SUNRISE, Fla. — The Flyers picked up where they left off prior to the Christmas break Thursday night with their third straight defeat, a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers.
Panthers captain Derek MacKenzie scored his first goal of the season and the fifth shorthanded goal the Flyers have allowed this season as Florida won its fourth in a row.
Jared McCann and Jonathan Huberdeau also scored for the Panthers.
Scott Laughton scored his sixth goal of the season and is now one shy of matching his career high of seven he finished with in 2015-16.
Starting his 12th straight game, Brian Elliott stopped 24 of 27 shots. Elliott is 7-4-1 during this current stretch.
Claude Giroux saw his point streak extended to six games with an assist.
The Flyers and Panthers will meet one final time on March 4 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
• It was an absolute brutal start for the Flyers’ Shayne Gostisbehere, who was whistled for an interference call just 36 seconds into the game. Vincent Trocheck collided with “Ghost,” who made it look like he lowered his shoulder to deliver contact.
• Moments later, Elliott was whistled for tripping Aleksander Barkov on a breakaway attempt. Elliott tried to poke check the puck away from Barkov. You see goalies make that play without drawing a penalty and I’m not sure Elliott actually tripped Barkov.
• The Flyers’ PK, which came into the game ranked 29th, did an excellent job of killing off 1:19 of 5-on-3 time. The Panthers had just one shot on net and another ring off the post, but the Flyers did a solid job of closing off the passing lanes.
• The Panthers struck first when McCann made a move around Wayne Simmonds and fired a snap shot from the high slot that beat Elliott low to the blocker side. Replays didn’t appear to show the puck was deflected. My biggest problem was how the Flyers just gave the Panthers a clean zone exit and allowed them to move freely in the neutral zone.
• Not sure what got Andrew MacDonald so fired up that he practically jumped Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson. Perhaps it was a slashing infraction as both guys went to the box during the matching minors as MacDonald was whistled for roughing.
• There was an irresponsible high-sticking penalty from Nolan Patrick, as the rookie raised his stick and clipped Michael Haley when neither guy was playing the puck. Hard to understand why players hold their sticks up high when there’s simply no need.
• The Flyers played a typical opening 20 minutes for a team that had a three-day Christmas vacation. They were outshot 13-5 and trailed 1-0. The skated much better once the penalties were served.
• Head coach Dave Hakstol has threw his lines into a blender as he moved Laughton onto the second line and bumped Jordan Weal to the third line. Hakstol appeared to be trying to find any combination after a lackluster first period.
• The Flyers were saved by the Panthers’ ineptitude to stay onside in the opening minute of the second period. Florida was looking at a potential 3-on-1 if Barkov hadn’t stepped over the line prematurely.
• The Flyers’ power play has been charitable when giving the opposition shorthanded chances. That was the case again when Giroux moved the puck down the boards just inside the blue line. Florida’s Colton Sceviour retrieved it to spring a 2-on-1 rush the other way. Giroux couldn’t keep up with MacKenzie, who scored on the one-timer pass from Sceviour.
• In an effort to drum up some emotion, Michael Raffl dropped the gloves with Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic. Give Raffl credit as he also drew a roughing penalty on Petrovic. The Flyers appeared lifeless in the first 30 minutes of the game.
• The Flyers couldn’t respond as the Panthers opened up a 3-0 lead when Matheson beat Robert Hagg to a loose puck to feed Nick Bjugstad. Bjugstad then fed Huberdeau for a perfectly-placed shot. Huberdeau also used Radko Gudas as a screen as Elliott was late to pick it up. The Panthers had two players in the zone to the Flyers’ four. Florida simply out-hustled the Flyers.
• Jake Voracek had an excellent opportunity to get a goal back when he broke in all alone on James Reimer. However, he couldn’t finish as it appeared Voracek was trying to go five-hole with his backhanded shot. Instead, he pulled it too much left and it deflected off Reimer’s pad.
• The Flyers finally got one back with 7:32 remaining in regulation after Aaron Ekblad broke his stick on a slap shot that sprung Travis Konecny. The Flyers capitalized as the trailer, Laughton, snapped off a perfect shot that beat Reimer just under the crossbar.
• The Flyers’ power play broke through as well when Sean Couturier redirected Gostisbehere’s shot from the point to pull them within one.
Lineups, pairings and scratches
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl-Nolan Patrick-Jakub Voracek
Dale Weise-Valtteri Filppula-Wayne Simmonds
Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Jordan Weal
Ivan Provorov-Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hagg-Andrew MacDonald
Travis Sanheim-Radko Gudas