Flyers

No OT morale boost as Flyers leave Florida in search of any offensive answer

Flyers

The Flyers will head back to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving with a four-game losing skid.

They nearly found a way to spoil the Panthers' impressive home cooking Wednesday night. Despite never trailing in regulation, the Flyers fell a point short of what would have been a morale-boosting victory. They lost to the Panthers, 2-1, in overtime at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida.

Aaron Ekblad scored the game-winner for Florida. Joel Farabee was left defending without a stick on the play. The Flyers' winger was peeved after he appeared to have his stick deflected into the air by Ekblad moments before the goal.

"Definitely frustrating," Farabee said to reporters at FLA Live Arena. "At the end there, I thought there should have been a penalty. I get my stick whacked out of my hands, the ref's not even five feet from me and doesn't call it. A little confused but definitely not happy with a loss." 

Thirty-seven seconds before Ekblad's goal, Cam Atkinson came inches away from giving the Flyers the win but he rung iron on a backhanded attempt.

Starving for offense and better health, the Flyers are 0-2-2 in their last four games. Things don't any easier for them when they come home.

In the absences of centers Kevin Hayes (abdominal) and Derick Brassard (lower body), prospect Morgan Frost made his season debut for the Flyers (8-6-4).

The Panthers (14-2-3) had been lighting up opponents at home, scoring 4.80 goals per game through 10 matchups on their ice. They improved to 11-0-0 at home and did so without Aleksander Barkov (knee).

 

• Martin Jones, coming off a pair of losses after his 3-0-0 start, was stellar.

For the first time this season, Florida was held to without a goal through the first two periods in a game at home.

The Flyers are starting to rely a lot on their netminders. Jones had to make 43 saves on 45 shots. One of them was a highlight-reel stop on Sam Reinhart during the second period.

With his team playing the second game of a back-to-back road set, Jones was critical in the first period as the Flyers took time to find their legs. The Panthers ambushed them but couldn't push one across.

Instead, Farabee scored the game-opening goal in the first frame to calm the waters.

Aside from the overtime winner, the only other goal Jones allowed was a third-period power play marker.

Florida netminder Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 32 shots from his former club.

• The Flyers departed Florida still stuck in a concerning offensive drought.

Since Oct. 30, they've scored 1.58 goals per game, the fewest in the NHL over that span. They've gone 4-5-3 during that stretch.

Tough to win games by putting that much pressure on your goaltenders.

• In the Flyers' 18th game of the season, Frost saw his first shot with the big club.

The Flyers are ravaged by injuries down the middle of the ice and are clearly desperate for offense.

Enter Frost, who was called up under emergency conditions earlier in the day.

Considering the circumstances, the 22-year-old playmaking center did some good things in 13:44 minutes. He had a strong shift in the third period as the Flyers were aiming for the go-ahead goal. Frost finished scoreless and won five of his eight faceoffs.

The severity of Brassard's injury is to be determined and so is the length of Frost's stay. In a perfect world, the Flyers would like Frost to stay in one place for an extended period of time. It's an important season for his development following two atypical years.

In 2019-20, Frost's rookie year at the pro level was cut short because of COVID-19. After the lengthy pause, he was on the Flyers' 31-man roster for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs but did not appear in a game. In 2020-21, he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in his second game.

The Flyers want Frost in consistent environment, but he will surely force the front office's hand if he can produce offense during his call-up. At this point, any offense will keep a player in the Flyers' lineup.

• In Ryan Ellis' stead, Rasmus Ristolainen moved up to Flyers' top defensive pair alongside Ivan Provorov.

They were OK together against a high-powered team. But the Flyers dearly miss Ellis, who is out for at least a month because of a nagging lower-body injury. There's a reason why Ellis was general manager Chuck Fletcher's first move of an aggressive offseason. Without Ellis, the Flyers are not the team they envisioned having in hopes of rebounding from last year's disaster.

 

• The Flyers' power play, which entered 26th in the league at 15.1 percent, went 0 for 2.

The man advantage is 5 for its last 48.

The Flyers' penalty kill went 1 for 2.

• Former Flyer Radko Gudas, always a burly and bruising defenseman, delivered a heavy hit on his old teammate Travis Konecny in the third period. After the whistle, Gudas and the Flyers exchanged some words.

A little over a minute later, Zack MacEwen retaliated with a big shot on Gudas.

The game turned up a notch in the final stanza as Florida made its push.

• Black Friday hockey is back at the Wells Fargo Center as the Flyers host the Hurricanes (3:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Carolina entered its game Wednesday night against the Kraken at 14-2-1.

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