The Philadelphia Flyers careened to five consecutive losses before the All-Star break.
The time off certainly helped.
After regrouping with a 2-1 win against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, Philadelphia will attempt to ride its newfound momentum on Thursday when it faces the host Winnipeg Jets.
Travis Konecny and Noah Cates each scored one goal, goaltender Samuel Ersson made 20 saves and the Flyers overcame a slow start to earn the much-needed victory against Florida.
“I thought we played a good two periods,” Philadelphia coach John Tortorella said. “The last two periods, we played better. We were just watching them play. We needed to get back to our personality — and that was not it. … We have a good team, a team that’s willing. We just need the right mindset that we can play with these teams. Take a chance. We cannot be safe.”
With Carter Hart out indefinitely due to personal reasons, Ersson is now the Flyers’ No. 1 goaltender.
On Jan. 27, Ersson allowed four goals in the first period against the Boston Bruins. Since then, he has been solid for the most part, as evidenced by Tuesday’s performance against the Panthers.
“It felt nice to come back, especially after that Boston game,” Ersson said. “It was important for me to bounce back, to show that. Good win for us, huge coming out of the break and kind of kicking off this second half of the season.”
Despite boasting 30 wins, the Jets will arrive in Philadelphia on a rare four-game losing streak.
The Jets fell 4-1 to the Bruins, lost 1-0 and 4-2 in consecutive games against the Toronto Maple Leafs and then came up flat in a 3-0 defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.
The high-flying Jets scored only three goals in those four losses.
“The similarity in the four games is our inability to score,” Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness said. “We’re not getting outplayed. We’re just not scoring right now.”
The Jets will be without defenseman Brenden Dillon after the NHL suspended him for three games without pay on Wednesday evening for an illegal check to the head of Pittsburgh forward Noel Acciari.
Dillon, 33, had a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Wednesday. Based on his average annual salary, he will forfeit $60,937.50 under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The loss and the injury to Acciari overshadowed the Jets debut of center Sean Monahan, who was acquired last Friday from the Montreal Canadiens.
Monahan is expected to have a big role with the Jets.
“I liked his game,” Bowness said. “He uses his wingers well. Makes really smart plays with the puck. He’s reliable. Again, for our first game after a break, very happy with his game.”
The Jets did receive a lift from Mark Scheifele, who returned after missing six games with a lower-body injury. Scheifele nearly got on the board in the third period, but the goal was nullified when the play was ruled offsides after a coach’s challenge by the Penguins.
It was one of many stellar scoring chances for Winnipeg.
“We had a ton of good looks. (Tristan Jarry) made some big saves,” Scheifele said. “They blocked a lot of shots, had some good sticks. I don’t think it’s anything to get frustrated about. We made a lot of good plays. We had a lot of good entries. Nothing to be frustrated about there.”
–Field Level Media
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