Connect with us

Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers Takeaways: Ersson Bounces Back, Frost for Selke?



Philadelphia Flyers news
Garnet Hathaway has provided a new element to the Philadelphia Flyers' third line. (Photo: AP)

The Philadelphia Flyers improved to 5-1-1 since the All-Star break after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-1, at the United Center on Wednesday night.

Connor Bedard made his first career appearance against the Flyers on Wednesday but was held in check virtually the entire night. It was Colin Blackwell who scored Chicago’s only goal, and Bedard played no part in making it happen.

At the other end, Travis Sanheim, Travis Konecny, and Garnet Hathaway scored for the Flyers, and it was Konecny’s 27th of the year that stands as the game-winner. For a player who’s carried the load all season, Konecny’s solo effort to go end-to-end and score over Arvid Soderblom’s shoulder was fitting.

Frost Shuts Down Bedard

Morgan Frost doesn’t get talked about enough in bigger hockey circles. On Wednesday night, he played the most against Bedard out of any other Flyers center, and the results were incredible.

Frost played 9:27 of his 16:27 against Bedard and out-shot the Blackhawks 12-10 during that time, per Natural Stat Trick. Bedard and the Blackhawks did have four high-danger chances during that time, but none of those ended up in the net.

Frost also made quick work of Chicago’s other studs, like Alex Vlasic, Kevin Korchinski, and Seth Jones. The Flyers out-shot them 12-3, 11-6, and 14-8, respectively, when No. 48 was on the ice.

It was a standout night overall for Philadelphia’s top line, which now consists of Frost, Konecny, and Joel Farabee. At 5-on-5, they out-shot the Blackhawks 23-9, putting on a display of true dominance at the United Center. Konecny scored a goal, and together, the trio produced nine scoring chances to Chicago’s four. That’s not a bad body of work for a night.

Ersson Bounces Back

Prior to puck drop, I was concerned that the Flyers were starting to overwork Sam Ersson after it was revealed he would make his fourth straight start. Well, the 24-year-old responded with his best performance of those four starts.

This was the first time in the last four starts that Ersson finished with a save percentage over .900, dropping a .955 with 21 saves on 22 shots.

Ersson didn’t have a ton of work to do against a Blackhawks team that was clearly inferior, but he made the saves that were asked of him. Some memorable stops that come to mind are the glove save robbery of Taylor Raddysh in the first period and a left-pad save on Philipp Kurashev in the final frame.

Overall, the Flyers’ new No. 1 netminder finished with 1.47 goals saved above expected, per Moneypuck. After the results update in the morning, that’ll place Ersson over the likes of Igor Shesterkin and Ilya Sorokin for total goals saved above expected on the season.

For a player who wasn’t even guaranteed to make the Flyers five months ago, Ersson’s run in the crease has been nothing short of remarkable.

Third Line Getting it Done

No Tyson Foerster, no problem for these surging Flyers.

Their third line, which now consists of Hathaway, Ryan Poehling, and Noah Cates, has been putting in the hard work since being united last week. Hathaway, of course, scored the goal, but he was assisted by Cates (primary) and Poehling (secondary) to help put the game away for Philadelphia.

Hathaway’s goal was as simple as crashing the crease and swatting home a rebound, but that’s something the Flyers need more of. If their M.O. is going to be shooting through traffic for rebounds and such, there needs to be players getting to the crease in order to seal the deal.

Together, the three weren’t overly impressive at 5-on-5, having gotten out-shot 12-11, but all six of their scoring chances were high danger chances. The Flyers’ defense left a lot of open gaps in transition on Wednesday night, so the scoring chances against aren’t necessarily concerning.

Nick Seeler also spent five minutes in the box after fighting Reese Johnson, which threw the defense pairings out of whack for a while.

What is encouraging is that the Flyers have found a checking line that can do the work offensively and defensively. Those six high danger scoring chances they created reflect that. It will be interesting to see how this dynamic changes when Foerster returns.

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

Get PHHN+ today!

Get PhHN in Your Inbox

Enter your email address to get all of our posts sent directly to your inbox.

Flyers Cap Info

Copyright © 2023 National Hockey Now and Philadelphia Hockey Now. In no way affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers or the National Hockey League.