Flyers fall to their former goalie prospect as Panthers get payback

Flyers fall to their former goalie prospect as Panthers get payback originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Coming off the emotional high of beating Boston, the Flyers had a letdown Sunday night with a 4-1 loss to the Panthers at the Wells Fargo Center.

Anthony Stolarz, a 2012 second-round draft pick of the Flyers, was excellent in net for Florida.

Bobby Brink provided the lone goal for the Flyers (36-27-9).

Sam Reinhart scored an empty-netter — his 50th goal of the season — to finish off the Flyers.

John Tortorella's club is 2-3-1 in this seven-game gauntlet against contenders. The brutal stretch wraps up Tuesday against the Rangers, who lead the NHL with 47 wins.

The Flyers had a three-game point streak snapped (2-0-1).

The Panthers (46-20-5) were missing two of their better players in Aleksander Barkov (undisclosed) and Aaron Ekblad (lower body).

The Flyers went 2-1-0 in the three-game regular-season series against Florida.

Both teams Sunday were on the second half of a back-to-back set. The Flyers beat the Bruins, 3-2, Saturday afternoon at home, while the Panthers played in New York and lost to the Rangers, 4-3, in a shootout. The game ended at 11:04 p.m. ET. The Flyers were unable to capitalize on what, at least in theory, looked like an advantageous spot.

• Despite the loss, the Flyers still hold a playoff spot with 10 games to go.

They've been in third place of the Metropolitan Division since the end of January. They entered Sunday with an 83.4 percent chance to make the postseason, according to's probabilities report.

The Capitals are the closest on the Flyers' tail in the division race. Washington is two points back of the Flyers and has played two fewer games. The clubs meet April 16 at the Wells Fargo Center in the regular-season finale for each team.

• Felix Sandstrom, making his third start of the season, converted 11 saves on 14 shots.

Carter Verhaeghe delivered the backbreaking goal when he motored past rookie defenseman Adam Ginning and beat Sandstrom with a clean shot 4:43 minutes into the third period. The 27-year-old backup got a piece of it. The Flyers needed a save there.

Reinhart opened the scoring in the first period with his 49th goal of the season. It was a shot Sandstrom could likely stop.

The Flyers were not good in coverage, either. Florida exited the defensive zone by connecting on a pass that an aggressive Sean Couturier tried to intercept. As a result, the Flyers' three forwards were late to get back.

Stolarz stopped 32 of the Flyers' 33 shots. He played 19 career games for the Flyers before being traded to the Oilers in 2019.

The Flyers' last-ranked power play went 1 for 5. Brink's goal came with the Flyers' net emptied for the 6-on-4 advantage to make it 3-1.

• The Flyers took costly penalties at the end of the first period when a scrum ensued following the buzzer. Brink and Cam York were hit with roughing infractions, while Matthew Tkachuk was the only Panther penalized.

Florida pounced on the early power play opportunity as Vladimir Tarasenko blasted home a shot only 55 seconds into the middle stanza. The goal cushioned the Panthers' lead to 2-0.

It's definitely surprising when a team comes out on the wrong end of penalties from a scrum unless it's blatantly obvious one side is causing more chaos. Regardless, it was a big swing against the Flyers.

Facing a two-goal deficit, they played with more urgency but had nothing to show for it at second intermission.

• The Flyers visit the Rangers on Tuesday for their first of two trips to Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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