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Cam Atkinson Snaps Goal Drought; Flyers Blank Jets, 2-0



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Sam Ersson delivered his third shutout of the year for the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night. (Photo: AP)

Cam Atkinson scored twice, and Sam Ersson made 35 saves to propel the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2-0 shutout win over the Winnipeg Jets at the Canada Life Centre on Saturday night.

There’s no argument that Atkinson needed to score more badly than any other Flyers player. The two goals were his first since Nov. 11, when the Flyers were on their California road trip. That was 26 games ago, or more than a quarter of the season, in other words. Perhaps most importantly, neither goal was the prettiest in the world.

The first came with just over five minutes to go in the first period after Ryan Poehling floated what seemed to be a harmless puck in the general direction of the net for Atkinson to punch at and deflect in. The smile of his that came out during the celebration lit up the whole Canada Life Centre as the Flyers bench erupted, waiting for him to skate by.

The second of Atkinson’s two goals came on the power play, giving the Flyers a power play goal in five straight games for the first time since the first five games of the 2022-23 season. Does anyone know the lottery numbers for tonight?

After playing catch with Cam York at the point, Morgan Frost cut inside and whipped a shot towards Connor Hellebuyck, which the superstar goaltender fortunately regurgitated for a waiting Atkinson to deposit at the front of the net. Those two greasy goals from the 34-year-old were all the Flyers needed to defeat the Jets, and most would say he’s an unlikely source of that. Still, that’s what this time of the year is all about for a half-young, half-old Philadelphia team – grinding out wins and getting contributions from everyone.

The Flyers Have Super Sam Ersson

Speaking of contributions and grinding, Ersson deserves his flowers and then some. The 24-year-old had a dreadful start to the 2023-24 season and has been so immense for this Flyers team since bouncing back. After picking up his third shutout of the season against Winnipeg, he’s now 11-5-3 on the year with a 2.33 GAA and a .910 save percentage.

If the Flyers want to roll him and Hart together, Ersson is peaking at the right time of the year. Philadelphia still has six more games to play this month, which includes one against Tampa Bay and one against Detroit. Those are two teams that are very much in the thick of this playoff race, along with the Flyers. They need both Ersson and Hart to continue to give them strong play. By doing so, the young goaltenders will help keep each other fresh as well.

Frost Responds

Since being a healthy scratch against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 4, Frost has scored two goals and two assists in five games. Three of those four points have come on the power play, which has scored a goal in each of those five games. Coincidence?

Frost played a season-high 19:23 in the absence of Sean Couturier and made it count with a power play assist on Atkinson’s second goal. It seems as though John Tortorella’s constant pushing of the 24-year-old has finally struck the right nerve, and it’s got Frost playing with his hair on fire. Whether or not Frost can keep it up is another story, but Tortorella could have just as easily force-fed minutes to Scott Laughton or Ryan Poehling if he didn’t like Frost’s game against the Jets.

He didn’t, and having a healthy, productive, and consistent top-six group is paramount for this playoff push to be successful.

Atkinson, Ersson, Frost, and the Flyers will be back in action on Monday when they travel to face the St. Louis Blues at 7 p.m.

For more Flyers news and up-to-date coverage, visit Philly Hockey Now and like our Facebook page.
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