The Flyers hope newly acquired center Valtteri Filppula can help reduce their well-documented offensive problems.

Filppula, making his debut with the Flyers, did his part Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

So did the Flyers, who rallied for a much-needed 2-1 shootout victory over the Florida Panthers.

Jake Voracek scored the winner in the shootout, during which Jordan Weal also deposited a goal and Steve Mason stopped two of three shots.

"It was a tight game. In my opinion they're one of the tougher teams to play in the league," Mason said after the Flyers moved to within two points of the last wild-card spot, pending Toronto's game in Los Angeles on Thursday. "They're big bodies, but they can move out there."

The Flyers dominated the third period, outshooting the Panthers, 18-8, and tying the game on Filppula's goal with 9 minutes, 22 seconds left in regulation. The 32-year-old Finn tipped in Brayden Schenn's feed.

"He's got heavy stick and he made a lot of plays tonight," Voracek said. ". . .I think the best part of our game was after his goal. Every shift, we were buzzing in their zone."

Filppula, who was goalless in his last 15 games with Tampa Bay, said he felt more comfortable as the game progressed.

"I think he's only going to get better for us; we know what kind of player he is," said Mason, whose team is now a surprising 6-4 in shootouts this season. "It's not easy to come in, meet the guys, get used to a new system. So for him to come in and get a big goal for us is awesome. I'm happy for him, and we're going to look for more from him down the stretch here."

Mason, who had two earlier wins against the Panthers this season, prevented a regulation loss with a glove save on Aleksander Barkov's ticketed blast with 18.2 seconds left.

In the overtime, James Reimer stopped Voracek on a late breakaway to help send the game into a shootout.

A shorthanded goal by defenseman Aaron Ekblad had given Florida a 1-0 lead with 8:26 left in the second period.

Ekblad stole Claude Giroux's pass at center ice, went around the captain's stick check, and fired a perfectly placed, right-circle shot into the left corner.

"I thought Schenner was open and then I played it wrong, defensively," Giroux said. "It's frustrating. I was ticked off. I have to be better. The team played a great game and personally, I gave Florida a point. But you know what, the guys battled back. The way we played tonight was great. We play like that, we're going to win a lot of games."

The Flyers had the first 10 shots of the second period, but Reimer had all the answers. The Panthers had 17 of the session's final 20 shots.

Reimer had replaced Roberto Luongo after the opening period. Luongo appeared to suffer an injury during the Flyers' five-on-three power play and did not return after the first period. Reimer, who has had a stronger season than Luongo, started the second period.

The Flyers squandered that five-on-three during a scoreless first period. The Flyers, who also blew a five-on-three in a recent loss in Calgary, looked ragged on the two-man advantage, which lasted 1:05 and included a pair of Florida clears.

Mason, coming off a 4-0 win over Colorado on Tuesday, again looked sharp. He made 11 first-period saves and robbed Nick Bjugstad as he tried to finish a two-on-one.

Mason stopped 39 of 40 shots. The Flyers had 49 shots, their second-highest total of the season.

With Michal Neuvirth signing a two-year contract extension Wednesday for a total of $5 million, Mason's future with the team is cloudy. Mason, a potential unrestricted free agent on July 1, said the Flyers have not negotiated with his agent during the season.

"I can't predict the future other than I'm here to get the team into the playoffs," Mason said before the game. "That's my sole focus right now. With Neuvy signing, that's great for him, but at the end of the day, it doesn't really affect me."

Added Mason, who said he still hoped to remain with the Flyers: "There's still lots of work to be done to get us into the playoffs."

@BroadStBull