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The third time was a shootout charm for the Flyers.

Behind two goals from Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux and shootout goals from Jakub Voracek and Jordan Weal, the Flyers defeated the Panthers, 6-5, Tuesday for their first win on home ice.

Which unexpected defenseman stepped up in a big way and what do you make of Dave Hakstol switching goalies with the Flyers leading by a goal in the third period? Observations from the Flyers' win at the Wells Fargo Center.

• Good to see Weal finally pick up his first goal of the season on a tip-in shot from Robert Hagg at the point. Just Weal’s second goal in his last 25 regular-season games. The difference I saw in Weal is he didn’t try to do too much, especially from a stick-handling standpoint. The dilemma facing Hakstol once Nolan Patrick returns is where does Weal go? I’m ready to sit Mikhail Vorobyev, who has been a complete non-factor over his past four games.

• You have to give Hakstol some credit for making a minor tweak to his lines, moving Scott Laughton to center and moving Michael Raffl up with Simmonds. They opened the scoring on their first shift as Laughton and Raffl won a series of board battles, and although they didn’t get credit on the scoresheet, those two forwards made the entire play possible and gave the Flyers their first goal of the game.


• I have to believe defenseman Andrew MacDonald is dealing with some sort of reoccurring injury as he told me last Friday that he came back too soon. MacDonald wasn’t out during warmups as Christian Folin took MacDonald's spot in the lineup. It was Folin who had a beautiful cross-ice lob pass to Laughton at the Panthers' blue line that led to a 2-on-1 and Simmonds' second goal of the game. Folin was considerably better than his first game in Colorado and was a plus-4 through two periods.

• It’s so impressive to watch Shayne Gostisbehere and the confidence he has to pull off high-risk plays. The highlight move from this game was when "Ghost" went to his knees to break up a Panthers breakout play from just outside the Florida zone. As he took control of the puck, Gostisbehere stick-handled his way around the defense and saucered a backhanded pass to Simmonds for the goal. It was an all-around thing of beauty from the Flyers' defenseman.

• The Flyers were completely outplayed in the opening 20 minutes. The Panthers' second line of Vincent Trocheck, Jonathan Huberdeau and Mike Hoffman was the most dominant line and controlled the play. Eventually, the Flyers yielded the first goal for the sixth straight game as Frank Vatrano took a sharp-angled shot that somehow beat Brian Elliott. I think Elliott felt he had the bottom half of the ice covered, but he clearly did not. The Panthers outshot the Flyers, 13-5, in the first period.

• Even though the Evgenii Dadonov goal was the result of a defensive breakdown, it was interesting to see Hakstol pull Elliott in favor of Calvin Pickard, who was victimized by Aleksander Barkov on a breakaway and the game-tying 5-5 goal. The Panthers scored three goals in a span of 10:36. Barkov just breezed around Radko Gudas to break in uncontested. The Elliott decision is more of a reflection of the team’s overall play, but certainly, the Flyers' goalie can’t be happy.

• Even the best players can look awful. Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, the No. 1 overall pick in 2014, had a horrendous turnover that saw Giroux swoop in and fire a shot that beat Panthers netminder Michael Hutchinson. In all, the Flyers scored five second-period goals in a span of 17:03.

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