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Flyers Takeaways: Hathaway, Ersson Play Hero in Dramatic Win



Philadelphia Flyers news
Garnet Hathaway scored the game-winning goal for the Philadelphia Flyers with 21.2 seconds remaining. (Photo: AP)

Talk about a statement win; after a dreary first period, the Philadelphia Flyers, led by Garnet Hathaway and Sam Ersson, bounced back for the final two frames to escape Sunrise with a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers at Amerant Bank Arena on Thursday night.

The Flyers were outshot 13-6 to open the game, and Ersson stopped all 13 of those shots to help the Flyers escape to the first intermission tied at 0-0. Ersson faced 17 shots over the last two periods, so his staying strong to start the game had quite the impact going forward.

But, it wasn’t just Ersson that the Flyers needed.

Flyers’ rookie defensemen stand tall

The Sean Walker trade left the Flyers even more short-handed on the blueline than normal, with Nick Seeler headed to injured reserve. Seeler joined Jamie Drysdale and Rasmus Ristolainen on the shelf, but it didn’t matter on Thursday night.

Adam Ginning and Ronnie Attard, two recent call-ups from the AHL Lehigh Valley Phantoms, stepped up to the plate and delivered.

Ginning played 18:13 and Attard played 17:24, which were fifth and sixth-most amongst Flyers players, respectively. Cam York and Travis Sanheim led the way in the ice time category, as they usually do, and Egor Zamula had a strong performance in his 20:20 as well.

Aside from those three, only Travis Konecny (18:25) played more than Ginning and Attard.

This is going to be a crucial time for both young defensemen, as Ginning is a free agent in July and Attard has one year remaining on his deal after this. For the Flyers, being down so many defensemen is a blessing in a way because it allows them to evaluate these two players to see what they have for the future.

So far, so good, for Ginning and Attard.

Flyers’ third line playing playoff hockey

Ryan Poehling, assisted by York and Sanheim, cracked the game open just 10 seconds into the second period, cutting hard to the net and lifting a shot past Sergei Bobrovsky on the short side. Poehling’s shot and hands aren’t always there, but the speed is.

In this game and against the St. Louis Blues, Poehling used those wheels to help create a chance and buy the Flyers a cheap goal in the blue paint.

Come playoff time, those are the chances that decide games, and the 25-year-old’s eighth goal of the season helped do just that on Thursday night.

Poehling’s linemate, Hathaway, put the game to bed with 21.2 seconds left on the clock, emphatically burying a Marc Staal rebound at the side of the net for a dramatic finish for the cardiac Flyers.

And, it wasn’t just Staal’s long-range shot, which created the rebound, that caused the goal. Noah Cates, the third member of this dangerous line, did all the hard work below the dots with his puck protection along the boards.

Cates cycled the puck to Hathaway, Hathaway rimmed the puck to Staal, Staal takes the shot, Hathaway wins the game with an empty net to shoot at. That’s your game-winning goal, folks.

Ersson for Calder?

Ersson might not have the most mind-blowing numbers out there, but after a dismal start to the 2023-24 season, the 24-year-old has been as good as the Flyers could have asked for.

Pressed into duty as a full-time starter under thankless circumstances, all Ersson has done is win 18 games and earn three shutouts. The Swede was up to his usual tricks against Florida, stopping 29 of 30 shots en route to a .967 save percentage and a massive Flyers win.

Ersson’s back-door save on Sasha Barkov is one chance that certainly sticks out, and in this kind of game, every goal and every chance mattered. Ersson won his reps, and the Flyers won the game. Consistency and timeliness matters, and Ersson has had both for virtually the entire season.

The Flyers will go as far as Ersson takes them.

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