EditorsNote: Corrects spelling of Vatanen and Ritchie
Getzlaf returns, leads Ducks past Flyers
PHILADELPHIA — Energized by the return of captain Ryan Getzlaf and defenseman Hampus Lindholm, the Anaheim Ducks opened a four-game road trip with a dominating 6-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
“They are very good players in the league and they demonstrated that tonight,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “We’ve been banged down and beaten up pretty good with injuries. Any time you can welcome veterans back it does energize your group and gives them more confidence.”
After missing five of Anaheim’s first seven games with a lower body injury, Getzlaf had a goal and an assist in his return to the lineup.
“I felt good out there, getting my wind back,” Getzlaf said. “Last time I rushed back and I ended up back on the IR, so this time we wanted to make sure we did the work and were ready to go.”
Ondrej Kase also netted two goals, and Nick Ritchie, Rickard Rakell and Brandon Montour each scored once for the Ducks (4-3-1).
Anaheim has outscored its opponents 12-4 in its past two games after netting just seven goals in its previous five games. Corey Perry added two assists.
Goaltender John Gibson (4-2-1) turned aside 31 of 33 shots for the win.
Sean Couturier netted his fifth and sixth goals of the season for the Flyers (5-4-0), who concluded a five-game homestand with a 3-2-0 record.
“They have a good forecheck, they have guys who can skate and some big bodies,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. “We just couldn’t feel the puck tonight. It’s frustrating, but it’s a long season and games like this are going to happen. It’s how we deal with it.”
Goaltender Brian Elliott (4-2-0) was shaky in the loss, allowing six goals on 25 shots, including a penalty shot goal by Kase with 4:11 remaining.
“To a man we could have been a lot better, starting with me in the nets,” Elliott said.
The win was the first on the road for the Ducks, who played their first game of the season with Lindholm (one assist) and their first without defenseman Cam Fowler, who is sidelined indefinitely with a lower body injury.
The Flyers saw their top draft pick of 2017, center Nolan Patrick, leave the game 2:35 into the second period with an apparent head injury. Patrick, 19, had to be helped to the tunnel after absorbing a hard but legal shoulder check into the boards from Ducks right winger Chris Wagner.
Patrick will be evaluated Wednesday, according to Flyers coach Dave Hakstol.
“When it’s your head, it’s something to be concerned about,” Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning said. “Hopefully, it’s nothing major, he can sleep well tonight and it’s not too bad.”
The Flyers opened the scoring 8:51 into the game when Couturier broke in alone on Gibson and beat him with a nifty backhander. The Flyers outshot the Ducks 12-6 in that period, but Kase scored the equalizer with 1:38 remaining.
The Ducks scored four consecutive goals in the second period, including a power-play goal by Ritchie. It was Anaheim’s second power-play goal in as many games after going the first six games without one.
“We’re making plays,” Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. “Sometimes when you focus on defensive zone coverage, the offensive game finds itself and that’s what’s happening.”
NOTES: Flyers D Shayne Gostisbehere said the ice conditions at the Wells Fargo Center were “horrendous,” adding it was the worst ice he has played on in Philadelphia since arriving three years ago. ... D Hampus Lindholm took D Cam Fowler’s spot on an Anaheim top defense pairing alongside Josh Manson. D Sami Vatanen (shoulder) is expected to return to the lineup during the club’s four-game road trip that continues Thursday night against the Florida Panthers. ... Ducks C Kalle Kossila, recalled from the AHL San Diego Gulls, played in just his second career NHL game on a fourth line with LW Chris Wagner and RW Logan Shaw. ... Ducks RW Jared Boll, who has 1,286 career penalty minutes, was a healthy scratch against the Flyers, who have been opting for more speed and less toughness on their fourth line this season. ... With D Andrew MacDonald (lower body injury, 4-6 weeks) sidelined, rookie D Robert Hagg played alongside Ivan Provov on the Flyers’ top pairing and D Brandon Manning was reinserted on a third pairing with rookie Travis Sanheim.