Foerster nets pair to spark Flyers’ 4-2 win

Tyson Foerster

PHILADELPHIA – If Tyson Foerster wasn’t in consideration for NHL rookie of the year honors before Saturday night’s Flyers-Ottawa Senators game, he is now.

Foerster scored twice, including one on a penalty shot, to lead the Flyers to a 4-2 win at the Wells Fargo Center.

A goal by Foerster with 46.1 seconds left in the second period broke a 1-1 tie. Then, with time running out in the period, Foerster’s speed created a breakaway. He didn’t score on the solo effort but officials awarded a penalty shot with 1.5 seconds left on the clock.

On the penalty shot, Foerster skated in slowly, froze goaltender Mads Sogaard, then planted a shot shot just inside the right post. Shane Pinto was the guilty party on the original play.

That was Foerster’s 16th goal of the season and sixth marker in the last four games. Pending Saturday night’s NHL game results, Foerster stood just one off the rookie goal lead shared by Chicago’s Connor Bedard and Minnesota’s Marco Rossi.

At the beginning of the season, Foerster needed 15 games to get his first goal and pucks just weren’t going in the net.

Now they just can’t say out.

“You just got to keep playing, I had a bunch of chances early in the year,” Foerster said. “They just weren’t going in. Now they’re starting to.”

All of these scoring heroics are taking place in the middle of a hectic drive for the playoffs, which makes everything more meaningful.

“These are obviously huge games,” Foerster said. “We’re a young group and we just want to build for the next couple years. We’re looking at this season and we think we can make the playoffs and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Joel Farabee set the screen on the first Foerster goal. He believes the kid is the real deal.

“For him, I think he’s finding those little areas of the ice where he can score goals,” Farabee said. “He has the unbelieveable shot. I feel like he’s really finding those areas for him to shoot. The penalty shot play, he breaks up a play in the D-zone. . .great play. He does all the little things right. He just keeps getting better from there.”

Added Tortorella: “On the penalty shot, he made a great defensive play at their blue line. He’s done that all year long. Pucks are starting to go in for him. He’s had a good run here. I’ve been looking to him the whole time because he was getting chances. They just weren’t going in for him. He’s also one of our best defensive players.”

For the past couple weeks, the Flyers have developed a habit of scoring early in games and this match was no exception.

Farabee needed only 1:08 to keep the trend going. Nick Seeler’s point shot deflected off Farabee past Soogard. The Flyers finished the game 24-6-3 when putting the game’s first puck in the net.

That goal ended a 14-game scoring drought for Farabee.

“It felt like it gave me a lot of confidence throughout the game,” Farabee said. “We have that confidence we’re still in this thing. We’re making that push. When you have young guys playing as well as they are, it gives a boost of confidence to everybody. Playing meaningful games is really important to this group.

Scoring in a big game during a playoff drive might carry a little extra weight, too.

The start of the second period looked a bit like Friday night’s game in Washington when the Flyers jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period but then struggled in the second.

In Saturday night’s game, the Flyers surrendered a goal to Ottawa’s Vladimir Tarasenko at 4:04, then stood around and watched the Senators take a bunch of potshots at goaltender Felix Sandstrom, making his first start of the season..

Only the late-period heroics by Foerster saved the day.

Ottawa scored with a couple minutes to play but the Flyers got an empty-net goal from Cam York with less than a second left on the clock.

>Strong debut for Sandstrom

It’s been a long road for Sandstrom in his pro hockey career. To his credit, he didn’t give up when he lost the backup job to Sam Ersson this season. Saturday night’s win was rather important.

“It’s a pretty awesome feeling to win here,” Sandstrom said. As for not playing here since last April, he added: “I don’t think that’s something I focus on. I just try to focus on the things I can affect. I think that felt good today.”

Tortorella sounded pleased that Sandstrom is getting a second chance after the Swede was basically dismissed back in Octorber.

“The thing I like is he closed the game out,” the coach said. “I think that was his next step. I thought that was his struggles when we had him here last year, was closing games out. Made some key saves at key times. He looked confident.

>Short shots

Cam Atkinson, scratched the two previous games, returned to the lineup and Olle Lycksell sat this one out. . .The Flyers get back into action on Monday when they play host to the St. Louis Blues. . . Tortorella’s 736th career win leaves him one victory from tying longtime NHL coach Daryl Sutter for ninth place on the alltime list.

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About Wayne Fish 2426 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.