Kevin Hayes outstretched his arms and then repeatedly pointed toward the sky.
This goal was for one person: Jimmy Hayes.
In his first home game since the tragic death of his brother, the Flyers' 29-year-old center scored a goal during the second period of his team's 2-1 OT win over the Flames.
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Hayes looked skyward and tapped his chest to commemorate his brother. Jimmy Hayes died on Aug. 23 at the age of 31.
"When I'm having bad days or bad games or not playing up to how the fans want me to here, I'll probably just think of my brother and he'll hopefully push me through," Hayes said in September.
On Tuesday night, Hayes was playing his second game of the season. He missed all of the preseason after having to undergo abdominal surgery — his second procedure of its kind in fewer than four months — two days before the start of training camp in September.
Hayes said he was happy his first goal "happened sooner rather than later."
"It was a big goal, trainers got the puck for me," Hayes said postgame. "I’m going to give it to Jimmy’s son Beau and it’ll be one I remember for forever."
A little under 13 minutes later in the second period, Hayes had an injury scare while the Flyers were on a power play. His right leg appeared to awkwardly buckle as he became tangled up with the stick of Flames forward Elias Lindholm. Hayes went up the tunnel but was able to return for the start of the third period.
On the second-period goal, Cam Atkinson was the first teammate to hug Hayes. Atkinson went on to score the OT winner.
The 32-year-old winger played three years with Jimmy Hayes at Boston College and one year with Kevin Hayes.
"I know how special that goal was for Kev," an emotional Atkinson said. "I was just happy to be a part of it. I love this guy here."
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