ANAHEIM, Calif. — Nolan Patrick couldn’t have timed it any better.
As for the shot itself, it’s not exactly one Patrick cares to remember.
“I’m not going to lie to you guys and say I was aiming there,” Patrick said after scoring his third career game-winner Tuesday night. “One of the worst shots I’ve ever taken.”
Patrick snuck his way into the slot undetected and got just enough of Oskar Lindblom’s pass to send a shot under Ryan Miller's pads and give the Flyers a much-needed 3-2 victory over the Ducks to start a four-game road trip (see observations).
“I knew he was somewhere there,” Lindblom said. “I saw it. It was a perfectly bad shot.”
“It was a hell of a play. [Robert Hagg] did a good job of holding the blue line twice,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “There was no gamble to that play at all. Guys checked above it, got the puck back and made a good play to the slot. Patty got it on net quick.”
Patrick’s goal came just 21 seconds after the Ducks tied the game at 2-2 as the Flyers surrendered another power-play goal with 2:12 remaining in regulation. Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle saw the play a little differently from his angle.
“We vacated the area of our coverage,” Carlyle said. “They just made a Hail Mary pass to the front and it was right on the tape for Patrick.”
For a team that had lost three straight games, having been outscored 13-2, the Flyers will take game-winning goals and victories without the style points. More importantly, the Flyers not only scored the first goal for just the second time this season, but, it's hard to believe, this was also the first game in which the Flyers never faced a deficit.
“That’s critical and positive on the road to do that,” Hakstol said. “We didn’t get one [goal] and just back off. We played a good hockey game.”
The Flyers played an inspired hockey game with increased emotion with a chippy edge that hasn’t been prevalent throughout the first month of the season. Players on both sides were exchanging verbal jabs skating back to the bench, with some big hits with some additional physical altercation coming after the whistle.
“Yeah, I think every time we play here is a little chippy,” Claude Giroux said. “They’re fun games.”
“This game feels really good right now,” Hagg said. “It’s going to really help the confidence. We really needed this, especially after the last couple of weeks have been really tough. Coming up with a win on the first game here on the road I think will help this team a lot.”
And with that, the Flyers closed out a forgettable month of October with a record of 5-7-0.
One bad shot may be the one shot in the arm the Flyers are looking for.
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