for this game

Olesz remains hot as Panthers top struggling Flyers

Dec 28, 2006 - 6:28 AM
SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- Rostislav Olesz continued his impressive run, helping extend the Philadelphia Flyers' dubious stretch in the process.

Olesz netted his fourth goal in six games and added an assist as the Florida Panthers posted a 3-1 victory over the Flyers, who have lost 10 in a row.

After scoring in three straight contests, Olesz was kept off the board in consecutive losses to Carolina. But the 21-year-old wasted little time finding the net in this one, capitalizing on a turnover by defenseman Alexei Zhitnik just 30 seconds into the game.

"It was so quick," Olesz said. "I saw (Jozef Stumpel) lose the faceoff and I saw Marty (Gelinas) had (the puck). I saw the puck go behind the net. I just picked it up and didn't shoot right away, I had some time."

Olesz helped set up Stumpel's tally less than four minutes into the second for a 2-0 lead. In his last seven games, the Czech has four goals and three assists.

"He's playing strong," said Gelinas, who had two assists. "He's playing with a lot of confidence. ... Right away, you could see he had the fire going and you just want to match that energy."

Defenseman Mike Van Ryn added an insurance tally in the third session and Ed Belfour made 23 saves for the Panthers, who won for just the fourth time in six games.

"We got some big saves from Eddie tonight when we needed to," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "I'm sure he'd like to have the goal back that went in. He has that ability, after a goal, to shut it down."

Kyle Calder netted the lone goal for Philadelphia, which fell to 9-2-1 in its last 12 visits to Florida.

"We did some good things at times, but we dropped the ball at times where we didn't get to the loose puck," said Flyers coach John Stevens, whose team was outshot, 33-24. "I'm just disappointed with the number of pucks at the net. We didn't do a good enough job of getting pucks to the net."

Losers of each of their previous two games, the Panthers got an early start Wednesday as Olesz beat goaltender Antero Niittymaki with a shot after Zhitnik coughed up the puck in the right faceoff circle.

"It set the tone," Olesz said. "Every team, every night wants to start like this."

"That goal real early helped," Panthers defenseman Jay Bouwmeester added. "It kind of put them in a little bit of a hole."

At 3:40 of the middle session, Gelinas unleashed a slap shot that Stumpel redirected past Niittymaki for his 10th of the season and a 2-0 lead.

With just one goal in his first 31 games, Calder halved the deficit with his second tally in as many contests. From below the left circle, the two-time 20-goal scorer threw the puck into the crease, where it deflected off Belfour and into the net at 7:38.

After missing the previous 11 games following surgery on his adductor muscle, Robert Esche started the third period in place of Niittymaki, who suffered a strained hip. The 2006 U.S. Olympian stopped the first eight shots he faced before Van Ryn's slap shot from above the left circle got past him at 8:59 of the session for a 3-1 Florida lead.

"I felt good out there, body-wise," Esche said of his first appearance since November 18. "I felt (the injury), but at the same time, it didn't bother me after that."

"It's a slight hip strain," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said of Niittymaki's ailment. "The thought right now is he'll stay with the team for now. We'll see how he is tomorrow. I doubt he'll be able to go tomorrow (at Tampa Bay). If (Esche has) got to go tomorrow, it was good to get a period under his belt." Niittymaki, who led Finland to the silver medal at the Turin Games, was not overly concerned with his injury.

"I felt a little sore the whole game, more and more every time I went down," he said. "I felt it was better to be safe than sorry."

While Niittymaki became the latest Flyer to go down with an injury, captain Peter Forsberg returned to the lineup after missing three games with a concussion, which he suffered in his first contest back following five on the sidelines with a foot ailment.

"It's been a while since I've been on the ice," Forsberg said. "I couldn't move for the longest time there. But it's good to be back. It's just too bad we didn't win the game."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 0 1 0 1
    FLORIDA 1 1 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - ROSTISLAV OLESZ 5 (MARTIN GELINAS) 0:30
    2ND PRD: FLA - JOZEF STUMPEL 10 (MARTIN GELINAS, ROSTISLAV OLESZ)
    3:40
    PHI - (PP) KYLE CALDER 3 (RANDY JONES, JEFF CARTER) 7:38
    3RD PRD: FLA - MIKE VAN RYN 3 (DAVID BOOTH

    Dec 27 9:59 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 1
    FLORIDA 3
    3RD PRD: FLA - MIKE VAN RYN 3 (DAVID BOOTH, CHRIS GRATTON) 8:59

    Flyers vs. PanthersDec 27 9:40 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 0 1 1
    FLORIDA 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - ROSTISLAV OLESZ 5 (MARTIN GELINAS) 0:30
    2ND PRD: FLA - JOZEF STUMPEL 10 (MARTIN GELINAS, ROSTISLAV OLESZ)
    3:40
    PHI - (PP) KYLE CALDER 3 (RANDY JONES, JEFF CARTER) 7:38
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2N

    Dec 27 9:05 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 1
    FLORIDA 2
    2ND PRD: PHI - (PP) KYLE CALDER 3 (RANDY JONES, JEFF CARTER) 7:38

    Flyers vs. PanthersDec 27 8:42 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 0
    FLORIDA 2
    2ND PRD: FLA - JOZEF STUMPEL 10 (MARTIN GELINAS, ROSTISLAV OLESZ) 3:40

    Flyers vs. PanthersDec 27 8:36 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 0 0
    FLORIDA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - ROSTISLAV OLESZ 5 (MARTIN GELINAS) 0:30
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHI 6 6
    FLA 11 11
    GOALIES: PHI - ANTERO NIITTYMAKI
    FLA - ED

    Dec 27 8:12 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 0
    FLORIDA 1
    1ST PRD: FLA - ROSTISLAV OLESZ 5 (MARTIN GELINAS) 0:30

    Flyers vs. PanthersDec 27 7:41 PM