Flyers-Ducks observations: Wayne Simmonds delivers yet again with OT winner


ANAHEIM, Calif. — Wayne Simmonds played hero once again Saturday night for the Flyers.

Simmonds scored the game-winner 44 seconds into overtime to hand the Flyers a 3-2 win over the injury-depleted Ducks at the Honda Center. It was the Flyers’ first win in Anaheim since Dec. 2, 2011. 

The OT marker was Simmonds’ fourth goal of the season. He had a hat trick in the season opener Wednesday in San Jose.

Saturday’s win also snapped the Flyers’ eight-game losing streak to the Ducks.

• Ivan Provorov may have been the best player on the ice in this game, playing 25 minutes for the second time in three games. Primarily tasked with shutting down the Ducks’ top line and their most potent scoring threat, Provorov and the rest of the Flyers' defense limited Anaheim’s top line of Andrew Cogliano, Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry to just three combined shots.

• Brian Elliott had solid rebound control and was in control throughout as he kept everything in front of him. However, Elliott surrendered a game-tying goal in the third period for the second straight game. Overall, he stopped 21 of 23 shots.

• It was just a matter of time before the Flyers' top line scored an even-strength goal. After producing a myriad of shots in L.A., they finally got on the board, as Jake Voracek did nice job of drawing his man down low before backhanding a pass to a wide-open Sean Couturier, who was fortunate that John Gibson left his five hole slightly exposed.

• One of the biggest concerns for the Flyers' coaching staff is not getting caught with two of their rookie defenseman on the ice at the same time. That’s precisely what happened during the Ducks’ first goal, when Travis Sanheim and Robert Hagg were caught together on the same side of the ice, leaving Antoine Vermette all alone for the easy one-time goal.

• On their first shift of the game, the newly formed duo of Travis Konecny and Nolan Patrick nearly scored on a 2-on-1, as Patrick tried to beat Gibson on a one-timer. On his second shift, Patrick read a pass, intercepted it at center ice and nearly got another shot on net. I actually believe Patrick will benefit playing on the third line, especially with a talented player like Konecny. Imagine how good this line could be in a few years with Oskar Lindblom on the left side and Konecny on the right.

• Late in the third period, Konecny had a Grade-A chance to win the game from the bottom of the right circle with an uncontested shot, off a beautiful pass from Patrick. 

• Someone let out the helium out of the Flyers’ power-play balloon. After scoring three power-play goals on their first three opportunities in San Jose, Dave Hakstol’s club is now scoreless in their last 12 chances. They also gave up their first shorthanded goal of the season when Cam Fowler tied the game early in the third period. The Flyers are getting shots, but they’re just not getting those second and third whacks in front. 

• After nearly 14 minutes into the second period, the Flyers had produced more goals (1) than the Ducks had shots (0). Anaheim finally got their first shot on net 45 seconds after Couturier’s goal.

• Patrick picked up his first NHL point with the primary assist on Provorov’s goal. In the first period, arguably his most productive yet, Patrick attempted three shots, was a plus-1 and went a perfect 4 for 4 in the faceoff circle.

• The Flyers are the Ducks’ only Saturday game at the Honda Center this season. Compare that to the Flyers, who have 12 Saturday home dates. The city of Anaheim prefers to reserve Saturday for musical acts. Apparently, Ducks fans couldn’t adjust to the rare Saturday date, as every section had large numbers of unfilled seats.

• Next up for the Flyers is a date with Nashville on Tuesday. It's the Predators' home opener. The Flyers leave California with four points and two wins.