Ersson stays unbeaten as Flyers take tight 4-3 win

Sam Ersson

At this rate the Flyers might have to think about a different No. 1 designated starting goaltender.

Following another brilliant Sam Ersson performance in Monday afternoon’s 4-3 win at Calgary, there looks like a healthy competition forming with veteran Carter Hart.

Ersson’s victory improved his record to 6-0-0, moving him into second place on the Flyers’ alltime list of consecutive victories to start a career. Only Bob Froese’s eight wins in a row to start his Flyers career in 1983 remain above Ersson.

Also, he becomes just the eighth goalie in NHL history to go 6-0-0 at the start of a career.

Wade Allison’s goal with 8:27 to play broke a 3-3 tie after Calgary had scored a pair of goals in the third period to tie the score.

The Flyers broke a four-game winless streak in the game at the Calgary Saddledome, also getting goals from Travis Konecny, Nic Deslauriers and Tony McAngelo.

Philadelphia had looked a bit lethargic and disorganized in previous 6-2 losses at Seattle and Vancouver. This was a big turnaround game.

Ersson, who made 33 saves, allowed goals from Mikael Backlund, Tyler Toffoli and Andrew Mangiapane.

The only negative development for the Flyers was an injury suffered by Konecny midway through the game.

Goaltending will be crucial down the stretch for the Flyers because they don’t score a ton of goals. Prior to this game, they had not scored four goals in a game since Jan. 28.

“Ersson was outstanding,” coach John Tortorella said after the game. “The early saves were very important. He made big saves throughout the game. They allowed us to get a lead, that was very important.

“He’s come in every time we’ve asked him to do something. He’s played very well, it’s very encouraging. Not only for the short term but the long term also.”

Ersson voiced more than a bit of modesty in post-game interviews.

“The team is playing really well in front of me,’’ Ersson said. “Blocking a ton of shots. They’re making my job as easy as they possibly can.”

Coaches and players continue to rave about Ersson’s composure in net. What’s the key to the confidence level?

“The wins certainly help,’’ he said. “The blocked shots (by the defense) give the team so much more energy.”

The first three Philadelphia goals involved defensemen. Konecny kicked things off at 16:59 of the first when DeAngelo got possession and fed to Noah Cates. The center sprung Konecny for a three-zone rush culminating with a shot past goalie Jacob Markstrom.

Defenseman Cam York jumped out of the penalty box and fed Deslauriers for a tip-in goal at 7:30 of the second. Calgary countered with a goal from Backlund at 8:55. Then Nick Seeler exited the penalty box and was part of the scoring sequence which led to DeAngelo’s 20-foot goal at 11:31.

The Flames came roaring back in the third, picking up goals from Toffoli at 4:38 and Mangiapane at 8:54.

Tortorella immediately called timeout after the Mangiapane goal and the Flyers seemed to gather their wits, leading to the go-ahead goal.

“We were just on our heels,” Tortorella said. “Give Calgary credit. They turned it up. We found a way a couple shifts after that, score a goal. That was a good win for us. I thought we really played hard, shortened bench. We bent, found some footing, grinded away and found a way to win.”

Allison scored his eighth goal of the season from close range and that proved the difference.

No doubt the Flyers needed this one after the disasters in Seattle and Vancouver.

“After that timeout we kind of regrouped,” York said. “We got our head on our shoulders. We battled hard and found a way.”

Despite giving up three goals, Ersson was spectacular throughout the game. He stopped Jonathan Huberdeau on a two-on-none rush and also turned aside several other premium scoring chances.

“Ersson was great for us,” Scott Laughton said. Told Ersson is only the eighth goalie in NHL history to go 6-0-0 to start a career, Laughton smiled and said: “That’s awesome. He played a great game for us. He’s very steady back there, a guy you want to play in front of. Good for him, I’m glad for him because he played a hell of a game.”

>Seeler to the rescue

Dennis Gilbert leveled Deslauriers with a questionable check early in the game, so Seeler dropped the gloves and immediately challenged Gilbert.

“For the full year it’s been this,’’ an appreciative Deslauriers said. “We always have people backing (each other) up. Great job by ‘Seels.’+”

Deslauriers praised York’s effort.

“I just crashed the net,” Deslauriers said of the two-on-one rush. “Hell of a play by York.”

>Konecny injured

Konecny was hit from behind by Calgary’s MacKenzie Weegar during second period action, headed straight to the Flyers’ locker room and did not return. The Flyers said Konecny suffered a upper-body injury. After the game, Tortorella said he had not received an update on the right wing’s condition.

>Short shots

Defenseman Travis Sanheim was a healthy scratch. Sanheim had played in all 57 games this season prior to sitting this one out. . .The Flyers conclude their four-game road trip when they take on the Oilers at Edmonton on Tuesday night. . .Laughton’s assist on Allison’s goal gives him a new career high for points (34).

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About Wayne Fish 2154 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.