Flyers earn valuable point in shootout loss to Blues

Travis Sanheim

      PHILADELPHIA –When the standings are this close in a stretch drive for the playoffs, even one point has to be considered an acceptable consolation prize.

      The Flyers didn’t have to be reminded of this after Monday night’s 2-1 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues.

      Gaining one point moved the Flyers six points ahead of the fourth-place New York Islanders in the Metropolitan Division standings.

      Pavel Buchnevich’s goal in the fourth round of the shootout proved the difference in the 2-1 tiebreaker. Morgan Frost had the only goal in the shootout for the Flyers.

      When regulation time ended, the Flyers had plenty of scoring chances, including six in the overtime, but just couldn’t get anything past St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington.

      “He was good, I thought we probably didn’t have our best stuff,” Scott Laughton said after the game. “In the third, we made a little bit of a push, had a couple good chances but couldn’t finish. He was good tonight. It came down to a shootout, we’ll take the point and move on.”

      The Flyers now embark on a two-game road trip to Florida and will face powerhouse teams in Florida (Thursday) and Tampa Bay (Saturday).

      “We’ll get on the road where we’ve been really good,” Laughton noted. “Play a couple really good teams. It’s going to be a good test, this next month with the schedule we’ve got and the challenges we’ve got upcoming.”

      Philadelphia will have to be at its best against these tough teams.

      “I think we need to get back to being a little more aggressive on pucks,” Laughton said. “I thought we did some good things in the offensive zone (vs. St. Louis), but we’ll continue to keep on working on things and get better.”

      Ex-Flyer Kevin Hayes made his first homecoming to Philadelphia a memorable one by scoring to tie the game late in the second period. A turnover by Joel Farabee led to a solo dash by Hayes. He skated in and tried to deke past goaltender Sam Ersson. Accidentally, the puck slid off his stick and right through the goaltender’s pads at 15:47.

      Laughton’s recent scoring surge continued in the first period when he notched his 10th goal of the season.

      Ryan Poehling began the play with a rush down the right side. Goalie Jordan Binnington was able to stop the initial shot but couldn’t control the puck. Laughton, perched on the edge of the crease, watched the puck deflect off him into the net at 18:52.

      “I just tried to go there back door and try and find the lane,” Laughton said. “Lucky enough that hit off of me.”

      Although the two teams aren’t exactly in the same situation from a playoff standpoint, both wanted the two points in a bad way.

      “I think we have our own desperation at this point,” Laughton said. “A lot of teams chasing us. We need to get better at home here (the Flyers entered the game just 16-13-2 on home ice). I think that’s our main focus.”

      Defenseman Travis Sanheim also gave the performance mixed reviews.

      “I didn’t think we had our best game tonight,” he said. “We found a way to get a point. It would have been nice to get the second one.

      “At this point, we’ll take the point and move on. We have to keep getting better each and every game. These are important points. This is where we want to be, with a chance to make the playoffs.”

      Coach John Tortorella gave his team high marks.

      “What I liked about our game, with three games in four nights, I didn’t think we had the energy at times,” he said. “I’m really happy how the team responded in the third period. We found a way to get energy. We’re going to be in this situation for the next few weeks. I’m really happy how we responded.”

      Seeler leaves game twice

      Defenseman Nick Seeler was struck in the left foot by a puck in the second period and did not return until after the intermission. He played several minutes in the third period, then left the game again and this time did not return.

      “He blocks a lot of shots,” Sanheim said. “He does a lot of dirty work. He’s a key part of this team.”

      >Laughton receives his medal

      Prior to the game, St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong presented Laughton with his ring from the 2023 IIHF World Championship. Laughton was on the Canada team which won the gold medal at the international event.

      >Short shots

      The Flyers gave Hayes a nice video tribute early in the first period. Hayes received a nice ovation and stood up on the St. Louis bench, waving to the crowd to acknowledge their recognition. Hayes centered a line with Kasperi Kapanen, son of former Flyers great Sami Kapanen, on right wing. . .Travis Konecny missed his fifth straight game due to injury. The Flyers are hoping to have him back for Thursday’s game at Florida. . .Philadelphia went with 12 forwards and six defensemen.

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About Wayne Fish 2472 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.