Flyers 4, Coyotes 3: Flyers win wild one in Arizona

Updated: February 11, 2018 at 12:46 am by John Gove

In the first game of their weekend trip to the desert, the Philadelphia Flyers looked to extend their winning streak to three games as they took on the lowly Arizona Coyotes Saturday night.

First period

The first three minutes of the opening period belonged to Philadelphia as they looked like the superior club. The team received plenty of high-quality opportunities but failed to capitalize. Unfortunately, it does not take much for a momentum swing to occur and that is what happened 3:53 into the period. Jason Demers took advantage of a weak Flyers turnover in front of their net and found the back of the net to give Arizona an early 1-0 lead.

Midway through the period, the game’s first penalty was committed as Jordan Weal was booked for a questionable slash. However, it appeared that the Flyers would be the ones taking advantage of Arizona’s power play when Sean Couturier went on a shorthanded breakaway. Sadly, he was held by Richard Panik which prevented him from getting off a decent shot. Although it seemed as though a penalty shot was warranted, it was not given, and the two teams played a little four-on-four hockey, which turned out to be uneventful.

The Flyers would take advantage of their first real power play opportunity that was awarded after a “too many men” penalty by Arizona. Claude Giroux would let off a beautiful one-timer from Jakub Voracek pass for his 17th goal of the season to tie the game up at one. The assist was Voracek’s 53rd of the season.

Philadelphia then wasted little time to claim the lead as Michael Raffl cashed in his 10th of the season just a minute and a half after Giroux’s goal. With a 2-1 lead, the Flyers eliminated all worry that was brought up by surrendering the early goal.

The Flyers would enter the locker room for the first intermission with a 2-1 lead over the Coyotes.

Second period

Unfortunately, Philadelphia would continue their trend of allowing an early goal in the second period. Alex Goligoski would pot his sixth goal of the season 24 seconds into the middle period, tying the game up at two.

The tie hockey game would not last long, however. Shortly after Goligoski’s goal, the Flyers would get another one of their own. Philadelphia headed on the power play after Derek Stepan hooking penalty, and Wayne Simmonds would make sure the team capitalized. His redirection of a Shayne Gostisbehere shot gave the orange and black the lead again 2:12 into the period. It was Simmonds 19th goal of the season and the team’s second power-play goal of the night.

Although there was no more scoring in period two, it would be a lie to say it was not full of action. Neither team slowed down and were rewarded with plenty of opportunities. Still, the Flyers entered the second intermission with a 3-2 lead hoping they could hang on and secure another victory.

Third period

There was no way the Flyers would give up another early on in a period right? Wrong! Philadelphia once again turned the puck over in their zone, resulting in a goal by none other than Zac Rinaldo 1:59 into the third to tie the game up a three apiece. It could not have been more poetic than having the former Flyer and one of the most disliked players in the NHL erase Philadelphia’s final period lead.

The fast-paced action that was a major part of the first two periods continued in the games final 20 minutes of regulation. Luckily, Philadelphia was finally able to tighten up defensively, preventing Arizona from lighting the lamp again in the third. Unfortunately, they were unable to do so either, resulting in the contest heading to overtime.

Overtime/Shootout

The overtime period proved to be just as intense as regulation. Arizona dominated most of the play early on but the Flyers were able to get their fair share of chances towards the end. Neither team could find the back of the net resulting in a shootout.

In round one, Nick Cousins was able to put in a goal for the Coyotes while Weal failed to do so for the Flyers.

In round two, Clayton Keller missed his shot; however, his stick hit goalie Brian Elliott in the mask, causing him to leave. Michal Neuvirth would be forced to enter the shootout cold. Travis Konecny failed to even things up for Philadelphia with his shot.

In round three, Brendan Perlini whiffed on his shot while Voracek finally put the Flyers on the board in the shootout.

In the fourth round, both Stepan and Giroux could not connect, extending the shootout at least one more round. Round five would be more of the same as Tobias Rieder and Couturier both missed.

The shootout would last seven rounds. Nolan Patrick would finally seel the deal for the Flyers, scoring on Antti Raanta to give Philadelphia the 4-3 victory.

Final Thoughts

Right from the beginning, it was clear that the Coyotes were controlling the pace and forcing the Flyers to play their game. Philadelphia failed to slow the game down which led to some costly mistakes. However, you can never argue with the end result when its a victory. The Flyers did what they needed to do, and that was walk out of Arizona with a win.

On a side note, congratulations to Michal Neuvirth in recording a victory tonight and only playing in the shootout.

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