SUNRISE, Fla. – Michael Frolik is inspiring confidence in his coach, and in himself.
The rookie had a goal and two assists to help the Florida Panthers beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 Tuesday night.
“At the start of the season I didn’t get much ice time,” said Frolik, who played in the YoungStars game in Montreal this past weekend. “Now I’m playing more and more and the coach is believing in me more and more. I’m getting more comfortable and confident.”
Tomas Vokoun stopped 33 shots, while David Booth and Bryan McCabe also scored as Florida won for the first time in three games.
Simon Gagne and Claude Giroux scored for Philadelphia and Martin Biron made 24 saves.
The Panthers killed off a penalty in the final 1:23, while the Flyers had a goal disallowed when Kimmo Timonen was called for goaltender interference at 6:33 of the third.
“It’s a little suspect when, and no offence to Kimmo, he’s pushing people around in front and they’re falling like that,” Flyers captain Mike Richards said. “Maybe the guys should hit the gym more.”
The Flyers closed to 3-2 at 1:51 of the third after Giroux skated in on Vokoun and sent a shot high into the net on the glove side for his first NHL goal.
“I think it’s every kid’s goal to score in the NHL,” Giroux said. “Now that I’ve got that out of the way I can keep playing better.”
The Panthers went ahead 2-1 at 7:43 of the second when Keith Ballard passed the puck from the side boards to Frolik behind the net. His wraparound went just inside the post.
It was Frolik’s first goal since Jan. 10 against Atlanta.
“After Vokoun, he was our best player tonight,” Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said. “I thought he did an outstanding job for someone who just got back from the all-star break. It’s a credit to him and his commitment to help us win the game.”
Florida stretched its lead to 3-1 on Booth’s team-leading 20th goal of the season. Ballard’s slap shot from the left point was deflected by Booth past Biron at 11:50.
Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead on Gagne’s goal at 10:44 of the first. Mike Knuble threw a cross-ice pass from the left circle to Gagne on the right of the crease. The puck hit Gagne’s left skate and deflected into the net. The play was reviewed but the goal was allowed.
Florida tied the score at one after McCabe took a pass from Cory Stillman and skated into the slot. His shot beat Biron high on the stick side at 14:34.
Notes: Florida’s Ville Peltonen returned to the lineup after missing two games with a bruised right knee. … Florida LW Rostislav Olesz (groin), on IR since Dec. 8, will have hernia surgery on Wednesday. … Flyers D Luca Sbisa was scratched for the fifth straight game.