The Flyers dug themselves a deep 3-0 hole against the winless Coyotes on Monday night, but battled back with two goals in the final minute to force overtime before watching the Coyotes get their first win behind an Alex Goligoski goal.
While the first 40 minutes were painful for the Flyers, they did recover in the final period and obviously earn a point by taking Arizona to overtime. With how poorly the Flyers played through two periods, getting any type of point is a success.
It was a quick start for the previously winless Coyotes, who scored just 2:20 after puck drop on a Jordan Martinook goal to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Brad Richardson and Niklas Hjalmarsson picked up the assists on the opening goal of the game.
Less than two minutes later standout rookie Clayton Keller — who leads all rookies in scoring — nearly made it 2-0 for Arizona, but his open look from the left circle sailed high and wide of Flyers goalie Brian Elliott.
Christian Dvorak would, however, give the Coyotes a 2-0 lead at the 7:45 mark with hi first goal of the year. Oliver Ekman-Larsson directed a point shot to the net that bounced around and found the stick of Dvorak, who calmly slid the puck past a down and out Elliott. Jason Demers picked up the other assist on the goal.
To sum up how things went for the Flyers in first 20 minutes, a Luke Schenn turnover sprung Matt Read and Travis Konecny in on a two-on-one, but the play was ruled offsides despite video replay showing the play was clearly onside.
The Flyers didn’t help matters by being outshot 11-3 by the Coyotes through one and failing to register any scoring chances on Coyotes netminder Scott Wedgewood.
After a dismal first period, the Flyers came out like a different group after intermission, getting a good chance from Claude Giroux off a Coyotes turnover in their own zone, but Wedgewood was able to turn away the captain at the 3:39 mark.
Keller was at it again in the offensive zone, setting up Max Domi with a pass right in his wheelhouse, but Elliott slid across to make a key save to keep the Flyers from going down three goals.
Wedgewood would then deny Jordan Weal with a beauty of a glove save in close off a feed from Wayne Simmonds at the 9:01 mark. It was a strong shift for Simmonds, who shielded the puck as he does so well to create a chance for the Flyers.
Under the five-minute mark, the Flyers ramped up the pressure, getting good looks at the net from Konecny and Travis Sanheim on back-to-back shots, but both were calmly turned aside by the Arizona goaltender.
Through 40 minutes the Flyers were left still searching for their first goal of the game, and managed just 13 shots. With just a few penalties called the Flyers struggled at even strength, posting just a 31% Corsi For at 5-on-5 in the first two periods.
Looking to kill off a penalty to start the third, the Flyers would end up finding themselves down 3-0 after a Brendan Perlini power play goal just 1:33 in.
The Flyers, though, would respond quickly to make it 3-1 less than two minutes later. Armed with their first power play of the game, the Flyers’ top unit went right to work and was rewarded with Sean Couturier’s eight goal of the season, assisted by Claude Giroux and Ivan Provorov.
With 10 minutes left in the third, the Flyers appeared to catch a break as Luke Schenn was called for roughing. But the officials conferred during the TV timeout and assessed a four-minute double minor to Jake Voracek for high-sticking. While it was the correct call as Voracek did get his stick up high to cut Schenn, it was yet another non-break for the Flyers as far as officiating goes to start the season.
Wedgewood came up with another big stop on Ivan Provorov with 6:36 remaining to keep the Flyers down two goals after a nice setup from Giroux. The former Devils third-round draft pick was solid in his debut for the Coyotes, who did a good job in front of him keeping Flyers shots to the outside most of the night.
With their net empty the Flyers would cut the deficit to one on a Jordan Weal goal assisted by Valtteri Filppula and Ivan Provorov.
Then with just 14.4 seconds left, a great keep at the blue line by Ivan Provorov started a sequence ending with Sean Couturier’s second of the night to tie things up at 3-3. After the keep from Provorov, Giroux slid a perfect pass across to Couturier who made no mistake.
In the three-on-three overtime session, Jake Voracek would take a hooking penalty just 32 seconds in to put the Flyers in a bind. Thanks to a couple key saves from Brian Elliott and some shot blocks from Provorov, the Flyers would kill of the penalty and force things back to even strength.
It was Arizona’s turn to score with 14.4 seconds left as Alex Goligoski gave the Coyotes a 4-3 win, finishing off a nice passing play from Clayton Keller and Max Domi. The rush started with a turnover by Flyers rookie Travis Sanheim at the other end.
A point is a point, but a lackluster effort at home against a bad Coyotes team has to be concerning for Flyers coach Dave Hakstol. The third-year coach has to find a way to get his team rolling earlier in games, and fast.