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5 Takeaways: Flyers Rebound as Risto, Frost Score WOW Goals, Hayes Has Hatty

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Noah Cates, Philadelphia Flyers
Noah Cates collides with Anaheim goalie Anthony Stolarz in the first period Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center. Photo: AP.

One night after they crashed in Boston against the NHL’s best team, the Philadelphia Flyers were thankful for the quick turnaround, thankful to have a chance to redeem themselves Tuesday.

They did.

Getting highlight-reel goals from Rasmus Ristolainen (shorthanded) and Morgan Frost, along with Kevin Hayes’ first career hat trick, the Flyers coasted to their eighth win in 10 games.

They whipped the lowly Anaheim Ducks, 5-2, on Pride Night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Monday’s game “didn’t go the way we wanted it to,” Hayes said. “I thought we responded well.”

Scott Laughton, Travis Konecny, and Wade Allison each had two assists for the Flyers, who rebounded from Monday’s 6-0 loss in Boston.

Tuesday’s win put them five points out of a playoff spot. Really.

On Thursday against visiting Chicago, Philly (19-19-7) can go over the “hockey .500” mark for the first time since Nov. 15, when it was 7-6-3.

Here are five quick observations.

1. When did Rasmus Ristolainen display hands like Gretzky?

Tuesday.

Just ask the fans who dropped their jaws and watched the hard-to-fathom development in the second period.

Ristolainen, of course, is the Philadelphia Flyers’ most physical player. The 6-foot-4, 221-pound defenseman is known for his hitting, not his scoring. Especially not scoring with a shorthanded move that had the fans howling.

But that’s what happened. Honest.

Sent in alone by Laughton, Ristolainen — who moments earlier had leveled Max Jones — scored on an artistic forehand-backhand move that gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead with 7:17 remaining in the second.

“A sick goal,” Frost called it.

It was his first goal of the season — and first in nearly a full calendar year. It was also the Flyers’ league-leading ninth shorthanded goal this season.

Ristolainen had two points, matching his total for the entire season before Tuesday.

“He has played better,” coach John Tortorella said. “Protected the puck well, made simple plays, had a good stick. I’m happy for him. His first goal tonight. He has been knocking on the door with that.”

2. Morgan Frost tried to top Ristolainen’s goal.

Call him Morgan the Magician.

Making a move that shows he’s oozing with confidence, Frost put the puck through his legs and then went top shelf to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead with 39 seconds to go in the second.

Frost, 23, now has nine goals and is on pace for 16. He has 15 points (6-9) in the last 17 games.

Give James van Riemsdyk credit for winning a puck battle behind the net and setting up Frost.

3. The Flyers put Monday’s embarrassment behind them. Quickly.

Philly swarmed the net in the opening 20 minutes. Anaheim goalie Anthony Stolarz, a former Flyer who grew up in Jackson, N.J., could have sued for non-support. He was under siege the entire period as the Flyers had 31 shot attempts.

The Flyers had a 17-4 shots domination, and the Ducks had to feel fortunate they faced just a 1-0 deficit heading into second. Stolarz kept them close.

4. Kevin Hayes atones for a turnover.

With the Flyers on a (pass-happy) five-on-three power play, Hayes turned over the puck. That sent Maxime Comtois, who came out of the penalty box, on a breakaway. But Sam Ersson came out of the net and forced Comtois to shoot wide.

The puck came down the other end and, this time, Comtois coughed up the puck, leading too Hayes’ five-on-four goal from the right circle with 6:28 left in the first.

Hayes made it 4-1 early in the third, finishing off a slick backhand pass from Laughton. Later, he made it 5-2 by scoring an empty-netter with 43.9 seconds left, giving him a hat trick.

He has 13 goals on the season.

Entering the night, Hayes had just one goal in his last 16 games.

5. The Ducks were thoroughly outplayed but somehow were tied at 1-1.

Anaheim had few offensive chances, but it capitalized on one of its rare opportunities to knot the score at 1-1 all.

Owen Tippett was knocked to the ice down one end, enabling the Ducks to go on an odd-man rush, which ended with Adam Henrique deposited his team-leading 15th goal with 12:21 left in the second. At the time, the Ducks had been outshot, 24-8.

But Ristolainen and Frost restored order, and the Flyers took a 3-1 lead — and a 30-13 shots advantage — heading into the third period.

Breakaways

Ersson, who wasn’t tested too often until the third period, became the first Flyers goalie to win his first five decisions since Antero Niittymaki (2003-04 to 2005-06). Bob Froese won his first eight decisions in 1982-83. … Ristolainen’s goal was his first since Jan. 22, 2022, and it was the first shorthanded tally of his career. … Konecny had five shots. … Ivan Provorov played despite missing warmups; he didn’t take part because of his religious beliefs. The Flyers wore Pride jerseys in warmups. … Hayes had nine two-goal games in his career before tonight.

PHN: Provorov Skips Pride Night Warmups for Religious Reasons

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