3rd Star: Nolan Patrick
Patrick may not have found the back of the net during the preseason, but it didn’t take him long when things actually mattered, notching his first career goal in his fourth NHL game.
On Tuesday night, the 19 year old stuffed home a rebound after linemate Dale Weise crashed the Nashville Predators’ net. It was the second Flyers’ goal of the night on Philly’s short-lived three-goal comeback.
Besides that, he also scored his first point with a primary assists three nights before on Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks. In the three games this past week, the rookie accumulated two points.
Like every other rookie, Patrick has stretches and shifts where he struggles, but there’s no doubt he’s proven himself as an NHLer over the first week and a half of the regular season.
2nd Star: Jordan Weal
Weal didn’t light up the score sheet by any measure this past week. He did record two assists over the past two games, which isn’t shabby, but isn’t groundbreaking either.
But every time I saw Weal on the ice, I was genuinely impressed. The former King has to be one of the fastest skaters on the team and uses that speed to create offense.
However, what impressed me most is his work along the boards. Despite only weighing in at 5-foot-10 and 179 lbs., there’s always more than just a chance Weal can come away with the puck in a scrum.
Weal has an excellent motor and even if he doesn’t score at the pace he did last season, he’s still in store for a more-than-respectable offensive season.
1st Star: Valtteri Filppula
To be honest, this was a tough week to hand out stars to the Flyers. The team won just once, squandered a 5-3 lead and was shutout to start the week. On top of that, not a lot of players stood out consistently.
Filppula definitely falls into that category, but his work against the Predators have earned him the top spot in a lackluster weak.
The Finnish center scored two goals, including the then-tying marker and the should-have-been nail in the coffin fifth goal, Tuesday night. But it wasn’t the goals scored, it was how he did it.
To the chagrin of many, Filppula has Brayden Schenn’s old spot on the power play in the high slot. Both of the former Lightning’s goals came on the man advantage in Schenn fashion.
The first was a gritty rebound attempt and knowing where to set up. On the second, Filppula found the soft spot in the defense, something Schenn excelled at, for Giroux to hit with a pass.
Filppula’s efforts against the Predators should silence detractors for the time being.
Dud: Dave Hakstol
I promise to not name Hakstol or other off-ice figures too often on these lists, but the coach’s decisions Tuesday night won’t be easily forgotten.
To start, he named Brian Elliott starter for the third time in four games when Michal Neuvirth had the strongest game of any of them and should have been up next. I believe Hakstol went with Elliott because the Flyers were playing a Western Conference opponent, the conference the former Flame had played in for the previous six seasons.
Either way, Elliott didn’t help his coach, giving up a couple easy goals among the six he let up Tuesday.
But it was Hakstol’s choice to challenge for an incredibly borderline offsides review with just over a minute left in a tied game that has fans most upset. Since the call was not overturned, Philly took another penalty and needed to finish regulation at 5-on-3 again to get a point. They could not do it.
On top of all that, Hakstol has continued to use Dale Weise on the top nine and didn’t play Samuel Morin before he was returned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, but that may not have been his choice alone.