Ersson comes through again in shootout win over Penguins

Sam Ersson

      If it’s Saturday night, goaltender Samuel Ersson must be winning another shootout decision in rather decisive fashion.

      For the second time in as many Saturdays the Flyers goalie made it through the tie-breaking session without allowing a goal. A week ago, he blanked the New York Islanders on four tries. Last night, he stopped all three Penguin attempts on the way to a 4-3 victory at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

       Sean Couturier scored the only goal in the shootout, converting on his patented spin-around move to beat goalie Tristan Jarry.

       Jake Guentzel’s second goal of the game with 20 seconds remaining in regulation time tied the score at 3-3.

       Tyson Foerster scored his third goal in two games, this one on the power play, to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead.

        Foerster scored with 6:08 to play to break a 2-2 tie. Earlier, a Scott Laughton goal had brought the Flyers back from a 2-1 deficit.

        The Flyers raised their road record to 7-4-0.

        It was the first win of the season for the Flyers after allowing an opponent to score first. Previously they were 0-9-2.

        At this rate, Ersson is going to be challenging Carter Hart for the No. 1 goaltender designation.

        “Very confident,” was the way coach John Tortorella described Ersson in his post-game comments. “You could see in each start that’s come his way, it’s more of what we saw last year as far as his mindset. I think he’s very confident, I think he has the right swagger. Started off slow but each game he’s played he’s played better. The past two shootouts he’s looked that good.”

        Foerster sent a rising shot past Jarry for the go-ahead goal.

        “Tyson has just gone about it,” Tortorella said. “He scores the shootout goal (in New York). Gets a couple tips (against New Jersey). Now he scores on the power play. I’m hoping that he just keeps on going. The strength in his game was missing and that’s the goal-scoring. But he’s done everything else. That’s why he stays in the lineup.”

        Foerster certainly didn’t let a slow start to the season get him down.

       “I think I’ve been playing pretty good,” he said in the understatement of the week.

        Laughton’s first goal in 13 games tied the game at 2-2 at 7:01 of the second period. Laughton raced Evgeni Malkin to the right cicle, won the footrace and sent a shot past Jarry.

        It was Laughton’s first goal in 13 games (just his second of the season).

        “I think Laughton has struggled until the past two or three games,” Tortorella said. “I think he just decided he’s going to make a difference in his game and try to find a way to help us and he’s done that.”

        Apparently Malkin had taken a long shift and Laughton took advantage of it.

`       Added Laughton: “I didn’t know he was out there three minutes but I knew he was out there for a little bit of time. Luckily it went in. Big goal for our group. It was nice to contribute and be a part of this win.”

        Pittsburgh’s go-ahead goal came about in somewhat controversial fashion at 1:50 of the third period. Guentzel was clearly in the Flyers’ crease when he used his skate to direct Erik Karlsson’s right-circle shot into the net.

        Ersson made the start for the first time in a non-back-to-back when Hart was healthy.

        After a scoreless first period, defenseman Kris Letang scored the first goal of the game at 14:31. The Pittsburgh defenseman blocked Travis Sanheim’s clear attempt, then sent a shot off Sanheim’s stick blade that deflected past Ersson.

        Owen Tippett scored on a breakaway at 16:47 to tie the score. Foerster intercepted a Pittsburgh pass and sent Tippett racing in. He went to his backhand for a shot past Tristan Jarry.

        Tippett had gone forehand on a previous breakaway but he said that really had nothing to do with going backhand on the goal. It was more just circumstance and feeling defensive pressure on his forehand side.

        “I think you always want to give them a different look,” he said. “I think on both those it was just pressure. First one, guy was on my left side and didn’t have much of a backhand (chance). It was the exact opposite on the goal there.”

      At that point, Philadelphia was in comeback mode, much like they were in the closing minutes of Thursday night’s New Jersey game when they scored twice in the last five minutes to tie the game at 3-3 and sent it into overtime.

      That was a big sequence in Joel Farabee’s mind.

      “I felt like a lot of times last year where we were in those scenarios to tie it, we never got it so it gives the guys a lot of confidence,” Farabee said at the morning skate.  “Hopefully we can take that momentum into tonight.”

      Tippett indicated during the second intermission his team was playing a fairly smart road game.

      “I think we were doing a good job of getting pucks behind them,” he said. “Using our legs and creating offensively to get it down there.”

      >Short shots

      The two teams meet again in Philadelphia on Monday night.

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About Wayne Fish 2452 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.