Flyers Fall Short of Season Sweep on Panthers

This week, we have all talked about the “gauntlet” of high-caliber NFL teams that Philly will take on. First, they pick up a win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Then, they earn a point in overtime against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. They had an emotional victory over the Boston Bruins. The only thing that could have made it sweeter was a season sweep of the Florida Panthers. Unfortunately, the Flyers fall short of that season sweep with a 4-1 loss to the Panthers at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday. The brutal stretch wraps up Tuesday against the Rangers, who lead the NHL with 47 wins.

Both teams Sunday were on the second half of a back-to-back set. The Panthers played in New York and lost to the Rangers, 4-3, in a shootout. The game ended at 11:04 p.m. ET. The Flyers could not capitalize on a team who should’ve been more fatigued. Despite the loss, the Flyers still hold a playoff spot with 10 games to go. They’ve been in third place in the Metropolitan Division since the end of January. They entered Sunday with an 83.4 percent chance to make the postseason, according to Hockey-Reference.com’s probabilities report. The Capitals are the closest to the Flyers’ in the division race. Washington is two points back of the Flyers and has played two fewer games. Flyers and Caps showdown on April 16 at the Wells Fargo Center in the regular-season finale for each team.

Panthers Handling Business

Anthony Stolarz, a 2012 second-round draft pick of the Flyers, was excellent in net for Florida. Stolarz stopped 32 of the Flyers’ 33 shots. He played 19 career games for the Flyers before being traded to the Oilers in 2019.  Felix Sandstrom struggled in net for Philly. Sandstrom, making his third start of the season, converted 11 saves on 14 shots. The Panthers (46-20-5) were missing two of their better players, Aleksander Barkov (undisclosed) and Aaron Ekblad (lower body), because of injuries.

Sam Reinhart opened the scoring in the first period with his 49th goal of the season. It was a shot that Sandstrom should have stopped. Florida pounced on the early power play opportunity as Vladimir Tarasenko blasted a shot only 55 seconds into the middle period. Carter Verhaeghe delivered the backbreaking goal when he flew past rookie defenseman Adam Ginning and beat Sandstrom with a clean shot 4:43 minutes into the third period. Sam Reinhart scored an empty-netter for his 50th goal of the season for Florida’s 4th and final goal of the game.

Bobby Brink scored the lone goal for the Flyers. The team’s last-ranked power play went 1 for 5. Brink’s goal came with the Flyers’ net emptied for the 6-on-4 advantage, making it 3-1.

Where It All Went Wrong

The Flyers took costly penalties at the end of the first period when a scrum ensued following the buzzer. Brink and Cam York were hit with roughing infractions, while Matthew Tkachuk was the only Panther penalized. The Flyers were weak in coverage. Florida exited the defensive zone by connecting on a pass that an aggressive Sean Couturier tried to intercept. As a result, the Flyers’ three forwards were late to get back. It’s surprising when a team comes out on the wrong end of penalties from a scrum unless it’s blatantly obvious one side is causing more chaos. It seemed a bit lopsided. Missed opportunities hurt Philly once again. Facing a two-goal deficit, they played with more urgency but had nothing to show for it at second intermission.

The Flyers visit the Rangers on Tuesday for their first of two trips to Madison Square Garden at 7 PM.

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Al Zaffiri
Al Zaffiri

Al is one of the two co-creators of Edge of Philly Sports. Al started radio and podcasting in 2012 and covering sports in 2015. A lifelong Philly sports fan since watching the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers with his grandfathers at age 7. Al always looks at the other side of the hot topics and gives his different outlook on those topics. Web and Graphic Design.

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