anaheim ducks

Nolan Patrick's 'perfectly bad shot' stops Flyers' bleeding out West

Nolan Patrick's 'perfectly bad shot' stops Flyers' bleeding out West

BOX SCORE

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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Flyers 3, Ducks 2: Biggest October win of Dave Hakstol era?

Flyers 3, Ducks 2: Biggest October win of Dave Hakstol era?

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM, Calif. — There was a true feel of Halloween at the Honda Center between the NHL’s two orange and black teams.

After the Ducks tied Tuesday's game with a power-play goal late in the third period, Nolan Patrick answered with the game-winner just 21 seconds later to give the Flyers a much-needed 3-2 victory in Anaheim.

Patrick's goal came with 1:51 left in regulation.

How did the new-look power-play units perform and what did rookie Nicolas Aube-Kubel bring to the ice in his NHL debut?

Here are my observations:

• One of the advantages of switching up the two power-play units is that it took away the comfortability that existed on that top unit that had looked rather predictable, which made it easy for opposing teams to scout. Sean Couturier had become an afterthought and had seen very little looks from his high-slot position.

In the first period, Claude Giroux fed Couturier with a perfect pass that Couturier redirected up high and past Ryan Miller. However, Dave Hakstol went back to the previous personnel of Giroux, Shayne Gostisbehere, Couturier, Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds in the third period.

• There was a shakiness to Brian Elliott’s game in the first period as he struggled to squeeze his glove hand, leaving some rebounds out on the ice. Elliott was touched up for his first goal as Ducks winger Pontus Aberg appeared to throw Elliott off his angle ever so slightly. He gave the Flyers' goalie a shoulder fake and then waisted a perfectly placed shot high to the glove as Elliott dropped into the butterfly perhaps just a little prematurely. Elliott settled in and came through with some big momentum saves that he hadn’t made in previous starts. 

• Ivan Provorov was in beast mode during this game and played like the No. 1 defenseman the Flyers desperately need him to be. Provorov broke up a series of 2-on-1 plays early in the second period when the Flyers were sloppy, and broke up and deflected a shot off a streaking Aberg. His puck-handling was under control and he redirected a Giroux shot from the point that gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead and Provorov his first goal of the season.

• The Ducks' shot differential this season was a whopping minus-14.5 coming into their game with the Flyers, who were able to do two things considerably better in this game than previous ones: Get traffic in front of Miller and get shots off in the high-danger areas just outside the crease. Jordan Weal, Travis Sanheim and Couturier all had scoring chances from close range. A much better effort after Gostisbehere had called out the Flyers for being a perimeter team lately.

• The Flyers brought a pulse to Anaheim, starting with Travis Konecny’s high stick to Ryan Getzlaf. From there, it started a chain reaction of altercations that included a game that suited Wayne Simmonds. The "Wayne Train" mixed it up with a few Ducks after whacking away at Miller’s pads and he was also jawing with Ryan Kesler at the end of the first period, then had words for Getzlaf after the Ducks' captain appeared to have gotten away with a spear on Simmonds. 

• The NHL debut of Aube-Kubel didn’t provide anything that truly stood out, but he still came strong with energy into the third period as he bowled over Ducks defenseman Jacob Larsson for a big hit. Hakstol got exactly what he was looking for as Aube-Kubel was credited with five hits in his 5:25 of ice time.

• Even though the Flyers never trailed in this game, they weren’t necessarily clean in their puck play over the final 40 minutes. There were a number of sloppy passes and careless plays that should have never been attempted. To their credit, the Flyers had sticks and bodies in the shooting lanes to frustrate the Ducks and their potential scoring chances to help offset those mistakes.

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Flyers at Ducks: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Ducks: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Wanna get away?

Dave Hakstol's group probably did — and needed to — after losing, 6-1, to the Islanders last Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, a third straight defeat that left the team befuddled.

The Flyers (4-7-0) now open a key four-game road trip early in the season when they play the Ducks (5-5-2) Tuesday night.

Let's look at the essentials:

When: 10 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 9:30 p.m.
Where: Honda Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• The Flyers are trying anything at this point. When the power play is 1 for its last 20, changes are needed in hopes of a spark.

The personnel will switch as Nolan Patrick and Travis Konecny are expected to join the first unit in place of Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek, who will slide down to the second group.

Patrick and Konecny certainly have the ability to kick-start the Flyers.

The 20-year-old Patrick is so smart and skilled with his hands around the goal crease that it wasn't a surprise to see him thrive in Simmonds' net-front role down the stretch of last season.

Remember this?

He scored three power-play goals during Simmonds' seven-game absence and led the Flyers with five markers on the man advantage over their final 23 contests.

Last season, the Flyers also saw the benefit of giving Konecny a promotion. From Dec. 28 to April 3, a 43-game stretch in which he played on the first line alongside Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier, the 21-year-old Konecny put up 20 goals, 37 points and a plus-18 rating as the Flyers went 24-13-6.

Let's see what the kids can do because the Flyers need more out of both.

• A few aspects hard to fathom: Couturier, the Flyers' first-line center, is without an assist through 11 games, while Ivan Provorov is a minus-8 and without a goal. Nobody foresaw those two playing at this level to start the season.

And you can't blame that on coaching.

• The Ducks may be having it just as bad as the Flyers right now. They've lost five straight games and seven of their last nine after starting the season 3-0-0. Anaheim is 28th in the NHL with 2.42 goals per game, while the Flyers have allowed a league-high 46. Which one will give Tuesday night?

• Before last season's win in Anaheim, the Flyers hadn't beaten the Ducks on the road since Dec. 2, 2011. 

• Brian Elliott is 2-8-3 with a 3.31 goals-against average and .878 save percentage in 14 career games against the Ducks.

Projected lineup

Forwards
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny 
Oskar Lindblom-Nolan Patrick-Jakub Voracek
Dale Weise-Jordan Weal-Wayne Simmonds
Scott Laughton-Jori Lehtera-Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Robert Hagg
Shayne Gostisbehere-Christian Folin
Travis Sanheim-Radko Gudas

Goalies
Brian Elliott
Michal Neuvirth

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