless streak hits four

Travis Konecny

The only thing standing between the Flyers and a pointless trip to Florida was goaltender Martin Jones.

Jones was nothing short of sensational on Wednesday night, stopping 43 of 45 shots initiated by the Panthers and managing to send the game into overtime.

In the OT, Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad scored  at 2:39 of the tiebreaker to send the Flyers to a 2-1 defeat, extending Philadelphia’s winless streak to four straight games.

The goal resulted in the loss for the Flyers at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Fla.

But at least the Flyers salvaged a point for the trip after suffering a 4-0 loss in Tampa on Tuesday night.

Jones turned in perhaps his best performance of the season, but it wasn’t enough as the Flyers fell to 8-6-4.

The Panthers extended their home win streak from the start of the season to 11 games, tying the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks’ NHL record.

Jones’ play certainly caught the eye of Flyers coach Alain Vigneault.

“It was a big part of us getting a point tonight,’’ Vigneault said. “We knew coming into the game that this team (Florida) likes to trade chances. They created some grade-A chances but I thought we countered real well’’

Somehow the Flyers made it out of the first period with a 1-0 lead, courtesy of Jones’ stellar goaltending and a goal from Joel Farabee.

Jones stopped all 15 Florida shots, perhaps his biggest coming on a two-on-one break with Jonathan Huberdeau as the triggerman. The rebound bounced right to Travis Konecny, who sent a stretch pass to Farabee breaking across the red line. Farabee rushed in and put a shot under goalie Sergei Bobrovsky’s right pad at 7:33.

It was just Farabee’s second goal since the third game of the season.

“It’s nice to score but when you lose it doesn’t mean anything,’’ he said. “Definitely not happy with the loss.’’

The Panthers applied pressure early in the period and then again in the closing minutes.

Jones was equally efficient in the second period but Florida’s Sam Bennett finally broke through on a power play at 3:59 of the third period to tie the score at 1-1.

“He (Jones) has played well for us all year,’’ Farabee said. “He kept us in it. Really wish we could have come out on top for him. If he keeps doing that, he’ll give us chances to win games.’’

Jones sounded pretty satisfied with the outcome, given Florida’s hot hand at home.

“I thought we did a pretty good job tonight,’’ he said. “We limited the odd-man rush stuff. We had some huge blocks tonight, some huge defensive plays.’’

All in all, it certainly was a better effort than Tuesday night’s sleepwalk in Tampa, resulting in a 4-0 loss.

“The guys in front of Jones played hard,’’ Vigneault said. “Everybody was trying to do the right thing, challenging that skill and that speed coming at you.’’

>Frost called up

With Derick Brassard sidelined by a lower-body injury, center Morgan Frost was called up from the Phantoms for his first NHL action of the season. Frost, a former first-round draft pick, registered 15 points in 16 games at Lehigh Valley.

Frost moved into Brassard’s spot on the second line with Farabee and Cam Atkinson.

Other line changes had Zack MacEwen moving up to play third line with Scott Laughton and James van Riemsdyk. The fourth line consisted of Nate Thompson centering Max Willman and Oskar Lindblom.

Defense pairings were also rearranged, with Rasmus Ristolainen moving up to play with Ivan Provorov on the first unit; Travis Sanheim skating with Nick Seeler and Keith Yandle serving alongside Justin Braun.

Asked about his feelings about the promotion, Frost said: “A lot of excitement. I got the call late last night, I wasn’t really expecting it. They pretty much just said you’re playing tomorrow night. I drove to Philly, hopped on a flight this morning. I’m really happy to be here.’’

Frost has some experience with Farabee so chemistry wasn’t a problem.

“I think we’re playing pretty well, we’re playing fast,’’ Frost said at the second intermission. “We haven’t spent too much time in the defensive zone. I think we’re just an inch or two from scoring a goal.’’

Added Vigneault: “I liked Morgan’s game tonight. He was good on the forecheck, made a couple good plays with the puck. So for him, it was definitely a step in the right direction.’’

Frost could have had a breakaway in the first period but a whistle was blown for offside. Replays showed Frost was onside.

>Short shots

The Panthers were without their top player Aleksander Barkov (knee injury).

About Wayne Fish 1501 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.