Hathaway’s late goal gives Flyers 2-1 win over Florida

Garnet Hathaway

      SUNRISE, Fla. – Considering the Flyers had three defensemen on the injury list and another had just been traded away, the Flyers’ effort against the NHL’s No. 1 Florida Panthers on Thursday night deserved an A-plus.

       With two rookies (Ronnie Attard, Adam Ginning) on their back line, the Flyers’ kept the home team’s high-powered offense mostly in check and went on to a 2-1 win at Amerant Bank Arena.

      Garnet Hathaway scored the winning goal with 21.3 seconds to play as the Flyers ended Florida’s six-game winning streak.

      Coach John Tortorella indicated this was a “team” win in the truest sense of the word.

      One day after trading one of their top defensemen, Sean Walker, to Colorado, it was business as usual. The Flyers won here for the second time in a month. Not many teams can make that claim.

      “I think they care and I think they believe,” said Tortorella of his players after the Flyers rebuilt their lead to six points over the idle fourth-place (Metropolitan Division) New York Islanders. “That’s the only way we’re going to keep ourselves going here. It’s the belief of how we play and play as a team.

      “It’s more important than just ‘Walks’ going, he was a hell of a player for us. We’re banged up back there so that just forces you to accept that you have to be a team. I think that’s the biggest strength of our room. They know what they are. I think that’s really important when you get into the short strokes of the season here.”

      Added Ryan Poehling: “It was a big game tonight, regardless of what happens with team dynamics and stuff. It’s a hard building to play in. For us to do that (win twice at Amerant Bank Arena) is awesome.”

      Hathaway liked the way his team responded after an eventful day.

      “I think it (the win) just reinforces that belief within this room,” he said. “We can play anyone any night. For some reason we find our game a little quicker on the road (now 17-10-5). We play with a better speed. When we play those top teams, we know we have to match their speed.”

      Goaltender Samuel Ersson played one of his best games of the season and enjoys the challenge when playing some of the NHL’s best netminders.

      “I think that’s what you want to do,” he said. “You know going into the game. You like that challenge, you know who’s playing on the other side. You want to beat those guys. It gives a little extra motivation if it’s needed.

      Although the Flyers played through a scoreless first period, they needed only 10 seconds in the second to take the initial lead.

      Shortly after the first faceoff, defenseman Cam York spotted Ryan Poehling cutting down the left side. The center broke through, then flicked a shot past goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

      Florida tied the score at 7:12 when defenseman Gustav Forsling’s long shot through a screen eluded Ersson.

       Although the Flyers were outshot by a 12-5 margin in the first period, it was a bit of a moral victory because they held the Panthers scoreless. For the season, Florida entered the game having outscored opponents by a combined 61-39 in the opening session.

      Poehling was involved with Hathaway’s winning goal. It had to be pretty cool to knock off the team with the best record in the league in the final seconds on their home ice.

      “That was sweet,” Poehling admitted. “We did a good job all night getting pucks low to high. For us to get rewarded like that was definitely fun.”

      >Attard-Ginning tandem debuts

      With Nick Seeler sidelined by a foot injury, Walker traded to Colorado and Rasmus Ristolainen and Jamie Drysdale already on the injured list, the pairing of Attard and Ginning made its season debut in this game.

      Prior to this season, Attard had played 17 games for the Flyers and Ginning one. They’ve been regular partners on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, so it made sense putting the twosome together for this game.

      Ginning looked quite comfortable, especially when the forwards frequently got back to help out.

      “I just tried to play aggressive,” he said. “It’s easy to play with Ronnie, too. We’ve played a lot together last season and this season.

      “The forwards did a very good job with that (backchecking). That made it easier for us.”

      >Penalty kill best in NHL

      The Flyers’ penalty kill continues to keep them in games where they face a lot of power plays. Heading into Thursday night’s game, the Flyers’ penalty kill was rated No. 1 in the NHL at 86.5 percent.

      >Short shots

      Travis Konecny returned to action after missing six games due to injury. . .The Flyers have Friday off, then take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night at Amalie Arena. . .Scott Laughton entered the game needing six hits to pass Wayne Simmonds for the all-time franchise lead. Laughton had totaled 1,103. . .Tortorella expressed his approval of the decision to sign Nick Seeler to a four-year, $10.8-million contract extension. “He’s a Flyer,” Tortorella said. “If there’s one guy who symbolizes what we want our group to be, it’s (Seeler). We weren’t looking to try to move him, always have to listen, but we’re thrilled he’s on board and I think he is, too. Without saying a word, he can the young kids what it’s all about.” . . .Tyson Foerster’s penalty shot goal back on March 2 gave the Flyers for the season. That’s the most in a single season in NHL history. The old mark of four was held by the 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes, the 2003-04 Minnesota Wild and the 1997-98 Vancouver Canucks. . .Bobby Brink was a healthy scratch by the Flyers.

Avatar photo
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.