This was not the same Anaheim team the Flyers faced 17 days earlier in Southern California.
Playing with their top center Ryan Getzlaf and one of their best defensemen in Hampus Lindholm, the Ducks were opportunistic by capitalizing on the Flyers’ mistakes in a 6-2 decision at the Wells Fargo Center Tuesday night.
The Ducks took the game over in the second period. In what had been the Flyers’ best period this season, Anaheim scored three unanswered goals to take a three-goal lead into the third period. The Flyers had previously outscored opponents 12-5 during the middle frame.
The Flyers closed out their five-game homestand at 3-2-0 for six points.
• Nolan Patrick was shaken up when he went back to retrieve the puck below the Flyers’ goal line. Chris Wagner delivered a hard check that appeared to rattle Patrick’s head (see video). No penalty was called as the Flyers’ rookie went straight to the dressing room for further evaluation. He was showered and in a suit for the start of the third period. Jori Lehtera took Patrick’s spot at center.
• You could sense the Ducks’ top line was humming in the first period, and it finally broke through with a goal in the second, as Getzlaf sent a cross-ice pass in front of the crease to Rickard Rakell, who tapped in the 4-1 goal.
Getzlaf missed the first game between the Flyers and Ducks with a lower-body injury. Tuesday’s game was his first game in two weeks. Getzlaf, along with Rakell and Corey Perry, spent a lot of time in the Flyers’ zone during the opening 20 minutes.
• Getzlaf also added a wide-angle goal Brian Elliott should have stopped to give him a goal and an assist.
• Anaheim extended its lead to 3-1 midway through the second period when Nick Ritchie pounced on Elliott’s rebound. Ritchie was able to elevate a backhand that caught Elliott’s right arm and trickled over the line.
• A little frustration seems to have set in for Jakub Voracek, who can’t buy a goal. Voracek uncorked a one-time slap shot that hit goalie John Gibson right in the crest. Voracek appeared somewhat mystified as he continues to search for that elusive first goal of the season, even with a team-leading 12 assists.
• I can’t disagree with the penalties that were assessed to Wayne Simmonds when he got tangled up with Getzlaf. Simmonds wouldn’t let go of Getzlaf’s stick. Meanwhile, Getzlaf continued to tug it out from under Simmonds. As frustration grew, Simmonds gave Getzlaf a crosscheck after the whistle blew and was assessed a double-minor that led to an Anaheim power play.
The retaliator always seems to get caught in the referee’s crosshairs.
• Claude Giroux was giving the referee some choice words on the bench. As he wristed a shot on Gibson, Antoine Vermette took a whack at Giroux and broke the stick of the Flyers’ captain. Yet, no slashing penalty was called.
On Giroux’s next shift, he was whistled for a legitimate trip (perhaps out of frustration) when he stuck out his skate and tripped up Wagner, who had leveled Lehtera a few seconds earlier.
• Brandon Montour raced past a flat-footed Brandon Manning to give the Ducks their first lead of the game at 2-1. The Flyers’ poor play in the neutral zone allowed Montour to gain speed and have a wide-open look on Elliott.
• Sean Couturier gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead for the sixth time in nine games. Giroux threaded a nice pass to Couturier, who got behind the defense for the breakaway. Couturier gave Gibson a nice backhand deke before losing control and then regaining it to flip it just over Gibson’s glove.
The Flyers’ No. 1 center seems to find a way to get at least one quality chance in front of the goalie every game.
• The Ducks scored first when Travis Konecny delivered a weak backhand along the boards. The pass was picked off by Derek Grant, who immediately fired a shot that was redirected by Ondrej Kase past Elliott for the Ducks’ first goal. Not much Elliott could have done to prevent the goal.
• Radko Gudas wanted a piece of Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who has a reputation of getting under players’ skin. Bieksa gave Gudas a mild crosscheck in the back after play was stopped and that prompted Gudas to drop his gloves. The linesman intervened before a fight ensued.
Not sure Gudas’ reaction was warranted, but it was nice to see the feistiness. Both players were assessed two-minute minors for unsportsmanlike conduct.
As soon as both guys served their penalties, they engaged in fisticuffs as Bieksa decked Gudas with a right hand in a five-second knockout, and it was back to the box for five more minutes (see video).
• The Flyers drew their first faceoff violation of the regular season when Grant was kicked out of the circle and Ritchie committed another false start well before the linesman dropped the puck. Under new rules, two violations within the same faceoff result in a two-minute minor penalty.
Lines, pairings and scratches
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal-Valtteri Filppula-Wayne Simmonds
Jori Lehtera-Nolan Patrick-Travis Konecny
Dale Weise-Scott Laughton-Michael Raffl
Ivan Provorov-Robert Hagg
Shayne Gostisbehere-Radko Gudas
Brandon Manning-Travis Sanheim
Scratches: Forwards Taylor Leier (upper body) and Matt Read (healthy).