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Flyers 4, Coyotes 3: A crazy ride to a shootout win in the desert

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This was kind of the weirdest game, right?

Kate Frese / SB Nation

Happy Saturday night, all! It’s a back to back Flyers weekend in the desert, and they kicked it off tonight in Arizona against the Coyotes. It was weird and not very pretty and we got to say hey to our old pals (pals?) Zac Rinaldo and Nick Cousins. So that was a thing.

But enough of the walk down memory lane. Let’s get onto the game.

We started the telecast with the anthem sung by a girl named Laura something (who’s no Lauren Hart) and we’ve got a Coyote holding a miniature Stanley Cup. I don’t know what’s happening. Please start the game.

The Patrick line got things started and iced the puck right off the opening draw. Okay. Into the defensive zone. Let’s try that again.

The Coyotes’ top line controlled the puck and got to work, but the Flyers were able hold them without a shot on goal before gaining control back for themselves.

But we’ve got a nice chance! Konecny and Couturier broke out of the zone and were left all alone with Raanta, but they couldn’t convert. Konecny’s cross-crease pass took an unexpected bounce and hopped over Couturier’s stick and past the net, and the chance was negated. But it served as a good spark for the Flyers, giving them a bit of jump as they worked to establish more sustained pressure in the offensive zone.

Things were looking good there, right? Well, that didn’t last. The Flyers collected possession of the puck in their zone but Gostisbehere’s turnover found its way to Keller’s stick, and then to Jason Demers, who sent it in and past Elliott. It didn’t have much heat on it, but a fortunate bounce helped it slip over the line. And the Coyotes took the early lead.

(Oh would you look at that. Breaking news: Robert Hagg leads the league in hits. DRINK!)

But the Flyers were trying to get back on track. They were getting set in the offensive zone and starting to look more settled, like they would be able to really get something going soon enough.

Their momentum was broken up, though, as Weal was called for slashing and the Flyers went to the penalty kill for the first time. But it’s not all bad news! Couturier broke out of the zone for a shorthanded attempt. He wasn’t able to close on it, but he drew a hooking call on Panik, effectively ending the Coyotes’ advantage and sending them to four-on-four.

And it was virtually all Flyers for this four-on-four period, as they got set up in the offensive zone and it was more of the same: generating a handful of chances through this and their 15 second power play, but weren’t able to close on them.

And just as we were getting back to five-on-five, the Coyotes were called for Too Much Man, and the Flyers got a proper chance at a full power play.

But, hey, they didn’t even need the full power play. On the very first shift, it was like clockwork. Voracek’s cross-ice pass found Giroux in his spot inside the left faceoff circle, who whipped the puck past Raanta, who didn’t stand a chance. And we were all tied up again.

And we’re not done! After a shift by Filppula’s line where they found themselves tied up in their own zone, the Laughton line made its way out to move the puck out of the zone.

With Weal breaking up the play, falling down, and then passing to Raffl from the ground, Raffl was away to the races, and lasered a shot bar down and past Raanta, propelling the Flyers into the lead for the first time all game. Woo!

And, oh, yeah, will you look at that. It’s the Filppula line tied up in the defensive zone and giving up a quality chance that Elliott had to bail them out on. That feels about right. Moving on.

Our next shift was a nice one too, as this time it was Weal allowed to make a breakaway, and he was so close to scoring. But hey, he drew a slashing call on Hjalmarsson though. It probably should have been a penalty shot, but what do I know?

Back on the power play, the first unit got back to work cycling the puck around the zone and bringing a fair bit of mobility, keeping the Coyotes’ PK on their toes. A bit of chipping away at the puck in front of the crease gave way to a control for Raanta, a whistle, and an offensive zone draw for the second unit. They brought a bit of pressure of their own--a big shot by Provorov as the highlight—but ultimately found the puck cleared as the power play expired.

The last minute or so of the period saw a fair bit of movement, and breaking up of plays, and ended with one last Flyers rush and a shot by Weise that was deflected. Buzzer. Snack break.

AFTER ONE: Flyers 2, Coyotes 1

And we’re back with the second period! Let’s hope that the Flyers can keep up the good work and exte—oh no we’re tied again. The Flyers failed to get the puck deep in the zone and the Coyotes collected it and made a push of their own, culminating in Goligoski scoring on a screened Elliott. Goodbye, lead.

Deja vu: we’ve got another Konecny-Couturier odd-man rush into the offensive zone that they have broken up.

This rush leaves room for some chipping away at the puck in front of the net, but still no goal. But Stepan was called for hooking, and this gave the Flyers their fourth power play of the night.

It was a bit of a rough start for PP1, as they couldn’t quite get set up as well as they wanted to and then allowed the Coyotes to break out of the zone, but they bounced back. They brought the puck back into the zone and got back to work, and it was another prototypical play to win them back the lead. It was Ghost throwing the puck in from the perimeter and Simmonds collecting the deflection from his office. And things are good again.

And play started to break up from here. All smoothness we had enjoyed fell to the wayside as we hit turnovers and broken-up plays and messiness. Please, Flyers, stop the madness.

Even more ugliness followed, as turnovers continued to bite them, this time allowing for the Coyotes to collect and hem the Flyers into their own zone at about the five minute mark. It took quite a bit of movement, blocking by tired bodies, and a save by Elliott to draw the whistle and moment to breathe and change, plus a new draw that would allow the Flyers to turn the tables and hem the Coyotes into their own zone. But they couldn’t convert.

Deja vu (volume two): The Flyers, after their good work in the offensive zone, were again hemmed into their own zone and forced to defend with tired players. They got out and did some hemming of their own. Repeat.

We were hoping for something a bit different, but not like that. Weise interfered with Chychrun and was promptly sent off to the box, and the Flyers were sent to the penalty kill. It wasn’t as pretty as their last one, but they did the job well enough, keeping the puck cleared and still getting one breakout chance (though not as dangerous as Couturier’s first). They closed things out with a diving play by McDonald to clear the puck for the last time, and the penalty was killed.

What’s going on back at five-on-five? Scroll back up to “Deja vu (volume two)”. There you have it.

(Robert Hagg leads the league in hits: DRINK!)

And we’re inside the last minute and a half of the period and we’ve moved away from hemming and back to amassing broken plays. But now some activity! With 18 seconds left, Voracek leads the rush back into the offensive zone and the Flyers make one last push to try to extend their lead. It ends with the puck tied up and time expiring, but hey, good effort guys.

AFTER TWO: Flyers 3, Coyotes 2

Back again! We’ve made it through the first minute and the Coyotes haven’t managed to tie things up! Things are looking better!

And… oh man… I don’t know how to say this. Ugh. The Flyers gave up another turnover in the corner and gave up another goal. It was Rinaldo. Life is a joke. Flyers, why do you hurt me like this?

*deep breath*

Okay. We’re just going to move on. The Flyers are trying to respond but somehow look like they’re lagging. They’re getting tied up in the neutral zone and bucking under the pressure Arizona’s bringing. We’re running and gunning but not getting off the quality chances needed. It’s 10 o’clock on a Saturday and I’m already getting sleepy. Let’s kick it up, please.

And they did it! They listened! Giroux sprung Konecny for a breakaway, but his shot went wide of the net (which sounds about right, given how things have been going). But it was something.

And an altercation! Simmonds and Chychrun are going at it as the other gatherings break up. I can hear Steph screaming from Las Vegas.

After all that, it’s concurrent minors. We’ve got four-on-four and it’s a game of keepaway to start. We’re moving like it’s three on three. We’ve got some chances, but no one can seem to finish. The Flyers are chipping away in to zone. And we’re back to five-on-five. Simmonds and Rinaldo are yelling at each other. Cool.

But the Flyers kept up the good work and maintained their presence in the offensive zone. They chipped away at the puck in front of the net, and Simmonds had a nice wraparound chance but they would not go. Seriously, what does a girl have to do to get a Flyers goal over here? Kindly let me know.

Back from the TV timeout, the Flyers kept at it in the Coyotes’ zone and they had just a whole mess of chances. Have a look for yourself. I need a moment.

So this is what the game is now, and has been. The Flyers are generating a ton of traffic in front of the net but they just can’t seem to buy a good bounce. My goodness.

It’s 1:04 to go in regulation and the Flyers are granted an offensive zone draw, after Weise was knocked down and pinned against the boards on top of the puck. Giroux won easily, got a pass off to Konecny, but the Coyotes took and iced the puck.

Another offensive zone draw for the Flyers, this one they did not win. Arizona cleared it out but the Flyers got it back for another rush with forty seconds to go. They got another shot off, but Raanta controlled, and it was off to another offensive zone draw.

Patrick won the faceoff and they again got to work in front of the net, but Raanta made one last stop for one last faceoff with five seconds to go. And it was the Coyotes that got it and the puck was cleared. Off to bonus hockey.

AFTER THREE: Flyers 3, Coyotes 3

Again it was Couturier, Konecny, and Provorov that got the start. They gained initial control of the puck but lost it, and the Coyotes took control. They got a shot off that gave Elliott a bit of trouble, but he was ultimately able to handle it.

The Flyers got the puck back and it was Konecny at the end of a long shift on a breakaway, who opted not to take the shot, but circle back and pass it off, completing the line change. Giroux got a chance of his own but found it broken up, and the puck went back to the Coyotes. They got back to work in the Flyers’ zone, getting a handful of shots off and playing keepaway until the puck was finally deflected out of play, and the Flyers finally got their second line change.

The trio of Filppula, Simmonds, and MacDonald spent a bit of time in the zone but couldn’t get anything going. Konecny had another breakaway but again didn’t get the shot off. Provorov’s chance was blocked and the puck was sent back to the Coyotes. They got a bit of movement going, and the puck was sent out of play, and Arizona got one last offensive zone draw.

The Flyers got the puck and with about six seconds to go, made one last push with a chance for Couturier, but it was stopped. And now to the shootout.

AFTER OVERTIME: Flyers 3, Coyotes 3

The shootout:

Cousins: GOAL.

Weal: No goal.

Keller: No goal ... and Elliott’s down and hurt. It looks like Keller hit him in the mask with the blade of his stick? He came off the ice and Neuvirth went in.

Konecny: No goal.

Perlini: No goal (he fanned on it).

Voracek: GOAL.

Stepan: No goal.

Giroux: No goal.

Rieder: No goal.

Couturier: No goal.

Hjalmarsson: No goal.

Raffl: No goal.

Domi: No goal.

Patrick: GOAL.

FINAL: Flyers 4, Coyotes 3