Ersson blanks Red Wings, Flyers push point streak to 8 games

Ersson blanks Red Wings, Flyers push point streak to 8 games originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Samuel Ersson needed little run support in leading the Flyers to a 1-0 win Saturday night over the Red Wings at the Wells Fargo Center.

The shutout was his second of the season and third of his career.

Cam York scored for the Flyers (17-10-3), who are on an eight-game point streak (6-0-2).

John Tortorella's club is 7-1-2 in its last 10 games and 12-3-2 since its Nov. 7 loss to the previously-winless Sharks.

"Now we've added some transition, we're trying to play more of a riskier type of game, but you still have to have some grind," the head coach said of his team's defensive performance Saturday night. "As you go through it, we're going to have to find ways to win, so it's really good that we're doing it early here."

The rebuilding Flyers have surprised many in 30 games. They're in second place of a tight Metropolitan Division.

In 2019-20, the last time they made the playoffs, the Flyers were 17-8-5 through 30 games.

“We haven’t had many of these moments throughout the last couple of years, haven’t had that real good feeling around the room or around the Wells Fargo," Scott Laughton said Friday after practice. "You can feel the energy in the building every night, the way we’re going and just everything around."

The Flyers didn't have No. 1 defenseman Travis Sanheim, who missed the game because of an illness.

They face the Red Wings (15-11-4) two more times this season, with both matchups in Detroit.

• Ersson made his third straight start and finished with 33 saves.

The 24-year-old Swedish native won two of those three outings. The loss came in overtime on the road Tuesday against the Predators.

He was really strong late in the game Saturday night.

"It was a special game for me, it was the first time my family got to see me play in the NHL," Ersson said. "It was definitely huge to be able to get the shutout."

Ersson is 7-1-1 with a 1.84 goals-against average and .930 save percentage over his last nine starts. His resurgence has been impressive after a shaky start to the season.

"Remember how he started, it was tough sledding for him for a bit there and he readily admitted it," Tortorella said. "That’s what I like about Sam. I remember listening to him when he had some struggles, he knew that he needed to be better, he knew he was better."

Carter Hart was able to back up after missing Thursday's game. The Flyers' No. 1 goalie revealed he had to seek medical attention to diagnose an illness that has periodically plagued him "for a while."

He was relieved to have found answers.

"I used to never get sick and now I think I've been sick three times in the last month, so something is going on," the 25-year-old said Saturday morning. "It's good that we got to the bottom of it and figured it out. Now I can take the right steps to treat it and fix it and feel better going forward."

Alex Lyon, who spent five seasons in the Flyers' organization, mostly with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, was in net for Detroit. He had to exit the game in the second period after suffering an injury while making a save.

The 31-year-old finished with 14 saves on 15 shots.

Ville Husso stopped 18 shots in relief.

• York gave the Flyers their all-important first goal of the game when he executed a nice give-and-go play with Travis Konecny.

"That was a play that we talked about before the game," York said. "Right before the faceoff, talked about it and had good execution."

Tyson Foerster had an assist on the goal, as well.

The Flyers improved to 15-1-0 when they open the game's scoring.

Sean Couturier blocked a powerful shot early in the third period. He was in pain when he got to the bench but stayed in the game.

"He has missed too much hockey, he doesn’t want to miss a shift," Tortorella said. "He’s a pro. ... Doesn’t say a lot, but when he does speak on the bench, people listen."

• Tortorella and assistant coach Rocky Thompson promoted Joel Farabee to one of the power play units.

The 23-year-old winger is tied with Konecny for the team lead in even strength goals at 11.

The Flyers have desperately needed more answers on the man advantage. They went 0 for 3 against the Red Wings and are 10 for 95 on the season. Their final power play opportunity came with only 16 seconds left in the game.

The penalty kill, however, has been a staple to their success. The Flyers' PK held Detroit off the board, improving to 48 for 51 over the last 16 games.

"It has helped us because our power play has been inconsistent," Tortorella said Saturday at morning skate. "Our penalty killing has kind of done double duty there — not only killing penalties, but scoring some goals. Special teams comes and goes. The biggest thing with our penalty kill is that I think we're all in sync as far as being aggressive or holding back, whatever it may be."

• In Sanheim's absence, Rasmus Ristolainen jumped from the third defensive pair to the first alongside York.

With the Flyers on a third-period penalty kill, Ristolainen delivered a big hit on Robby Fabbri along the back boards. The Red Wings' forward was left bloodied and had to briefly exit the game before returning.

Ristolainen was a plus-1 and played a sound game defensively.

"Outstanding," Tortorella said. "He has been impressive because he just missed so much hockey when he was injured."

Ristolainen is 10 games into his season and the Flyers have liked his steadiness. He has improved under Tortorella and assistant coach Brad Shaw.

"I wish I had [Tortorella] when I was 18 and coming into the league," Ristolainen said. "It has been fun working with him and I feel like I've taken some big steps under him."

• Former Flyer Shayne Gostisbehere was back at the Wells Fargo Center. He signed a one-year, $4.125 million contract with Detroit on Day 1 of free agency.

The 30-year-old defenseman has 21 points this season.

• The Flyers are scheduled to practice Monday in Voorhees, New Jersey before visiting the Devils on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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