PHILADELPHIA – Jay Bouwmeester tied the game with 3.7 seconds left in regulation and Olli Jokinen scored the winner in overtime to lift the Florida Panthers to a 2-1 win over Philadelphia on Saturday night.
The Flyers matched a franchise record with 10 straight losses. Jokinen scored from the point 3:44 into OT and he was quickly mobbed by his teammates. Jokinen surely needed the emotional lift after admitting this week how much trouble he had moving on from accidentally slicing Richard Zednik’s throat with his skate.
Bouwmeester made the goal possible with a stunner in the final seconds. The sold-out Flyers crowd was going wild in anticipation of the winless skid finally coming to an end.
Instead, the puck appeared to tick off Bouwmeester in front of the crease and past Antero Niittymaki.
The Flyers dropped to 0-8-2 in their last 10 games, matching a franchise-worst 10-game winless mark they suffered last season when they were the worst team in the NHL.
This year promised to be different and the Flyers spent most of the year contending for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Their wretched February, however, ended any ideas about a No. 1 seed. Now, they’re in a mad scramble for the eighth seed and it’s not looking good.
Daniel Briere scored Philadelphia’s only goal.
Briere had heard boos of late, including during pre-game introductions, because he’s underachieved in the first season of an eight-year, US$52-million contract. Briere had lost confidence and struggled scoring 5-on-5, a slump he couldn’t hide from with the Flyers in a funk.
Briere put the Flyers up 1-0 on a power-play goal with 3:40 left in the second. Briere popped out with the puck from behind the net and knocked it off Craig Anderson’s pad and through his legs for his first goal in six games.
Briere, who scored his 11th power-play goal of the season and 22nd overall, let out some pent up celebration. He pumped his fist and thrust his right arm in the air as his teammates came over and slapped him on the head.
Notes: Flyers C Mike Richards played in his 200th career game. … The Flyers dropped to 23-1-1 when leading after two periods. … They also fell to 23-6-9 when scoring the first goal of the game.