Ersson helps Flyers put an end to Jets' winning streak with shutout win
WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets knew that all good things have to come to an end.
That’s what happened when Samuel Ersson made 35 saves and Cam Atkinson snapped a 26-game scoring drought with a two-goal performance to propel the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2-0 victory over the league-leading Jets on Saturday.
The loss halted Winnipeg’s franchise-record eight-game win streak and franchise-best 14-game point run.
“We kind of beat ourselves,” Jets forward Nino Niederreiter said. “We gave them too many odd-man rushes. They capitalized on the couple mistakes that we did.”
The Jets (28-10-4) still hold the best winning percentage in the league, but the Vancouver Canucks moved one point ahead of them in the standings. Winnipeg has a game in hand.
The end of the streaks didn’t diminish the achievements.
“Obviously, we are very proud of what we did, but at the same time it is a long season,” Niederreiter said.
"It’s in the past. We’ve got to go out there on Monday, get a good work day and start again.”
Ersson felt a bit of extra satisfaction knocking off the Jets.
“Obviously, we knew they were hot coming in and they had not let in a lot of goals this season so we knew we had to play a good road game and maybe not give up so much,” Ersson said. “Great game for the guys and a huge two points for us.”
The Flyers (23-14-6) have won four of their past five games and are on their first three-game win streak since mid-December.
Ersson, a 24-year-old Swedish rookie in his second season with Philadelphia, recorded his third shutout of the NHL season and fourth of his young career. He sports an 11-5-3 mark this season.
Connor Hellebuyck made 34 saves for Winnipeg and had his goalie franchise-record 13-game point streak (11-1-2) end.
Flyers coach John Tortorella said the team seems to feed off Ersson.
“He looks big, he just looks so confident,” Tortorella said. “He’s got a mental presence about himself that you can just feel it.
“I think it’s very important for a hockey team how they play off their goalie and I think he brings that for us.”
Jets forward Gabriel Vilardi was robbed by Ersson a few times, but he wasn’t giving the opposition netminder too much praise.
“I don't tip my hat to anybody,” Vilardi said. “It's just we didn't score. You gotta find ways. You gotta get in front of the goalie, you gotta jab at pucks in front and keep battling.”
Winnipeg has still only allowed two or fewer goals in a franchise-record 12 straight games and three or fewer goals in a franchise-best 32 consecutive games.
It was the second time this season the Jets have been shut out. It was also Winnipeg’s first loss in regulation (11-1-3) to a team in the Eastern Conference this season.
The Jets went on the power play one minute in the game, but Philadelphia’s netminder stopped three shots, including snapping his glove out to grab the puck after a Gabriel Vilardi shot.
Atkinson scored his ninth of the season when he redirected a Joel Farabee shot and the puck went under a surprised Hellebuyck at 14:47.
"Long time coming, longest in my career that I’ve gone without scoring," Atkinson said. "A little snake-bitten there, but just stuck with the process and tried to get to the areas where I’ve scored a lot of goals in this league. Found a way to get a couple tonight and it feels good.”
Farabee has 18 points in his past 18 games, including six goals.
Atkinson notched his second goal of the match off a rebound during Philadelphia’s first power play at 2:52 of the middle frame.
Ersson denied Vilardi and Morrissey late in the period. Winnipeg went on the power play with 1:11 left.
Ersson’s highlights in the third included kicking out his skate to deflect the puck off the toe.
Winnipeg pulled Hellebuyck with 2:31 left and the Jets went on another power play with 1:15 remaining.
Jets leading scorer Mark Scheifele missed his first game of the season.
The top centre is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury after he skated off the ice on his own initiative early in the second period of Thursday's home win against Chicago.
Winnipeg forward Rasmus Kapari was back in action after missing the previous 26 games with a shoulder injury.
Jets: Close out a four-game homestand Tuesday against the New York Islanders.
Flyers: Finish a three-game road trip Monday against the St. Louis Blues.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2024.