The Flyers should thank Jakub Voracek.
He was brilliant Saturday with two assists and the game-winning goal to push the Flyers past the Devils, 5-2, at the Wells Fargo Canter.
This was a quality — and needed — victory for the Flyers (4-4-0), who climbed back to .500 following an ugly showing Thursday in Columbus.
It was quality because the Devils (4-2-0) came in as one of the NHL's hottest teams to start the 2018-19 season. New Jersey opened the year with four straight wins over the Oilers, Capitals, Sharks and Stars by a combined score of 17-4.
Voracek passed John LeClair for 12th on the franchise's all-time assists list at 311, adding to his big day.
The game went down to the wire before Wayne Simmonds and Scott Laughton tacked on empty-netters to finish the deal.
• Voracek's game-winner in the final four minutes was on a nifty move. Not many have his handles and ability in the open ice. He single-handedly made plays.
GO 👏 OFF 👏 JAKE 👏 pic.twitter.com/XqL8kHAhqI— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) October 20, 2018
• Nolan Patrick was back Saturday after missing the past three games with an upper-body injury. It was a productive return. Off a superb pass from Voracek, the 20-year-old center scored his first goal of the season with Nico Hischier behind in pursuit.
The goal gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead with 1:04 left in the second period. Patrick back in the lineup is huge on multiple fronts, especially his two-way focus down the middle. The offense will come, but the little things he does are game-changing traits.
Nolan Patrick's first goal of the season!— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) October 20, 2018
P.S. peep that pass from Voracek 👀 pic.twitter.com/ZwTujYhhN4
• Travis Konecny is starting to heat up. He scored an important goal on the second-unit power play a little over six minutes after the Devils struck first in the opening period.
It was vital to get that goal back, especially from the No. 2 man-advantage group. Konecny aggressively ripped a shot from the circle for his second goal in as many games. He has four points in his last three games after putting up just one in his first five.
A nice TK goal for your Saturday afternoon.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) October 20, 2018
Flyers and Devils are tied at one! pic.twitter.com/SHKGczjOLx
• Jordan Weal is a player. Yes, he did commit three penalties, with the third resulting in the Devils' game-tying 2-2 goal early in the final frame.
But he's smart, he's skilled, he wins faceoffs and he has to stay at center. It would be hard to justify him sitting much this season.
It's no coincidence Konecny has gotten going with Weal centering his line over the last three outings. Weal saw second-unit PP time Saturday and he won the faceoff that led to Konecny's goal.
The 26-year-old can play — he just needs to be in the right spots. He helped the Flyers have a 44-16 advantage in the dot.
• For the first time this season, head coach Dave Hakstol separated top defensive pair Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov. Gostisbehere was with Christian Folin, while Provorov teamed up with Robert Hagg.
This was a good time to try breaking up those two and create a little more balance and complementary pairs.
• Brian Elliott wasn't tested a ton but he did make some of those timely saves when it's a point-blank shot and you need your goalie to come up big. He stopped 19 shots.
Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid entered 6-1-0 with a 2.38 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in his career against the Flyers. He made 16 saves.
• The officiating was not great. The first-period hooking penalty called on Michael Raffl was a ticky-tacky one and led to the Devils' game-opening marker.
During a second-period power play, Weal was whistled for embellishment and Hakstol made sure to give the officials an earful.
• The Flyers are off Sunday and then host the Avalanche Monday night at 7 p.m. on NBCSP. Gritty shirts will be given to all fans in attendance (see story).
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