Flyers

Nolan Patrick excited to feel like himself again with pain of sports hernia behind him

Nolan Patrick excited to feel like himself again with pain of sports hernia behind him

VOORHEES, N.J. — Nolan Patrick said he would feel a "sharp, shooting pain" in his lower stomach.

Whenever he skated last season, that's what he endured.

Patrick is excited to lose such a feeling when it matters most: NHL training camp in September with the Flyers, charging for a roster spot.

"I think this will be the first time in a while I've been 100 percent healthy," Patrick said Friday at Flyers development camp.

He was never close to it last season in his all-important draft year.

"I was probably 60 percent when I first started playing and maybe got up to 70, 75 tops," Patrick said. "I never had any wind during games. I'd lose my energy really quick because I'd lose it trying to skate with that injury. Probably 75 tops, I'd say."

Patrick on Friday was not speaking from the dressing room in pads and some Flyers getup, along with the rest of the prospects. The 2017 No. 2 overall draft pick was in front of a microphone wearing a hooded sweatshirt and backwards hat. Patrick is not partaking in the on-ice portion of development camp as he recovers from a June 13 surgery to repair a pestering sports hernia injury, the one that caused all that pain during his 2016-17 junior season.

After meeting with the Flyers and the renowned Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia prior to the June 23-24 entry draft, Patrick realized what had been so bothersome. It was a similar sports hernia injury he had addressed surgically last summer, except this was on the opposite side of his core. Once he was recommended surgery, he wanted it done as soon as possible. It happened 10 days before his name was called on draft night by the Flyers, who were aware of all the details.

"When the doctor said it needed to be done, I told him right there, 'OK, when can you do it?'" Patrick said. "He said, 'Go home for a couple days and come back.' I think I went home on a Friday and came back on a Monday and had it done Tuesday. I feel great. I'm really happy I got it done."

The 18-year-old center sounded refreshed. Having the surgery prior to the draft has allowed him to expedite his recovery in the sense of fewer missed days for training and preparation this summer. He said he's expected to skate next week. On June 30, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Patrick was two to four weeks away from resuming full activities.

Hextall is pleased with the progress, as well as having Patrick at Flyers Skate Zone to not only rehab with director of sports medicine Jim McCrossin, but also soak in development camp.

"He's committed himself to staying down here, which I think is terrific," Hextall said. "Obviously the doctors here, Jimmy McCrossin's got a lot of experience in terms of rehabbing, so I'm happy he's in good hands and under our umbrella.

"He's going to learn. It's his first exposure to the NHL. It's good for him to watch and be around and talk to some of the guys who have been to a couple of the development camps and observe the development, the coaches with the video and stuff. He'll learn a lot."

Patrick is glad to have the issue finally under wraps, especially after a full season of sharp and shooting pain. He's also confident the injury won't recur.

"Jimmy McCrossin's the main guy I've been working with," he said. "He said he's [never] seen a guy ever have it again after Dr. Meyers had worked on it, so that's a positive.

"I think it's an injury that gets fixed. It's not like it's a four-week recovery and it bugs you for a while. It's pretty much four weeks and you're ready to go. I'm really excited to be back on the ice."

Patrick still managed to produce 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) in 33 games for the WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings. With last season being his draft year, he refused to shut himself down, for a couple of reasons.

"I tried to play as much as I could and I just wanted to wait to see one of the best doctors — because I saw a couple doctors in Winnipeg and they said Meyers was the top guy in that area," Patrick said. "I waited to see him and apparently being in good shape heading into surgery, you heal quicker, so I just tried training as much as I can. I knew something was bugging me so I just waited to see him and got it done after that."

From the draft process to now, Hextall said the Flyers have gained a better grasp and appreciation of Patrick's toughness.

Through all of the hurdles, Patrick inadvertently learned a few things about himself, too.

"That I can play decent hurt, I guess," he said. "I don't know — probably just how to stay positive through things. It's never fun watching.

"I think every player wants to be out there and doesn't want to watch, but I think I've learned to be pretty patient missing 35 games this year. I guess I've got that down pat."

Flyers-Flames observations: Funk continues despite four goals

Flyers-Flames observations: Funk continues despite four goals

BOX SCORE

Thursday night, the Flyers couldn’t hold on to a third period lead.

Saturday afternoon against the Flames, they Flyers coughed up a two-goal second-period lead, and Calgary won 5-4 in overtime. Michael Frolik scored the game winner from Micael Backlund.

The Flyers have dropped four straight, three by one goal. 

Flames center Sean Monahan scored a second-period power play hat trick in a span of 7 minutes and 49 seconds.

• Nolan Patrick had a prime opportunity to pick up his second goal of the game in the third period — the rookie got his second talley of the season in the second period — when he collected a loose puck cutting across the crease, he just fired it over the net. This was Patrick’s best game in a Flyers sweater, as he was very active in the offensive zone.

• The Flames top line had so many quality chances. Right wing Michael Ferland had a shot from close range that Elliott snared. That top line had 12 shots on net through the first two periods, and for the most part, they were from close range. 

• Travis Konecny had some excellent chances, but his shot has been all over the place the past few games. He had an opportunity to give the Flyers a 5-4 lead but he shot over the net (again) and hit glass.

• Patrick looked a lot better than what we saw in the game in Winnipeg, as expected. In the second period, he had a nice backhand feed from his knees to Wayne Simmonds coming down the slot, as Simmonds had his best scoring opportunity in a long time. The Wayne Train’s shot hit Smith right in the midsection.  

• An unfortunate sequence at the 13:45 mark of the second period during 4-on-4 play. The Flyers had a 3-on-2 opportunity when Provorov sent a pass that was a little too far for Patrick. Provorov could have taken the shot himself.

• Johnny Gaudreau almost scored his second goal of the game — the South Jersey native scored on a first-period breakaway — as he read the puck and made a break towards center ice. Michael Ferland recognized it and tried to send a two-line backhand pass to Gaudreau but the pass was behind him and it slid all the way to Elliott. You almost need a free safety back there keeping an eye on the always sneaky Gaudreau.

• The slashing penalty on Brandon Manning was ridiculous. Manning was simply trying to use his stick against Matt Stajan’s to win a puck battle, and Stajan’s stick wound up snapping in two.  

• Elliott made a terrific glove save on Gaudreau, who tried to pick the upper left corner with a wide open wrist shot. That led to a rebound and no Flyer was there to clean it up.  It all started up top when T.J. Brodie faked a shot, forcing Couturier to go to the ice, and from there the Flyers were all out of position. 

• Not a memorable game for Shayne Gositisbehere. Aside from the first period mishaps described below, he was sent to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct after saying something to the officials, and then went back to the box 65 seconds later when he got his elbow up on Michael Ferland. Two bad mistakes that cost the Flyers two goals. 

• Sean Monahan scored a second-period (power play) hat trick, with his third goal coming on a one-timer from the left circle. Monahan's absolute bomb beat Elliott glove-side high. 

• The Flyers scored on their first shot of the game,  as Brandon Manning sent a somewhat harmless shot on goal that hit goaltender Mike Smith’s shoulder, off the post, off Smith’s back and over the line. Michael Raffl  provided the takeaway, creating the turnover and keeping the puck in the zone.  

• Two mistakes by Shayne Gostisbehere on one sequence. His outlet pass was picked off by Gaudreau, which led to Sean Monahan’s shot, and then Ghost failed to pick up Michael Ferland on the back end. Ghost doesn’t appear to be playing with much confidence right now. He had a clear opportunity to skate up the ice with the pick and hesitated looking for someone to pass to. When he’s playing with confidence, you can see it with the puck on his stick.

• Wonder why 31-yer-old Kris Versteeg has played for eight teams and can’t seem to stick around? Dumb, selfish plays like we saw in the first period when he takes an unsportsmanlike penalty on Taylor Leier AFTER the lineman blew the whistle for offsides. Versteeg, obviously upset from a previous incident, took a run at Leier, and it cost the Flames a goal. 

• On the Flyers power play, they did exactly what they’ve been trying to do over their last five games. Get shots in from the point and hope for rebound opportunities. Mike Smith gave up a bad one on Voracek’s wrist shot and Couturier continued doing what he’s done all season, camping out in front of the net looking for leftovers. This time he actually put the puck airborne. 

• Subtle but nice move from Jori Lehtera, who stepped into the face-off circle and kicked the puck out to Ivan Provorov, who perfectly placed a shot over Smith’s glove-side shoulder and gave the Flyers a 3-1 lead.

• Couturier almost scored a second goal by nearly converting a backhand on a shorthanded breakaway as he came across the slot he tried to go between Smith’s pads. There was a slight opening, but Smith caught it short side with his right pad and kept it from going in. 

• As he’s been throughout the past four games, Brian Elliott was splendid on a 4-on-3 penalty kill, as he was target practice from Gaudreau, Monahan, Hamilton and Giordano. Elliott made 4 saves in a 40-second span.

Lines, pairings and scratches 

Forwards
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek

Michael Raffl-Valtteri Filppula-Travis Konecny

Dale Weise-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds

Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Jori Lehtera

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Robert Hägg

Brandon Manning-Shaybe Gostisbehere

Travis Sanheim-Mark Alt

Goalies
Brian Elliott

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Radko Gudas (suspension), Jordan Weal (upper body), Andrew MacDonald (IR)

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets shut out Rangers

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AP Images

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets shut out Rangers

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves for his 21st career shutout and Zach Werenski and Artemi Panarin scored in the Columbus Blue Jackets' 2-0 victory over the New York Rangers on Friday night.

New York ran into a hot goalie in Bobrovsky, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner who notched his second shutout of the season in powering Columbus to its third straight victory.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was nearly as good against the increasingly aggressive Blue Jackets, stopping 40 shots on the night. The Rangers (11-8-1) lost their second straight following a six-game win streak.

After a scoreless first period in which both goalies made some slick, sprawling saves, Werenski found the back of the net with his sixth goal of the season 13:34 into the second.

Brandon Dubinsky lost the handle of the puck in the slot, and Werenski picked it up just inside the right circle and beat Lundqvist with a one-timer.

Columbus (12-7-1) was the aggressor in the second frame, outshooting the Rangers 19-9, and kept up the pressure in the third.

Panarin scored his fourth goal of the season on a power play 7:14 into the third period, rocketing a slap shot from the high slot that ricocheted off the bar and in.

The Blue Jackets are 9-1-0 this season when allowing two goals or fewer (see full recap).

Red Wings’ 3rd-period goals enough to top Sabres
DETROIT -- Tomas Tatar scored a go-ahead goal midway through third period and the Detroit Red Wings went on to beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on Friday night.

Detroit's Luke Glendening broke a scoreless tie late in the second period. Ryan O'Reilly pulled Buffalo into a 1-all tie 5:50 into the third.

Dylan Larkin scored late in the game and Jimmy Howard had 19 saves for the Red Wings. They have won consecutive games at home for the first time this season.

Buffalo's Robin Lehner stopped the first 20 shots he faced and finished with 30 saves.

The Sabres have lost four straight, one away from their longest losing streak of the season, but were thankful they didn't lose more than a game in Detroit.

Jack Eichel went to the dressing room late in the second period after coming off the ice slowly, keeping weight off his right skate following a collision with Glendening, and making a brief stop on the bench. Buffalo's standout center was cleared to return at the start of the third period.

After a scoreless first period with a combined 14 shots, Detroit outshot Buffalo 13-4 in the second and took control without that translating to a big lead (see full recap).