Flyers analysis

A day before NHL trade deadline, Flyers pick up 10th win over top-10 team

The Flyers beat the NHL-best Panthers on the road for the second time in 31 days

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If the Flyers wanted to make things a little bit harder on Danny Briere at the NHL trade deadline, they did it Thursday night.

John Tortorella's club found a way to beat the NHL-leading Panthers, 2-1, at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Florida.

A day after placing a third defenseman on injured reserve and trading away another, the Flyers still knocked off the top team in the league.

Garnet Hathaway collected a rebound and flushed it for the game-winning goal with 21.3 seconds left.

Ryan Poehling scored the other goal for the Flyers (33-23-8), who never trailed in the game.

The Panthers (43-17-4) have lost only three times in their last 19 games. Two of those losses are to the Flyers, both 2-1 decisions at Amerant Bank Arena.

The Flyers face Florida one more time March 24 in Philadelphia. This is a gauntlet of a month for the Flyers. Eight of their 11 remaining games in March come against teams holding a playoff spot.

• One win isn't going to completely sway Briere ahead of Friday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.

The Flyers, of course, are not buyers. But that kind of victory might make the general manager think just a tad more about whether he sells off another piece to supplement the club's future.

On Wednesday, Briere traded Sean Walker to the Avalanche and signed Nick Seeler to a four-year contract extension. Now, Scott Laughton is his biggest question leading up to the deadline.

For various reasons, Laughton should be in high demand. The heart-and-soul Flyer had a gutsy effort Thursday night. After missing Wednesday's practice because of an illness, he blocked a shot with five seconds left to help nail down the Flyers' win.

He's playing his best hockey of the season and giving the Flyers a really tough call.

More: Trade or keep Laughton? Soft sellers? Dissecting Flyers' outlook at deadline

Flyers head coach John Tortorella spoke to the media after his team's 2-1 win over the Panthers.

• The Flyers, in third place of the Metropolitan Division, entered Thursday with a 67.4 percent chance to make the postseason, according to's probabilities report.

They fueled their surprise playoff push with a win over the Panthers. They now have 10 victories over top-10 teams.

"I don't really think of measuring sticks," Travis Konecny said Wednesday. "I just think we've proven that we're a good team. There's no, like, 'Should we be there? Should we not?' It's just we're a good team, let's believe we're where we are for a reason, doesn't matter who we're playing."

The Flyers had to be pumped to see the return of Konecny, who missed the previous six games because of an upper-body injury. The team's leading scorer was his active self in 18:25 minutes.

"He's probably one of the biggest pieces we have the way he has played this year, all the situations we put him in," Tortorella said Wednesday. "He has been missed sorely."

• Samuel Ersson was excellent, converting 29 saves on 30 shots.

He stopped all 13 he faced in the first period.

After Poehling broke the ice just 10 seconds into the second period, Gustav Forsling put a shot through traffic a little over seven minutes later to draw Florida even.

But that was all Ersson would allow, picking up his second win over the Panthers in the last 31 days.

Since the bye week and All-Star break, the 24-year-old has gone 6-3-2 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .908 save percentage.

Florida netminder Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 24 of the Flyers' 26 shots.

The Flyers Postgame Live crew broke down the team's huge 2-1 win over the Panthers.

• The Flyers' win was particularly impressive considering how inexperienced the team was on defense.

With Walker traded and Seeler, Jamie Drysdale and Rasmus Ristolainen on injured reserve, four of the Flyers' six defensemen in the lineup Thursday night were 24 years old or younger. Two of them, Ronnie Attard and Adam Ginning, were making their season debuts with the big club.

The Flyers played a hard game defensively, blocking 29 shots. That was without Seeler, the NHL's leader in blocked shots.

The 30-year-old considered himself week to week. He suffered his injury Monday when a shot hit him in the area of his left ankle and foot.

"When I want to get back is as soon as I can," Seeler said Thursday in a Zoom press conference. "I took a shot in a tough spot. Hoping to get back as soon as I can. I hate being out."

But he was thrilled to stay a Flyer.

"To have a four-year extension in a place that you love so much," Seeler said, "it means everything."

• After Friday's trade deadline, the Flyers face the Lightning on Saturday in Tampa Bay, Florida (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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