‘This is where we want to be' — Flyers stay positive after shootout loss

‘This is where we want to be' — Flyers stay positive after shootout loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Flyers dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the Blues on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

After Jake Neighbours scored in the skills competition for St. Louis, Morgan Frost answered on the Flyers' third attempt.

But Pavel Buchnevich won it for the Blues on their fourth attempt.

The Flyers nearly won the game in OT. Cam York had a shot go off of Jordan Binnington and then the crossbar with just over a minute remaining in the bonus session. Travis Sanheim was also denied with 12 seconds left.

Sean Couturier, Tyson Foerster and Owen Tippett came up empty in the shootout.

The Flyers (32-23-8) have lost six of their last nine games (3-4-2).

They're still in third place of the Metropolitan Division, a spot they've held since the end of January. The Islanders, six points back and with three games in hand, are the closest on the Flyers' tail.

John Tortorella's club entered Monday with a 71.3 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to's probabilities report.

The Flyers' schedule gets much harder the rest of March, with nine games against teams in postseason position.

"This is where we want to be, this is the stretch that we want to be in where we've got a chance to make the playoffs," Sanheim said. "We're going to take it day by day, game by game and continue to get better."

With the shootout loss, the Flyers dropped to 8-8 after regulation this season and 12-7-8 in games decided by one goal.

On Monday night, they were unable to build on a one-goal lead and it came back to bite them.

"We'll take the point and move on," Sanheim said. "It's unfortunate we couldn't get the second one there. Had some looks, had some chances late and in overtime, but just couldn't find a way."

Travis Konecny missed his sixth straight game because of an upper-body injury. The Flyers' leading scorer has been considered day to day. According to PHLY Sports' Charlie O'Connor, Konecny was a non-contact participant in Monday's morning skate.

The club has gone 2-3-1 without Konecny.

"We have found a way to get points," Tortorella said. "You've got to remember we're missing a pretty important guy. I think the guys have rallied."

The Flyers split their two-game regular-season series with the Blues (32-26-3).

Samuel Ersson was very good, making 24 saves on 25 shots.

He proved human in the shootout, an area in which he has delivered this season (4-2 record).

The 24-year-old converted a couple of quality stops in the first period to allow the Flyers to strike first.

The team killed off a Marc Staal tripping penalty late in the third period to keep the game tied. The Flyers' top-ranked PK went 3 for 3.

Their 31st-ranked power play went 0 for 2.

Binnington was fantastic for St. Louis, stopping 40 of the Flyers' 41 shots.

"In the middle of the game, I leaned over to [assistant coach Darryl Williams] and said, 'I don't think he's going to let another one in,'" Tortorella said. "That's how solid he looked. Then I looked down the other end, 'I don't think [Ersson's] going let another one in.' And there we have the game. Both goalies were outstanding."

The Flyers outshot the Blues 14-5 in the third period. Tortorella was pleased with his club's effort in gut-check time considering the Flyers were playing their third game in four days.

"I'm really happy how the team responded in the third period," he said. "We talked about, 'You've got to find a way to get energy.' We're going to be in this situation for the next few weeks. I'm really happy how we responded."

Scott Laughton continued playing his best hockey of the season. Ryan Poehling set him up with a nice move on a 2-on-1 as the Flyers took a 1-0 lead into first intermission.

Laughton has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) and a plus-14 rating in the last 11 games.

• It had looked like the Flyers survived a scare with second-pair defenseman Nick Seeler. He exited with 2:38 minutes left in the second period after taking a puck to the area of his left ankle and foot.

After limping up the tunnel with some assistance from a team staffer, Seeler was able to return for the start of the third period. But he was unable to finish the game, exiting again with around nine minutes left in the third period.

The 30-year-old is the Flyers' truest defender and leads the NHL in blocked shots. Contending clubs covet team-first, cost-effective players like Seeler this time of year. Because of his expiring contract, he has been a popular name leading up to Friday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.

The Flyers are willing to listen but are valuing him highly.

"We have said that from the get-go, we're not looking to trade Seels," Tortorella said two days ago. "He's a huge part of the competitiveness of the room, that brings that room together. He's one of the true competitors that I've ever coached as far as how he handles himself."

Kevin Hayes was back at the Wells Fargo Center for the first time since being traded last June as part of the Flyers' rebuilding summer. He was hoping to break a 19-game goal-scoring drought against his old club.

"I've been in worse situations," Hayes said after the Blues' morning skate, "but I'm trying my hardest, feel like I'm getting some good looks, nothing's really going in. Hopefully tonight it does."

And it did.

Hayes tied the game at 1-1 on a breakaway with 4:13 minutes left in the second period.

Prior to the game, he looked back on his time in Philadelphia. The Flyers and fans saluted him in the first period.

• In their final game before the trade deadline, the Flyers visit the Panthers for a matchup Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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