Chicago at Philadelphia

Flyers snap losing streak as Blackhawks extend their own

CBS wire reports

PHILADELPHIA -- Robert Esche stayed prepared while he and the Philadelphia Flyers got off to a rocky start this season.

Peter Forsberg scored twice, including a spectacular goal in the third period, and Esche recorded his 10th career shutout in the Flyers' 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night.

"I think my practices the last week have been some of my best practices that I've had all season," said Esche, who making his third start of season.

Esche stopped 26 shots in his first win. He was especially sharp in the second period when he made 15 saves and helped kill three Chicago power plays.

It was only the third win in 11 games for the Flyers (3-7-1), off to one of their poorest starts in franchise history. The Blackhawks have dropped five straight after winning three of four.

Esche was aided by defenseman Denis Gauthier, who made a diving stop of a shot by former Flyer Patrick Sharp in the front of the net midway through the third period.

"Our team was magnificent," Esche said. "They played great. All of our defensemen ... there was a lot of great play all over the place."

Chicago's Brian Boucher, a first-round draft pick of the Flyers in 1995, was almost as effective in stopping 32 of 34 shots. Boucher played for the third straight game, replacing Nikolai Khabibulin, who is expected to be sidelined up to two weeks because of a broken finger.

"It's frustrating losing, but we've got to stay with it," Boucher said. "We can't get discouraged."

Forsberg put the Flyers ahead 7:25 in with a backhander after taking a pass from Stefan Ruzicka. The Flyers captain made it 2-0 with a brilliant goal at 11:57 of the third. Forsberg stickhandled around Sharp and slid a backhander past Boucher.

"That's why he's a world class player," Boucher said. "A couple of breakdowns there and he made us pay. That's what good players do."

Forsberg preferred to talk about Philadelphia's improved defense. The Flyers were beaten 8-2 against Pittsburgh on Saturday.

"We wanted to play much tighter defense than we did against Pittsburgh," Forsberg said. "We didn't give them two many chances, we kept them on the outside."

Simon Gagne added an empty-net goal with 28 seconds left.

The Blackhawks missed an early scoring opportunity when Craig MacDonald hit the crossbar and right post with a shot.

An apparent goal by Philadelphia's Jeff Carter at 2:58 of the third period, while the Flyers had a two-man advantage, was waved off because an official's whistle blew before the puck went into the net.

"The (four) penalties in the third period kind of took away the momentum for us," Chicago coach Trent Yawney said.


  • The Blackhawks have lost seven straight road games to the Flyers. Their last win in Philadelphia was Nov. 9, 1996.
  • Chicago RW Reed Low, D Danny Richmond, and C Jeffrey Hamilton were healthy scratches.
  • Philadelphia RW Mike Knuble is out for two weeks because of a broken finger, an injury sustained Saturday against Pittsburgh. He hadn't missed a game since joining the Flyers, dressing for 92 regular-season games and six in the playoffs.
  • The Flyers outshot the Blackhawks 17-5 in the first period.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Philly's Denis Gauthier protects the net with goalie Robert Esche, blocking Chicago's Karl Stewart.  (AP)
Philly's Denis Gauthier protects the net with goalie Robert Esche, blocking Chicago's Karl Stewart. (AP)
Chicago (4-7-0)0000
Philadelphia  (3-7-1) «1023
Three Stars
P. Forsberg

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
R. Esche

Saves: 26
Save Pct.: 1.000
B. Boucher

Saves: 32
Save Pct.: .941

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February 20, 2017
NHL Power Rankings (2/20) (0:58)
Scoring Summary
07:25Peter Forsberg (4), Backhand Shot - Assist: Stefan Ruzicka
11:57Peter Forsberg (5), Backhand Shot - Assists: Simon Gagne, Joni Pitkanen
19:33Simon Gagne (6), Empty Net - Unassisted.
Penalty Summary
01:36Bourque: Holding the stick - 2 min.
01:53Gagne: Tripping - 2 min.
09:36Eager: Holding the stick - 2 min.
13:50MacDonald: Interference - 2 min.
17:32Forsberg: Hooking - 2 min.
01:38Blunden: Interference - 2 min.
02:30MacDonald: Hooking - 2 min.
04:22Kukkonen: Hooking - 2 min.
18:29Bourque: Slashing - 2 min.
18:44Carter: High sticking - 2 min.
Brian Boucher58:39322
Robert Esche60:00260
Game Information
Attendance - 18876
Referees - Dennis LaRue, Francois St-Laurent
Linesmen - David Brisebois, Derek Nansen
Other Games
Atl 2 Final
Tor 4
Ana 6 Final
StL 5
Wash 4 Final
Cal 2
NYR 1 Final
LA 4