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Nolan Patrick’s late goal lifts Flyers past Ducks, halts three-game losing skid

The Flyers’ penalty kill tried to ruin all the fun, but the second-year pro had something up his sleeves to save the night.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Nolan Patrick scored the game-winning goal with 1:51 left in the third and Brian Elliott made 23 saves on 25 shots as the Flyers beat the Ducks, 3-2, to end their three-game losing streak.

The Flyers carried play for most of the game in this one, but needed a late Patrick go-ahead goal after surrendering a tying goal to Cam Fowler with just over two minutes left in regulation. But Patrick wouldn’t be denied and gave the Flyers their first regulation win in Anaheim since 2008 when Martin Biron was roaming the crease.

Sean Couturier had the game’s first scoring chance, but Ryan Miller turned him aside just over a minute in after a quick breakout from the Flyers. The early pressure would result in a power play for the Flyers with Marcus Pettersson off for holding Jake Voracek.

It would be the first of some new-look power play lines for the Flyers, with instant payoff coming for the Orange and Black’s new first power play unit with Nolan Patrick and Travis Konecny. Couturier would bury his second scoring chance of the game, re-directing a Claude Giroux feed past Miller to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead just 3:07 in. The power play goal ended an 0-for-12 skid on the man-advantage with Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere picking up the assists. It’s also just the second time the Flyers have scored the first goal in now 12 tries.

But in early season Flyers fashion, Dale Weise would take a penalty the shift after the goal. The Ducks were unable to pierce the Flyers’ 30th-ranked penalty kill this time around.

In desperate need of a strong first, the Flyers controlled the fist 10 minutes while doubling up shots on the Ducks and holding that one goal lead. The Flyers did a nice job of keeping things tight defensively for much of the period.

Playing in his NHL debut, Nicolas Aube-Kubel came up with a nice cross-ice feed to Scott Laughton that ended with a Jordan Weal chance on Miller with 5:01 left in the period. Aube-Kubel was off to a hot start in Lehigh Valley and recalled to give the Flyers a short-term spark.

That would be all the offense for the first as the Flyers would take a lead into the intermission for just the third time all season.

AFTER 20: Flyers 1, Ducks 0

Two good early chances for the Flyers to start the second, but neither Weal nor Couturier could extend the lead and they would pay for their shortcomings.

Pontus Aberg ripped a wrist shot past Brian Elliott 1:45 into the period to even things up at 1-1. Rickard Rackell and Hampus Lindholm picked up assists on the tying goal for the Ducks.

The Flyers’ second power play of the night was not a good one, unless you were a Ducks fan. Anaheim killed the penalty easily and actually had two solid chances shorthanded on Elliott. The veteran was able to withstand what amounted to basically a pair of 2-on-1 rushes for the Ducks.

Ivan Provorov’s first goal of the season would give the Flyers the lead back at 2-1 at the 8:57 mark. Giroux drifted along the blue line and let a wrist shot go that glanced off the net driving Provorov for the go-ahead goal. It’s been a rough start to the season for No. 9, and his emotional celebration should tell you how good that goal felt.

Giroux, already armed with a pair of assists, nearly found a third goal with a high-pressure shift from his line with about eight minutes left in the period. Miller survived the onslaught, though, despite heavy pressure as the captain had a ton of jam in this one.

After another solid period, the Flyers allowed the Ducks to pick up some momentum late in the period. Elliott came up with a huge save on Cam Fowler to preserve the 2-1 lead, but Jori Lehtera did pick up a minor to give the Ducks 1:58 of power play carryover time to the third period.

AFTER 40: Flyers 2, Ducks 1

Thanks to a couple of dandy stops from Elliott, a couple clears, and some solid shot blocking the Flyers survived the Lehtera penalty. Christian Folin came up with a nice skate save on the Ducks’ last gasp as the Flyers came up with their second kill of the night.

Joseph Blandisi would give the Flyers a chance on the man-advantage by closing his hand on the puck. The Flyers’ first power play was a good one but the second was a mitigated disaster. The third could have given the Flyers a two-goal lead in a game they really controlled to this point.

Wayne Simmonds and Jake Voracek jumped back on the top unit for this power play but the Flyers weren’t able to get a third goal despite good work and four shots towards Miller. Simmonds was involved down low and had a pair of jam chances but couldn’t convert.

Anaheim started to pressure after killing off the Blandisi penalty, with the Flyers needing two pad stops from Elliott with traffic in front to preserve the lead after back-to-back good shifts from the Ducks in the offensive zone.

Disaster nearly struck for the Ghost as he fumbled a puck right in front of his own net that nearly gave the Ducks a 2-on-0, but the play was broken up and the Flyers were able to live to see another day with Elliott eventually swatting away a loose puck in the air.

With 5:48 left the Flyers would get yet another chance to put away the Ducks, this time with a power play after Gostisbehere was nicked up high. Dave Hakstol did go back again to Simmonds and Voracek on the top unit in place of Konecny and Patrick as he had to start the game. But once again the Flyers weren’t able to take advantage and grab that all-important insurance goal. It was Anaheim that had perhaps the best chance shorthanded, though Jake Voracek did have a grade-A chance himself.

And of course Jordan Weal took a penalty with 3:33 left to make things even more interesting for the Flyers. It’s a tripping call at a really, really bad time with the Flyers trying desperately to end a three-game losing skid.

Low and behold, the Ducks would find a tying goal with 2:12 left courtesy of Cam Fowler. It appeared to be a long shift on the penalty kill for Scott Laughton at least, and Fowler took the extra real estate and beat Elliott to even things up at 2-2. In another big moment, the Flyers’ penalty kill let them down.

While the penalty kill let them down, Nolan Patrick was there to pick things right back up. On the following shift Oskar Lindblom found Patrick in front to beat Miller and regain the lead at 3-2 with 1:51 left. It’s his third of the season, coming just 21 seconds after Fowler’s tying goal.

A late flurry from the Ducks wouldn’t result in an equalizer and the Flyers hold on for the 3-2 win, their first in Anaheim since way back in 2008.

FINAL: Flyers 3, Ducks 2