Observations from Flyers’ escape against Panthers: The good, the bad, the ugly
The Flyers blew a 5-2 lead but rebounded for a 6-5 shootout win Tuesday against Florida.
The Flyers escaped with a 6-5 shootout win Tuesday over visiting Florida, but there were lots of areas that were uglier than the team's new mascot.
Here are the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The Flyers erupted for five goals in a dazzling second-period outburst. The problem was, it was their only good 20 minutes of regulation.
More good: Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux (eight shots) each had two goals, center Jordan Weal and defenseman Christian Folin showed they deserve to stay in the lineup, Travis Konecny (assist, four shots) was in the middle of several scoring chances, and relief goalie Cal Pickard allowed just one goal in three shootout attempts.
Weal has replaced injured Nolan Patrick as the No. 2 center, Patrick might return Thursday in Columbus. If he does, don't be surprised if Weal or Scott Laughton is used as the third-line center, with one of them moving to left wing on that unit.
Weal had a goal, an assist, the decisive shootout tally, and nine wins in 13 faceoff draws (69 percent) Tuesday.
Rookie center Mikhail "Misha" Vorobyev was ineffective and played just 8:04; he was dropped from the third to fourth line early in the second period and might be out of the lineup Thursday.
For the last two-plus periods, the new-look third line had Laughton centering Michael Raffl and Simmonds. Vorobyev moved to left wing on the fourth line.
"I thought we needed a bit more from Misha," coach Dave Hakstol said. "You can't wait and hope, so we [made a change] … that could give us a boost. Misha is a young guy, he's got a lot of things to learn, and it takes a little pressure off of him to go and play left wing – lesser minutes, but it still allows him to keep learning and push forward."
As for Folin, he replaced Andrew MacDonald (healthy scratch) and contributed an assist, four hits, and a plus-4 rating, equaling a career best.
Goalie Brian Elliott was pulled early in the third period after allowing four goals on 23 shots. Elliott took a step forward with a terrific performance in Saturday's 1-0 loss to Vegas, but he took two steps back Tuesday. Playing behind an inconsistent defense, he has a 4.04 goals-against average and .874 save percentage.
More bad: Ivan Provorov (minus-2) and Shayne Gostisbehere (minus-1), the Flyers' No. 1 pairing, struggled on the defensive side. Evgeni Dadonov went around Gostisbehere to get Florida within 5-4 early in the third period, a goal that caused Hakstol to yank Elliott.
The Flyers were outworked, outshot (12-5), and outscored (1-0) in the first period. They have allowed the first goal in all six games this season — and have been outscored, 9-4, in the opening period.
"We have to do a better job to be prepared," Simmonds said. "They came out hot, and they played really well in the first period."
After the Flyers erupted in the second period, shaky goaltending, shoddy defensive play, and the absence of a killer instinct enabled Florida to overcome a 5-2 deficit and tie the score.
"I thought we sat back too much in the third and kind of let them get speed through the neutral zone," Laughton said. "They got a couple odd-man rushes and created chances off of it."
"We didn't play the right way in the first 10 minutes of the third period," Hakstol said. "We gave up two breakaways and a Grade A chance from the slot — and that's all it takes. To our players' credit, they regained composure in the last 10 minutes of the third" and controlled most of the overtime.