ANAHEIM — Thanks to a late goal from Nolan Patrick, the Flyers edged Anaheim, 3-2, and snapped a three-game losing streak Tuesday night. Here are five observations:
Ivan Provorov looked like the dominating player from last season. The 21-year-old defenseman had not been himself in the first three-plus weeks, but he scored his first goal of the season and had an outstanding defensive game to key the win. Provorov blocked five shots, and probably saved a goal with one of them.
"Provy was good tonight," coach Dave Hakstol said. "… Sometimes when things don't go well for our team, he draws negative attention, but you've got to remember that he's playing against the other team's best player every night. Hey, that's his job and he loves the challenge. Tonight, he was good. He was on top of everything and very sharp."
Provorov played nearly 27 minutes.
The Flyers played one of their best defensive games this season, keeping the Ducks on the perimeter and allowing just 25 shots. They also played with an edge, a trait that had been missing in most games.
If this was an indication of what's to come, it will be a successful four-game road trip.
The Flyers haven't had great responses this season after they allow goals. Too many times, those goals have been followed by stretches of uneven play. Tuesday was different, as they responded twice shortly after Anaheim goals.
The Ducks appeared to have regained the momentum after Pontus Aberg scored to tie the game at 1 early in the second period. But a little more than seven minutes later, Provorov scored on a deflection to regain the lead and the Flyers dominated the rest of the second.
With 1:51 left in regulation, just 21 seconds after Aberg tied the game at 2 with a power-play redirect, Patrick scored what proved to be the game-winner after taking a great feed from Oskar Lindblom.
"It's brutal," Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf said of the late-game goals. "That's as high and as low as you can get in a matter of seconds."
The Flyers were much more relentless than in most other games. They finished with 36 shots, and many were from in close for a change.
"We controlled the puck a lot, created a lot of chances," center Sean Couturier said. "But I thought we did a good job defensively coming back in the slot and not giving up the second chances."
"Several times, we were able to put three, four, five [quality] shifts together where we were able to build momentum," Hakstol said. "… That's something we haven't done on a regular basis."
Needed: a win streak
The Flyers (5-7) will try to duplicate the effort Thursday in Los Angeles – and attempt to win two straight for the first time this season.
No team in the league has fewer points (seven) than the 3-7-1 Kings, whose minus-17 goal differential is worst in the NHL.
In other words, it will be an opportune time for the Flyers to finally win two straight and build some momentum before heading to San Jose.