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Troy Terry’s 1st NHL hat trick propels Ducks past Flyers

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ANAHEIM — Winger Troy Terry recorded his first NHL hat trick and the Ducks came away with their first win in five games, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-1, in front of 11,375 fans on Tuesday night at Honda Center.

The victory moved the Ducks within two points of first-place Vegas, which lost to Nashville on Tuesday. The Ducks were without eight players due to injury, illness or COVID-related protocols.

“For us to win a game with this group that we had, it was just a testament to how much this group plays for each other,” Terry said.

Terry now has 21 goals (11 of which have tied the score or given the Ducks a lead) this season, which places him third in the league behind former MVPs Leon Draisaitl and Alex Ovechkin.

“I had the puck a lot more against Colorado (on Sunday). Some scoring chances didn’t go my way the last game but they did tonight,” Terry said.

Winger Sonny Milano also scored for the Ducks. Defenseman Jamie Drysdale had two assists and initiated the scoring sequence on the Ducks’ third goal, and John Gibson had 28 saves for his 12th win of the season.

“For us, that was as big of a win as I can remember this year,” said Ducks coach Dallas Eakins, who earned his 100th NHL victory. “That was to a man everyone doing their job and being fully committed to a game plan. We had big saves when we needed them and our special teams chipped in.”

Winger Cam Atkinson scored for Philadelphia. Carter Hart, who recently exited COVID protocols, made 26 saves in his first appearance since Dec. 16.

In addition to some key injuries such as center Sean Couturier, the Flyers were also without four players due to COVID protocols, including their leaders in scoring and minutes played, Claude Giroux and Ivan Provorov.

“Guys are testing positive with no symptoms or mild symptoms. The league’s got to find a way to change that,” Atkinson said. “We’re going to either keep playing shorthanded all season long or games are going to keep getting postponed. I think it’s a joke; it’s got to change.”

With 49 seconds remaining in regulation, Terry completed his hat trick with an empty-netter.

“I didn’t care if I was going to get hit into the third row of the stands, that puck was going to his stick,” said winger Max Comtois, who assisted on the goal. “He’s having an awesome year, 21 goals already, tied with a lot of good players in this league and that just proves how good of a player he is.”

The third period saw Philadelphia open up its game a bit, and Gibson had to make three saves in quick succession during the middle of the frame, including two dangerous shots from defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. Earlier in the game, Gibson stopped a James VanRiemsdyk breakaway and tormented winger Travis Konecny with multiple larcenous saves.

“Gibbie could care less what our lineup looks like or who’s playing, he’s there to win. He was excellent,” said Eakins, who also lauded the shot-blocking of defenseman Josh Manson.

The Ducks earned their third goal late in the second period on their second power play of the evening. Some decisive puck movement broke down when Sam Steel’s centering pass deflected off Rickard Rakell’s leg in the slot, but Milano was waiting at the backdoor to pop the puck past Hart.

Though the Ducks were without center Trevor Zegras, his running mate Milano summoned a bit of Zegras-esque creativity when he tapped a bouncing puck off his stick and then over the net for a lob pass similar to the one Zegras famously sent him earlier this season. The difference was that this time the pass did not find its intended receiver, winger Vinni Lettieri.

Philadelphia halved the Ducks’ lead with a goal off the rush. Center Scott Laughton’s drop pass opened up a shot by winger Joel Farabee, which Atkinson redirected for his team-leading 13th goal. Atkinson set up all three goals for Philadelphia in its loss to the Kings on Saturday.

Before the midway mark of the first period, the Ducks went up 2-0 during an innocuous situation that their two most skilled players on the ice turned into a serious threat. A defensive-zone faceoff win got the puck to Drysdale below his own goal line. He banked a pass off the right-wing boards that sent Terry ahead with speed. Terry slid the puck to himself, beating defenseman Travis Sanheim to the middle, and was off to the races for a partial breakaway that he finished with some precise stickhandling and a backhand shot.

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“When I was able to corral (the pass) I could just tell that I caught (Sanheim) kind of in the middle if he should pinch or not, and then I had all kinds of speed because I was skating into that puck, so that was when I decided to try and take him on. That’s the stuff that I needed to get back to,” Terry said.

He had also opened the scoring, though it wasn’t immediately clear that he had. A video review determined that defenseman Hampus Lindholm’s shot that glanced off Terry’s stick crossed the goal line before swiftly exiting the net, and the Ducks gained their first lead 3:21 into the game.

Terry became just the fifth player in the NHL to cross the 20-goal threshold this season.

“I’m extremely proud of Troy. I’ve seen this kid right from Day One. For him to be where he’s at, goal-scoring, as a big influencer and driver on our team, it’s fun to watch,” Eakins said. “That’s one of the real privileges of coaching is to see these guys grow into players.”

Terry, who went into the season with 15 goals in 129 career games, said their success is breeding confidence and vice versa.

“It’s just different, our team is different. We’re playing for each other, we’re confident, it’s infectious,” Terry said. “I feel more confident when our team’s going into games more confident and we’re expecting to win games.”

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