The Philadelphia Flyers (14-10-2 ) found an oasis in the desert as they defeated the Arizona Coyotes (13-10-2 ) 4-1. Over the course of three periods, the Flyers simply outplayed the Coyotes who came into the game with a five-game winning streak.
One of the bigger storylines heading into the game broke just before the opening faceoff. Olle Lycksell made his first start of the season as Ryan Poehling was a late scratch due to illness. The 24-year-old forward centered the fourth line to start the game but was later moved to play his natural right wing position with Owen Tippett and Morgan Frost.
The Coyotes had some injuries of their own. Defenseman Sean Durzi — a key component of the team’s power play unit — was ruled out prior to the game due to injury. His absence may have been felt as the Flyers handled the special teams battle in this one.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Arizona Coyotes
The first period of this contest began a bit slow, but the action picked up quickly. Through the first few minutes of the game the Flyers struggled to maintain much puck possession. Luckily for them, the Coyotes’ offense did not capitalize early on.
The first goal came off of a faceoff won by the birthday boy, Sean Couturier. The puck was shuffled back to Travis Konecny off the draw and he immediately put the puck on net with a one-timer that got on Coyotes’ goalie Connor Ingram quickly. After that goal, the pace of the game picked up.
It did not take long for the Flyers to get a two-goal lead. Just about three minutes after the first goal Cam Atkinson took the puck through the neutral zone but was stopped entering the Coyotes’ defensive zone. Cam York was there to keep the puck in and shoved the puck back to Atkinson who found Joel Farabee on a centering pass that the left winger buried in the net.
The Coyotes did not go down in the first without a fight. As the Flyers were killing off a Travis Sanheim penalty, the Jason Zucker drove the puck deep into the Flyers’ zone. He dropped it back to Matias Maccelli as the power play ended who then centered the puck to Lawson Crouse who got it past Carter Hart.
The Flyers entered the second period up 2-1 and they did not ease up. Couturier was called for a penalty a little over three minutes into the period. The Flyers were once again able to generate a shorthanded opportunity as Konecny was able to score on a breakaway — his second goal of the game — off of a feed from Nick Seeler. After the game, John Tortorella spoke about the team’s penalty kill:
“It’s just been that way this year. I think the aggression of the PK, of them all moving together, has given us some great momentum in the games.”John Tortorella 12/7/2023
Lycksell drew a boarding penalty with 5:29 left in the period and the Flyers’ penalty killing unit once again stopped the Coyotes from finding the net. The potent Coyotes’ power play was stifled through the first two periods. While they were able to find some shots, Hart made some good saves on the penalty kill and throughout the final minutes of the period.
Entering the final period of play, the Flyers maintained a 3-1 lead. They were not satisfied with a two-goal lead, however. Just 1:47 into the final stanza, York made a nice move to find the net and get a fourth goal past the Coyotes’ netminder. The defenseman has accumulated four points in as many games for his team.
That was all that the Flyers needed. They were able to hold the red-hot Coyotes to just one goal. While the team still surrendered a few odd-man rushes, they were able to stand strong and pull away with a commanding victory on the road against a team that won five straight games entering play. With the win, the Flyers moved into second place in the Metropolitan Division with 30 points.
The Flyers will stay out west and play the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, December 9th at 9:00pm at Ball Arena in Denver. They will look to win four games in a row.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum