Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR4) Gm 72: ANA 5, PHI 3 – Winners & Lousers
PAin. The Philadelphia Flyers lose, 5-3, to the Anaheim Ducks. On a day where every other Philadelphia team in season — the 76ers, Phillies, and Union — won, the Flyers looked like they were on their way to making it a perfect day for Philadelphia sports. Instead, a poor final two periods were their demise, as the Flyers drop their second of as many games this season to the Ducks, who hadn’t beaten the Flyers in Philadelphia since Oct. 2017 before Saturday night. Granted, they’d played just two games at the Wells Fargo Center since that contest, but still.
While the Flyers didn’t come away with the victory, Saturday’s game was a great one for at least one person: Lou Nolan, a winner in every sense of the world. Even though he’s never played an NHL game, few people are more synonymous with Flyers hockey than Nolan, the team’s public address announcer for a whopping 50 years. While it may not have been quite as emotional as Claude Giroux’s ceremony a few weeks ago, the Flyers certainly didn’t sell Nolan short. From a video tribute featuring plenty of Flyers legends (as well as his wife, Ellen) to a guest appearance by Eric Lindros and even special warm-up jerseys, all with a “Nolan” nameplate and the No. 50 on the back, the Flyers pulled out all the off-ice stops to give Nolan a great night.
For twenty minutes, it looked like they would extend that reach to the on-ice product. The Flyers came out of the gates guns blazing, completely overwhelming the Ducks early on. Travis Sanheim scored on the first shot of the game off a beautiful Morgan Frost feed just 1:39 in. Then Ronnie Attard found twine for the first time in his NHL career on a point shot through traffic less than a minute later. With two goals and two drawn penalties, the Flyers certainly gave Nolan’s legendary voice a workout early on.
But the wheels completely fell off in the second. The Ducks absolutely torched the Flyers, one-upping Philadelphia’s 16-6 first-period shots advantage with a 17-4 margin in the second. Goals scored 1:32 apart from Sonny Milano and Zach Aston-Reese erased the Flyers’ lead in the blink of an eye. And fittingly after the Flyers’ horrid power-play couldn’t convert on either of their first period chances, Anaheim took the lead on a man-advantage marker by Trevor Zegras late in the frame.
The Flyers did tie the game early in the third, with Ivan Provorov scoring a near-identical goal to the Sanheim tally to make it a 3-3 game. But the Ducks continue to dominate, winning the expected goals margin in the third by a near 2:1 ratio. That’s the same ratio they ultimately outscored the Flyers by in the third as well. Though the Flyers kept Zegras from making another successful lacrosse move, they couldn’t stop him from scoring on a gorgeous backhand spin-o-rama pass that deflected in off a Flyer. Another Anaheim goal less than three minutes later put away any home of a Flyers victory for their legend on the mic.
One thing I didn’t realize is that apparently Nolan hasn’t been allowed to broadcast games rinkside lately, which I’m guessing is a precaution that goes back to the beginning of COVID tonight. It was great to see him get back in that seat tonight. Dave Scott hasn’t exactly endeared himself with Flyers fans, especially during the 2021-22 season. But even his harshest critics could probably admit this was a pretty nice move.
Joel Farabee missed tonight’s game with the flu, with Hayden Hodgson getting the resulting emergency recall. Loved how Hodgson immediately pointed at Attard after he came so close to deflecting the puck, NHL.com initially credited Hodgson with the goal.
Ivan Provorov’s goal gives him five points (3 G, 2 A) in his last five games. He’s looked like a different player as of late. Part of that, but certainly not all of it, speaks to just how talented Cam York is. No offense to Justin Braun, but I don’t think Provorov’s turnaround would be possible with someone like Braun who isn’t a puck-mover. But it’s also a reminder to everyone, fans and critics, of how good Provorov can be when he’s at his best.
In honor of Nate Thompson assisting on Provorov’s goal, I’ll add a stat from a few games ago I forgot to include. You may have remembered Thompson assisted on York’s game-opening goal against the Rangers last week. That was Thompson’s 44th game with the Flyers; 21st this season, plus 7 in the 2019-20 regular season and 16 in the 2020 playoffs. That was his very first assist as a Flyer. He’s had two goals with the Flyers before; one earlier this season in Edmonton and the game-winner in Philadelphia’s first round-robin game in the Toronto bubble. Took him all of three games to get his second helper in Orange and Black.
Congratulations to Bobby Brink and the University of Denver on beating Minnesota St. 5-1 to win the NCAA Championship. Certainly, a memorable way for Brink to (likely) end his collegiate career. Next up for the 2019 2nd round pick: sign his entry-level deal and join Attard and Noah Cates in making his NHL debut down the 2021-22 stretch.
This game also featured the return of three former Flyers. First, there was New Jersey product Anthony Stolarz in goal. Stolarz didn’t deliver his strongest performance ever; the Sanheim goal squeaked through him, and the Attard goal is probably one he’d like back. But he did finish with a respectable .909 save percentage and did enough for the win. Derek Grant, who the Flyers picked up at the 2020 deadline and is remembered in Philadelphia only for his pay-back head-pat of Nick Suzuki after the Flyers clinched their first-round win over the Canadiens in 2020, added Anaheim’s late insurance marker. Perhaps the most notable return was also the most recent Flyer: the brief but cult beloved Gerry Mayhew.
3rd: Jamie Drysdale (ANA) – 2 Assists (25, 26), 3 Shots
2nd: Ronnie Attard (PHI) – Goal (1)
1st: Trevor Zegras (ANA) – 2 Goals (19, 20), Assist (34)
ANA: 4/10, 6 PM @ CAR (46-18-8, L1)
PHI: 4/12, 7 PM @ WSH (39-22-10, W2)
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All Advanced Stats are 5-on-5 unless otherwise stated and via Natural Stat Trick
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