Flyers Show Playoff Quality Yet Again But May Have Been Dealt a Costly Injury


The Flyers don't stay down for long.

Once again, they got right back up from a tough-to-stomach loss, this time beating the Panthers, 6-2, Thursday night at BB&T Center.

Eleven different Flyers scored, led by three-point games from James van Riemsdyk (one goal, two assists) and Justin Braun (three assists). Along with van Riemsdyk, Tyler Pitlick, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Sean Couturier and Robert Hagg netted goals.

The Flyers (32-19-7) hold a four-point edge over the Hurricanes for the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot. They are one point back of third place in the Metropolitan Division and a tiebreaker out of the first wild-card berth (see standings).

The Panthers (30-21-6) lost twice to the Flyers this week, falling five points behind the orange and black in the wild-card race.

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• The sign of a postseason team is quickly burying losses or ugly performances.

The Flyers have done exactly that as the stretch run has heightened. In the games following their last six defeats, the Flyers are 6-0-0 and have outscored the opposition 31-15, while they haven't dropped consecutive games since Jan. 4-7.

"Obviously you're going to lose some of the games, but it's never about effort," Jakub Voracek said Monday. "I think we've done a good job so far this year when we hit a skid, we find a way out as soon as we can. We don't let it slide for a long period of time, which obviously haunted us in the past."

• If there was any damper on the Flyers' night, it came in the form of a potential injury to Travis Sanheim.

The 23-year-old defenseman was dinged up in the second period, favoring his leg. He played briefly during the first minute of the third period and then never took the ice again. However, Sanheim did stay on the bench throughout the final frame.

Sanheim has played big minutes for the Flyers and is projected to finish with a career-high double-digit goals. Losing him for any period of time would be costly.

• van Riemsdyk is heating up again with 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in the last 13 games. The winger has been the team's leading goal-scorer since the start of December with 12 markers and the Flyers are 20-4-0 when he records a point.

• Carter Hart was superb. He stemmed the tide with a clutch save early during the third period when the Panthers were pushing after cutting the deficit in half with goals from Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov.

Hart also converted 11 saves in the first period. On the road, the Flyers have desperately needed timely stops in the opening stanza and Hart provided them.

Florida came in scoring the NHL's third-most home goals per game with 3.82. Hart got the best of it to pick up his first road win since Nov. 10.

With the Blue Jackets last season, Sergei Bobrovsky went 4-0-0 against the Flyers. Over a span of four days this week, the Flyers took down Bobrovsky twice with six goals in four periods. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner was yanked by head coach Joel Quenneville after the first 20 minutes Thursday night.

• Now that was a quality first period in another team's building.

The Flyers, who have allowed an NHL-most 44 goals during the opening stanza on the road, chased Bobrovsky with three goals. Hart held Florida scoreless and the Flyers built momentum off of his big saves.

Goals from Pitlick and Aube-Kubel ballooned the Flyers' advantage to 3-0.

Pitlick mentioned how he could look like the 2017-18 Pitlick and the 28-year-old winger has followed through with 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in fewer than 12 minutes per game.

Aube-Kubel was called up by the Flyers out of necessity in mid-December and has kept himself here with consistent effort through 25 games. 

• Shayne Gostisbehere (left knee) missed his fourth straight contest after returning briefly Feb. 6 following a 10-game absence.

The defenseman underwent arthroscopic surgery Jan. 14 and has needed more time to feel back to 100 percent.

• A loving gesture from the Flyers.

• The Flyers stay in Florida to play the Lightning Saturday (4 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Tampa Bay is 21-2-1 since Dec. 23. However, the Lightning's leading scorers Nikita Kucherov (lower body) and Steven Stamkos (lower body) did not play in the team's 3-1 win Thursday.

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