Jake Voracek stars as Flyers rebound to beat Senators; Nolan Patrick injured
Jake Voracek had two goals and an assist as the Flyers defeated the host Senators — one night after a humiliating 8-2 defeat to San Jose in their home opener.
OTTAWA, Ontario — One night after they allowed the most goals in a home opener in franchise history, the Flyers regrouped Wednesday behind a veteran right winger who was goal-less in the first three games.
Jake Voracek had a career-high five points and scored two goals, and Cal Pickard made 31 saves as the Flyers rebounded and defeated Ottawa, 7-4, at the Canadian Tire Centre. Pickard, who made his Flyers debut, was playing in the NHL for the first time since December.
"The boys stuck together, which was a good sign after last night," left winger Scott Laughton said after his goal gave the Flyers the lead for good, at 4-3, late in the second period. He later added an empty-net goal.
"Sometimes, it's good when you can get on the road after that type of game and play the next day," said Voracek, referring to Tuesday's embarrassing 8-2 loss to San Jose. "We took advantage of it."
The Flyers (2-2), however, lost another one of their forwards to an injury. Center Nolan Patrick took a stick to the face in the first period and didn't return. The team is already without left winger James van Riemsdyk, who will miss at least five weeks with a knee injury.
Jori Lehtera spent most of the game filling in for Patrick on the second line.
With the score tied at 3-3, Dale Weise, playing his first game of the season, helped create the next goal while the teams were playing four-on-four. Wheeling behind the net, Weise (two assists) tried to score on a wraparound and the puck pinballed out to Laughton, who scored on a backhander to give the Flyers a 4-3 lead with 4:15 to go in the second.
The Flyers had the lead for good.
"It was a gut-check game," coach Dave Hakstol said.
"It says a lot about our team's character after what happened [Tuesday] night," said Shane Gostisbehere, who set up the Flyers' two power-play goals and had six shots.
"Nolan went down and guys stepped up and really played well as a team," said Claude Giroux after collecting a goal and an assist and firing seven shots.
Defenseman Robert Hagg skated into the slot and converted a pass from Michael Raffl, who was near the goal line, to put the Flyers ahead, 5-3, with 15:52 remaining in the third. Giroux (power-play rebound) made it 6-3 with his first goal of the season, scored with 7:23 left.
Because of injuries to Michal Neuvirth and Alex Lyon, Pickard was claimed off waivers from Toronto on Oct. 2. Visa problems delayed his joining the team, and he had just one full practice with the Flyers before getting Wednesday's start.
"He's very calm, but we obviously have to give him some help on the penalty kill," said Gostisbehere, whose team allowed three power-play goals in seven chances. "But he played the puck really well and was sound for us back there."
"He fights and battles. There's one goal he obviously wants back," Hakstol said, referring to Brady Tkachuk's second-period tally from above the right circle, "but when you haven't been in much of a game rhythm, some of those things are probably going to happen. I can look past that pretty easily and look at the real good saves he made for us."
Pickard, 26, who spent parts of four NHL seasons with Colorado and Toronto, was sharp in the first period, turning aside 13 of 14 shots and allowing a fluky power-play goal on a deflection off the skates of two Senators, Chris Tierney and Tkachuk. For Tkachuk, 19, the fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft and the son of former NHL star, Keith, it was his first career goal.
The Flyers, who have allowed the first goal in all four games, tied it on a power-play deflection of their own. About six minutes after Tkachuk's goal, Voracek redirected Gostisbehere's point blast to knot the score at 1-1.
"They got the first one, but we did a good job of not getting frustrated," Giroux said.
Ottawa regained the lead when Tkachuk beat Pickard with 18:40 left in the second, but the Flyers scored three second-period goals on just nine shots and took a 4-3 lead into the third and coasted to the win.
After Tuesday's blowout loss, Pickard said, "'we told each other we just have to throw that game out."