The Philadelphia Flyers suffered a rude awakening Monday afternoon in a 6-0 drubbing against the Boston Bruins that ended their three-game winning streak. But Tuesday night, the Flyers bounced back in a big way with a 5-2 victory over the lowly Anaheim Ducks.
Several Flyers players had big nights, but none as much as forward Kevin Hayes, who earned the first hat trick of his decade-long career. Hayes broke the ice in the first period with a marker on the power play, then scored off a pretty feed from Scott Laughton in the final frame. With the net empty in the game’s final seconds, Hayes potted the long-range empty-netter to set off the rainstorm of hats.
Hayes, the Flyers’ All-Star representative, is on pace to set a new career high in points this season. His current career high is 49 points, but he’s already logged 40 points in just 44 games on the campaign.
Kevin Hayes gets the first hat trick of his career pic.twitter.com/QXo40qCeaS— Ryan Quigley (@ryanquigz) January 18, 2023
Rasmus Ristolainen also put together a performance to remember.
Yes. Rasmus Ristolainen.
In the second period, the Flyers’ enormous defenseman wowed the crowd at Wells Fargo Center with a monster hit on Ducks forward Max Jones. Jones skated the puck through the neutral zone before Ristolainen laid the massive, but clean hit near center ice.
Monster hit by Rasmus Ristolainen. pic.twitter.com/JPHhCu3rfA— Ryan Quigley (@ryanquigz) January 18, 2023
Seconds later, Flyers forward Patrick Brown took a tripping penalty that gave the Ducks their first power play of the night. But instead of the Ducks earning their first lead of the tilt, Ristolainen instead scored his first goal of the season — on a shorthanded rush — to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead.
Ristolainen got the rush started by blocking a Trevor Zegras shot in the defensive zone. Laughton then picked up the loose puck and raced into the Ducks zone with Ristolainen flying down the center of the rink. Laughton dished a perfect tape-to-tape feed to the big blueliner, who then beat former Flyers netminder Anthony Stolarz with a slick backhander for the highlight-reel marker.
Rasmus Ristolainen scores his first goal of the season, and it comes shorthanded. He's had quite a night so far. pic.twitter.com/zgG7S6PQby— Ryan Quigley (@ryanquigz) January 18, 2023
Speaking of highlight-reel goals, Morgan Frost scored one of his own. And it may be the most impressive goal he’s scored in his career to this point.
With less than a minute remaining in the middle frame, Frost beat Stolarz with a dazzling between-the-legs goal from the side of the net. James van Riemsdyk was credited with the primary assist from behind the net, and the secondary assist went to — you guessed it — Ristolainen, whose two points on the night equaled his total point output on the entire season going into the game.
Morgan Frost scores between his legs to double the Flyers' lead. pic.twitter.com/mV5nyXJDRK— Ryan Quigley (@ryanquigz) January 18, 2023
After Monday’s rout in Boston, the Flyers needed a game like this to get back in the saddle. The Ducks are one of the weakest teams in the NHL, and a win against them was almost a certainty, but a response like this just over 24 hours after the Beantown beatdown is significant.
The Flyers’ next game comes Thursday against the NHL basement-dwelling Chicago Blackhawks. They’ll then kick off yet another back-to-back Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings in Motown before returning home for a Sunday tilt against the Winnipeg Jets.