After being on the receiving end of a shutout on the road, the Philadelphia Flyers flip the script on the Arizona Coyotes, earning two critical points.
Just when you think you have the answers, Chuck Fletcher changes the culture.
Spot the lie: the Philadelphia Flyers usually play down to the competition. If we’re being honest, heartbreak is a part of investing in Philadelphia sports. When the term “trap game” is said out loud, that’s when doubt begins to creep in. Tonight, at face value, presented itself as a “trap.”
The Arizona Coyotes are supposed to be the team receiving a beating tonight. They’re winless, at the absolute bottom of the NHL. In comparison, the Flyers are superior in just about every facet of hockey.
Tonight’s victory was for the culture. The culture Fletcher and Alain Vigneault helped identify in Philadelphia. Shaking off a shutout by being on the winning side of one was necessary. The Flyers brought it to Broad. Now, they’ll bring that to Pittsburgh on Thursday.
Here’s how it all went down at the Wells Fargo Center:
Presenting an 0-8-1 record doesn’t come with an argument claiming that the Arizona Coyotes are decent by any means. In fairness, the Coyotes have faced stellar teams. Eight of those nine losses are against teams who technically claim a postseason position within the NHL standings.
If Arizona was to compete with the Philadelphia Flyers, they had to match the intensity of the first period. Giving credit where it’s due, the Coyotes did that. At the end of the first period, the shots on goal and score were the same between the opponents. Neither team separated themselves from the other in the opening twenty minutes. Considering the disparity in competition, that’s a pyrrhic victory for Arizona.
Study the trends of these teams; the winner comes in the second period. The Flyers are far from the hottest team between minutes twenty to forty, but their worst isn’t the same as Coyote ugly.
Ivan Provorov held down the fort on defense and the powerplay. Many were skeptical about the remodeled powerplay with Provorov on the top unit, but he was tremendous in possessing the puck in the offensive zone. Carter Hart faced more impressive scoring chances than Karel Vejmelka. Specifically, here is an incredible save against Johan Larsson to keep Arizona off the scoreboard late in the first period:
Following the loss to the Calgary Flames, Keith Yandle took accountability, acknowledging too many plays attempted that weren’t available. Tonight, in the second period, Yandle contributed to the very detriment he identified.
Surprisingly, the Arizona Coyotes had the Philadelphia Flyers on their heels. Nate Seeler, nearly beaten by Antoine Roussel in the neutral zone, made up for it with a picture-perfect sliding poke check. He continues to hold his own on the third pair while Ryan Ellis is out.
By now, this Flyers team usually scores multiple goals. The Coyotes mixed a little bit of luck with competent hockey. Though Philadelphia was more disciplined, taking on two powerplay chances thus far, Arizona killed both penalties. Finally, the Flyers thought they had an advantage, but the referees disagreed.
Another pyrrhic victory for the Coyotes absent on the scoreboard, but did they win the second period?
The first forty minutes played out evenly. Cam Atkinson may have had a good goal taken from him. Karel Vejmelka didn’t seem to have complete control of the freeze, but it didn’t count nonetheless. Adopting a shoot-first mentality for the rest of the regulation time was required. Philadelphia had to make good on the plays that are there.
When the game is on the line, who are you going to call? Travis Konecny dialed the lead points scorer this season for the Philadelphia Flyers, Sean Couturier. If there was ever a night to become a Ghostbuster, it’s when Shayne Gostisbehere returns.
Following the icebreaker from Couturier, Gostisbehere served a hooking penalty. Clearly, the Flyers were salivating at an opportunity to make Gostisbehere pay directly while increasing their lead. Tonight, the Arizona Coyotes survived every penalty kill opportunity, turning Philadelphia down three times. The reshuffling of the Flyers’ powerplay didn’t pan out against the worst team in the league.
Towards the latter half of the period, Nicolas Aube-Kubel crashed into the boards. No penalty for the hit on Aube-Kubel, who returned.
In the final two minutes, Scott Laughton scored in close on Karel Vejmelka. Vejmelka returned to the net after leaving it while the original empty-net chance missed wide. About a minute later, after Vejmelka vacated again, Claude Giroux didn’t miss his empty-net opportunity. The captain put the exclamation point on a “culture” victory.
Philadelphia wins and Carter Hart earns the shutout, 3-0.
Next up, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, November 4th, 2021. The puck drops at 7pm.