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OTF: Patrick returns to lineup tonight vs. Jets

Rookie forward makes his return after missing nine games

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

Following the team's morning skate in Winnipeg, Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol announced that rookie forward Nolan Patrick is ready to go and will return to the lineup tonight at Winnipeg.

"He's handled things very well. He's got very good poise in all different situations and obviously being challenged with an injure early on isn't ideal, but again, it's another learning experience that a player has to handle and handle well."

This will be his first game action since leaving the Flyers-Ducks game on Oct. 24 with an upper-body injury that has caused him to miss nine games.

As for returning from injury, Patrick also noted that he's ready to go and won't have any hesitation to play his game. 

"I have to play the same way," said Patrick. "Obviously I'm healthy and ready to go so it wasn't like I'm rushed back."

As for what he brings to the lineup, the addition at center will be a welcome one as they take on a high-powered Jets offense

"He's a smart player with good skill," added Hakstol. "To be a good offensive player, [some] guy's do it differently in this league, but he's a guy that he thinks a play or two ahead. He reads plays very well and that's not only on the offensive side that's both sides of the puck. I think he's a smart player that can read plays and is one or two steps ahead. That's a real benefit."

Another added benefit of personal significance to Patrick is the face that he's returning to the place he's called home in his childhood.

"It's exciting to get back in the lineup anywhere, but for it to be in my hometown is pretty special," said Patrick after the skate, who will have upwards of 15 family and friends on hand to see him in an NHL sweater for the first time.

 

A FEW MORE FOR SANHEIM

Rookie defenseman Travis Sanheim is in the same situation as Patrick, but has a few more family and friends who made the trip down to see his first game at Bell MTS Centre as a member of the Flyers.

"I know I have roughly 20 family members, but I know from Elkhorn there's probably going to be 50-plus here," said Sanheim, who said the town of Elkhorn has a population of approximately 500 people.

"I'm going to have lots of family and friends here from Elkhorn and locally," said Sanheim. "It's going to be a fun time for me and I'm looking forward to the game tonight. I'm going to take it just like any other game, but it's going to be nice to see some family faces."

 

ELLIOTT AGAIN

Brian Elliott was first off the ice and all signs point to a return in net for his fourth straight start.

Over the last three games, Elliott has gone 1-2-0 but has sharp numbers despite the record. He has stopped 100 of the last 103 shots for a 1.01 GAA and .971 save percentage.

Elliott's numbers against the Jets are equally as good. Elliott hasn't dropped a game in regulation to the Jets since they returned to Winnipeg in 2011-12, posting a 6-0-3 record, 1.96 GAA and .937 save percentage. Overall, in 17 appearances he has a 10-2-4 record to go along with a 2.40 GAA and .914 save percentage.

Puck drop is 8 p.m. ET and can be seen on the NBC Sports Network or listen live on 97.5 The Fanatic or worldwide at FlyersRadio247.com.

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