Flyers

Flyers to host Islanders in preseason game in Allentown on Sept. 20

Flyers to host Islanders in preseason game in Allentown on Sept. 20

NHL exhibition hockey returns to Allentown in September.
 
The Flyers will host the New York Islanders at PPL Center, where the AHL's Phantoms play, in preseason action on Sept. 20 at 7:05 p.m.
 
"For the third straight season we are delighted to announce that the Flyers are playing again in Allentown," Flyers president Paul Holmgren said.
 
"This game will give the Lehigh Valley fans not only the chance to see stars on our current Flyers team, but also up-and-coming stars of the future. We could not be more pleased with our affiliation with the Phantoms and are honored to be able to play in one of the top arenas in the AHL."
 
Last fall, the Flyers met the Devils at PPL Center and in 2015, the Islanders made their first appearance there.
 
Tickets go on sale this on Friday at 10 a.m. They can be purchased online at pplcenter.com, by calling 610-347-TIXX (8499), or in-person at the PPL Center Box Office (701 Hamilton Street in Allentown).

Losing is still foreign to the Flyers

usa-petr-mrazek-vs-sens.jpg
USA Today Images

Losing is still foreign to the Flyers

BOX SCORE

OTTAWA, Ontario — It would seem as if the Flyers are for real.

Since halting a 10-game losing streak Dec. 4 against the Calgary Flames, the Flyers have posted a 25-8-3 record, including Saturday’s 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators.

They’ve also gone from last in the Metropolitan Division to a tie for first.

Saturday, Brandon Manning led the offense with a goal and two assists while Claude Giroux contributed a goal and a helper.

Robert Hagg and Ivan Provorov also scored for the Flyers (33-19-10), who have now won five straight.

The Senators got goals from Mike Hoffman, Ryan Dzingel and Matt Duchene a day after shipping center Derrick Brassard off to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

•It took 20 seconds longer than Tim Kerr, but Ivan Provorov’s goal 28 ticks into Saturday’s game was a good start for the Flyers. Kerr scored eight seconds into a game against the Edmonton Oilers way back in 1989 to set the standard for the fastest Flyers’ goal to start a game. Provorov scored 20 seconds faster than Giroux did on Nov. 28, 2017, which was the previous quickest 1-0 lead for the Flyers this season.

•Challenge accepted. Flyers coach Dave Hakstol challenged a goal 12 minutes into the second period, claiming the Senators were offside. The coach was bang on, the goal was overturned and the Flyers maintained the 2-1 lead.

•Nolan Patrick had scored in his three previous games and through the first 40 minutes Saturday, the Flyers' rookie was unable to make it a quartet. It wasn’t for lack of trying though, as Patrick had five shots on goal through two periods. The goal finally came for Patrick in the third, however, with a tip in front off a Manning shot. He finished with nine shots.

•Petr Mrazek only needed to make 19 saves Thursday to get a win in his first game with the Flyers. He made 19 through the first 39 minutes Saturday. He also got help from his right post when Dzingel rang one off it midway through the second.

•Despite two early goals on shots he should have stopped, Craig Anderson picked up his game through the final two-plus periods, making some big saves to keep the Senators alive and kicking.

•The Flyers’ third and fifth goals were a perfect example of the Beauty and the Beast. Giroux scored a beauty on a breakaway when he turned his body and went to his backhand before turning the other way to his forehand and placing the puck into an empty net behind an undressed Anderson. Manning scored when his dump-in hit the station in the glass and went in, as Anderson stood behind the net and watched after going to play the dump in.

•The Flyers will be silent on the ice until after the trade deadline as they don’t play until they meet the Canadiens in Montreal Monday night. Off the ice, we’ll see.

Why Nolan Patrick is such a power-play fit

Why Nolan Patrick is such a power-play fit

Replacing Wayne Simmonds on the power play may be one of the toughest assignments in the NHL.

After all, the guy is second to only Alex Ovechkin with 85 man-advantage goals since the 2011-12 season.

So when the predicament actually faced Dave Hakstol this week, the Flyers' head coach turned to … a 19-year-old rookie.

Why Nolan Patrick?

Three components of the decision stand out:

Intelligence factor
Leading up the NHL draft, the overwhelming strength of Patrick's scouting report was his hockey sense.

Those close to him, as well as draft experts, lauded Patrick for comprehending plays before they even happen and being above the ice in understanding spacing.

Those characteristics are crucial when having an extra man.

Patrick has two goals over two games filling in for the injured Simmonds on the Flyers' top power-play unit. Patrick exhibited his IQ with Thursday's game-winner, where he quickly planted himself right in front of the net, had the presence of mind to find the puck and then bury it past Sergei Bobrovsky.

"We told him, just stand in front, if you see a puck, bring it home," Shayne Gostisbehere said. "We tried to simplify it for him and he's going to take care of it himself, he's a great hockey player. It's paying off for him."

All about the touch
Patrick has excellent hands.

Put him around the net, and he'll know how to deflect pucks and find holes in a goalie. His vision, skill and finesse are why he's regarded as such an all-around playmaker.

In Tuesday's win, Patrick found immediate success with the first power-play group. Making his way to the middle, Patrick took a Claude Giroux pass and showed off that touch, adeptly going top shelf as Carey Price went low.

Studying Simmonds' net-front proficiency hasn't hurt, either.

"I watch him every game, he's unbelievable there and good at tipping pucks and making plays," Patrick said. "You learn from just watching every day."

Building up the kid
With time, Hakstol and the Flyers have allowed for Patrick to become comfortable instead of putting the world on his shoulders from the get-go.

That's part of Patrick's makeup.

"He almost always wants to be comfortable and then he really starts to exert himself," Patrick's uncle, James, said to NBC Sports Philadelphia last June

We're starting to see Patrick let loose.

As the Flyers have gradually upped his opportunity and responsibility, Patrick has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his last 12 games after putting up six (two goals, four assists) over his previous 34.

Placing Patrick among the team's best talent on the man advantage will only help with his confidence moving forward, in all situations.

The Flyers' power play entered Friday with the NHL's sixth-best percentage at 21.6.

It'll need more of Patrick — but the Flyers couldn't have asked for a much better start to life without Simmonds over the next two to three weeks.