For Nolan Patrick, the transition from junior hockey to the NHL has been slower than he would like.
But there are signs that Patrick, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 entry draft, may be figuring things out.
The Philadelphia Flyers center has registered points in two of his last four games. Saturday, the former Brandon Wheat Kings star scored the game-winner in the shootout as the Flyers defeated Arizona 4-3. He also played a season-high 18:42 against the Coyotes.
“It’s a lot different adjustment coming from juniors,” Patrick said Sunday prior to the Flyers facing the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. “The biggest things are speed and faceoffs. Those are the two things I’ve noticed.
“I’ve adjusted to the speed and I’ve been getting better at faceoffs. I’m playing with more confidence now and playing with two really good linemates (Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek) has really helped me adjust.”
Patrick has five goals and eight assists in 46 games. He missed nine games with concussion symptoms from late October to mid-November.
“We’ve trusted Nolan right from day one or we wouldn’t have had him on our team,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “He continues to grow as a player and you see it in his production and in the completeness in his play.”
The Knights were one of only two NHL teams to have four players with 20 or more goals. Going into Sunday, William Karlsson led with 29, followed by James Neal with 24, Erik Haula with 21 and Jonathan Marchessault with 20.
Tampa Bay also has four players with 20 — Nikita Kucherov (29) Steven Stamkos (21), Brayden Point and Yanni Gourde, both with 20.
Neal in lineup
Neal was in the Knights’ lineup after staying home Saturday with flu-like symptoms. He participated in the pregame warmup and told coach Gerard Gallant he was good to go.
As a precaution, the Knights recalled forward Paul Thompson on an emergency basis Sunday from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League. But Thompson was not needed and did not dress.
Valentine’s Day cards
Looking for a card for that special Golden Knights fan in your life? The team is set to accommodate you with a collection of Valentine’s Day cards which you can download for free.
The cards feature William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, Alex Tuch, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Tomas Nosek and Brad Hunt.
Individual cards as well as the entire set are available by clicking on to http://atnhl.com/2smvqIr.