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Flyers aim to bounce back vs. injury-riddled Ducks
ANAHEIM, Calif -- The Philadelphia Flyers continue their season-opening four-game road trip on Saturday by visiting the injury-plagued but resilient Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.
The Flyers (1-1-0) will look to get back on the winning track after dropping a 2-0 decision to the Los Angeles Kings Thursday.
After winning its season opener in San Jose, Philadelphia produced another solid effort at Staples Center but could not solve Jonathan Quick. The Los Angeles goaltender stopped 35 shots, including 17 in the third period.
"We generated a lot more with our 5-on-5 play (Thursday) but couldn't find a way to put one in the back of the net," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "Their goaltender played very well but effort and mentality-wise, we were pretty good."
Captain Claude Giroux, moved to left wing by Hakstol in the preseason, shared his coach's sentiments about the team's early-season play.
"I think the whole team played great (Thursday), obviously we didn't come up with the win," Giroux said. "We did a lot of good things and it's early in the season. I feel like the lines are starting to click and find some chemistry."
Wayne Simmonds leads Philadelphia in goal scoring (three) as a result of his hat trick in the 5-3 win over San Jose.
It was the first time in Philadelphia franchise history that a three-goal game was registered in a season opener, but the team will need contributions throughout this young team -- five rookies are on roster -- defensemen Travis Sanheim, Robert Hagg and Samuel Morin, winger Taylor Leier, and center Nolan Patrick. Patrick was the second overall pick in the 2017 draft and is the first member of the Flyers to make the team in his draft year since Sean Couturier in 2011.
The Ducks (1-0-0) won a battle of attrition in their 5-4 season-opening victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. Missing five regulars from the starting lineup, including captain Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim rallied from a 4-1 second-period deficit for the win. Corey Perry registered two goals and Rickard Rakell potting the game-winning tally in the third period to go along with his two assists.
Perry scored just 19 goals last season but coach Randy Carlyle believes that he can still play at a level that would place the former Hart Trophy recipient in the accustomed position among the league's top goal scorers.
"We believe in Corey Perry," Carlyle said. "The commitment that we have made to him is that if we play him in the top roles and continues to do the things we ask him to do, he will score goals. We are here to proper him up, not tear him down."
The injury list for Anaheim is lengthy with defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen, center Ryan Kesler, winger Patrick Eaves and goaltender Ryan Miller starting the season on injured reserve. Getzlaf missed Thursday's morning skate prior to the Coyotes match with a lower-body injury, causing him to sit out the game. His status is day-to-day.
Perry concurs that with the length of the injury list to start the season, it is important for him to produce in the early going. With the Ducks expected to contend for the Pacific Division title against the Edmonton Oilers, Perry knows the points available in the early-season games are important to keep pace in the divisional race. The schedule is kind to the short-handed Ducks in the early going with six of their first seven games at home.
"There are a lot of guys who are sitting out right now," Perry said. "We have a lineup with a lot of youth in the lineup and players who are being asked to take on different roles. It is exciting because you can learn what these players are all about."
Updated October 6, 2017