Cam Atkinson's two goals fuel Flyers win over Jets

Cam Atkinson broke his 26-game goalless drought in a big way against the Jets.
Cam Atkinson broke his 26-game goalless drought in a big way against the Jets. / James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Atkinson had no goals in 26 games. His last came on Nov. 11 against the Los Angeles Kings. Points were hard to come by as well. He was even benched when the Columbus Blue Jackets came to town recently. Atkinson answered the challenge thrown at him and made his impact felt against a hot Winnipeg Jets team.

One of the best teams in the league, Atkinson scored the only goal the Flyers would end up needing. He added a second one on the power play for good measure. It was the fifth straight game that Philadelphia scored on the man advantage. They still sit in last place with a 12.4% success rate, but there are signs that the unit is figuring things out.

For Atkinson, the monkey is off his back, and the goals are likely to come. The veteran forward himself talked about his streakiness when it comes to scoring. When he gets one goal, more follow. That was the case at the beginning of the season, as he had eight goals in the first 15 games. His longest drought was just three games.

Sometimes, you put the puck on the net, and good things happen. That is what Atkinson did on his first goal in the opening period. Atkinson had two prime scoring chances just before cashing in. Ryan Poehling put a shot toward the net as Atkinson stuck his stick out for the deflection. It went through the five-hole of Connor Hellebuyck, as he was unable to trap it between his legs.

It's hard to tell who was the most excited about Atkinson breaking drought.

While that was the only goal Philadelphia needed, Atkinson added another goal early in the second period. Morgan Frost, who had himself a strong game as well, drew the slashing call against Neal Pionk. Frost fired the original shot on the net as Hellebuyck made the first save. With bodies in front, Atkinson was get it around the Jets goaltender's pad.

Sam Ersson Stands Tall

With the Flyers missing Sean Couturier and Jamie Drysdale, someone had to step up. Atkinson did that upfront. But against a hot Jets team, Sam Ersson needed to find a way to keep Philadelphia in the game. He did that and much more en route to his third shutout of the season and the fourth of his career.

The pressure started early as the Jets were on the power play in the opening minutes of the game. With the Flyers trapped by the left wall, Gabe Vilardi had a wide-open chance from the center slot area. Ersson was able to get the glove on it. He would later deny Vladislav Namestnikov at the left post. Ersson showed off his glove once again off a Nikolah Ehlers shot from the left slot.

The Flyers were hemmed in their zone with about 3:30 to go in the second. Ersson had to make numerous saves to keep Winnipeg off the board. He stretched the pad out on a Dylan DeMelo point shot. Vilardi and Adam Lowry were around the front on the net during a mad scramble. Ersson made at least one more save before the puck was knocked away.

Winnipeg turned on the Jets in the third period, throwing everything they could at Ersson to get on the board. They had a 9-2 shot advantage through the first eight minutes. But the Swede in net said no to everything that came his way, including a breakaway save against Cole Perfetti. Ersson finished with 35 saves on the night.

It was one of the Flyers biggest wins of the season. The Jets had won eight in a row and was their first regulation loss since Dec. 12 against the Sharks. They had a 14-game point streak coming in. But Philadelphia did what they do best. When they came in with their backs against the wall, they kicked it down.

They will finish the three-game road trip against the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.