SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers tied a record which has stood in the NHL for almost 60 years Wednesday in their win against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.
By virtue of Aaron Ekblad’s overtime goal, the Panthers have now won 11 consecutive home games to start the 2021-22 season.
The only other team to start 11-0 at home were the 1963 Chicago Blackhawks.
This one certainly did not come easy.
While the Panthers acknowledged the Flyers played an improved brand of defensive hockey before Wednesday night’s game.
Knowing something doesn’t always mean you can do something about it.
Florida, the highest scoring team in the entire NHL, was stymied by a Philadelphia team that seemed perfectly fine with playing in its own end and battening down the hatches.
Once the Flyers took an early lead, they shut things down.
Florida, which leads the league in total goals, did not get its first one until the third period on Wednesday.
Moments after Ryan Lomberg somehow got stoned by an invisible goalie, Sam Bennett finally got the Panthers on the board with what has become a rare power play goal.
Florida’s first goal of the night didn’t come until almost 44 minutes of game time had expired.
It’s the closest the Panthers have come to being shutout this season.
The first two periods were absolutely and unequivocally dominated by the Panthers — although it was the Flyers who had a 1-0 lead.
Philadelphia got that lead at 7:33 of the first period on one of the rare chances the Flyers had the puck at all in the early goings.
Due to a breakdown in coverage, Joel Farabee was all alone in the Florida zone, took a pass from Travis Konecky and walked in on Sergei Bobrovsky for the goal.
Although the Panthers controlled possession of the puck and got all the scoring chances 5-on-5 (the limited things the Flyers got going was on their two power plays), Florida simply couldn’t get anything through.
Goalie Martin Jones stopped all 25 shots faced in the first 40 minutes but the Panthers had taken 53 shot attempts.
Philadelphia defenders blocked 17 shots in the first two periods — and the Panthers hit the post three times.
In the third, Lomberg had a chance at an empty net on a scrum around the net but Sean Couturier swept it out of harm’s way.
The Panthers did get their first power play chance of the night, however, with Bennett crashing the net and scoring on a perfect feed from Anthony Duclair.
Florida had been 0-for-19 on the power play since scoring three with the advantage in the first period of its win against Carolina Nov. 6.
In overtime, Cam Atkinson almost got one past his old Columbus teammate but Sergei Bobrovsky made another big save.
That allowed Ekblad to win it with 2:21 remaining in overtime.
Keith Yandle, who spent five seasons with the Panthers after signing with the team in 2016, was given a warm response from the crowd as he was honored with a tribute video during the first period.
Yandle was on the ice during the tribute and waved to the crowd — before getting a friendly tap from former teammate Owen Tippett.
The Panthers bought out the remainder of Yandle’s contract over the summer.
GR’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Aaron Ekblad, Florida
2. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida
3. Martin Jones, Philadelphia
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT WASHINGTON CAPITALS
- WHEN: Friday, 5 p.m.
- WHERE: Capital One Arena, Washington
- TV/STREAMING: Bally Sports Florida
- RADIO: WQAM 560
- Last season: Did not play
- This season: @Florida 5, Washington 4 (OT), Nov. 4