The Florida Panthers definitely did not capitalize on their best road trip of this season so far as they fell behind by three goals before the midway point of the third and lost 3-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers at BB&T Center on Tuesday night.
The Panthers came into the night with wins in consecutive games for the third time this season; the loss means Florida will continue to wait for its first three-game winning streak of a season which will surpass the quarter pole Saturday.
Philadelphia took the initial lead midway through the first and didn’t look back as Wayne Simmonds blasted up the ice after Derek MacKenzie won a faceoff yet Keith Yandle couldn’t handle the bouncing puck.
Simmonds snagged it, raced through the Florida zone and roofed a shot past goalie Roberto Luongo to make it 1-0.
MacKenzie and Simmonds had plenty of words soon after but after being separated, nothing came of it.
“It was bouncing, hit my skate and was one of those things that just happened very quickly,” Yandle said. “I tried to bat it down; you hate to give the 2-on-1 to Luongo. It will keep me up tonight. [Simmonds] is a good player, sometimes when you get bounces and capitalize on them, you win. We didn’t. Hopefully we will next game.”
The Flyers made it a 2-0 game in the second after Brayden Schenn got things going by picking off a Jussi Jokinen turnover at center ice and getting it to Travis Konecky whose shot was blocked by Luongo.
Unfortunately, the rebound went long and no Florida player was able to sweep it out of the way and Dale Weise pounced for his first goal of the season.
“There are no easy games in this league but you hope to come in off the road and win that first game,” Florida coach Gerard Gallant said. “I thought we played OK, but we didn’t play inside people. We had some chances, but didn’t get in the dirty areas where you have to score.”
Nick Cousins made it 3-0 on Philadelphia’s 24th shot of the night 7:04 into the third. Florida didn’t score until Reilly Smith deflected Jonathan Marchessault’s shot with 1:51 remaining.
Philadelphia goalie Steve Mason, who gave up three goals on 18 shots to the visiting Lightning on Saturday, made 38 saves against the Panthers on Tuesday in earning his eighth win against Florida in 13 games.
“It’s a tough one because we took almost 40 shots, but a lot of them he saw,” Yandle said. “Sometimes you run into a hot goalie. You have to tip your cap. We did some good things. But when we made a mistake, they capitalized. That is what helped them win.”
Added Gallant: “He saw them all and that was the problem. We need more people in front of the net. We had a lot of shots, lot of opportunities just didn’t have enough people in front.”