Flyers-Coyotes observations: An overtime loss to lowly Arizona

Flyers-Coyotes observations: An overtime loss to lowly Arizona


The Flyers know how to script a Nightmare on Broad Street.

On the eve of Halloween, the Flyers nearly overcame their most uninspiring and lackuster effort of the season before losing, 4-3, to the Arizona Coyotes in overtime Monday.

Defenseman Alex Goligoski scored the game-winner in the extra stanza.

Trailing, 3-1, the Flyers scored a pair of goals in the final minute of the third period with goaltender Brian Elliott on the bench. Jordan Weal scored on a rebound tap-in with 53 seconds remaining in regulation, and Sean Couturier tied it as he flipped a backhand into a wide-open net.

• The victory marked the first for new head coach Rick Tocchet, as the Coyotes had begun the season at 0-10-1, the worst start in NHL history.

• Jordan Martinook, Christian Dvorak and Brendan Perlini also tallied for Arizona. Playing his first game in a year and a half, Coyotes goalie Scott Wedgewood turned aside 28 of 31 shots for the victory.

• Couturier scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season on a feed from Claude Giroux on the team’s first power play of the game in the opening minutes of the third period. Couturier caught Wedgewood leaning to his left and then fired a shot right to put the Flyers on the board. Later in the period, Couturier added his ninth with 16 seconds left on the clock to force overtime.

• It appeared as if the Flyers would have a second opportunity to take advantage of the NHL’s 31st-ranked penalty kill as Arizona’s Luke Schenn was assessed a two-minute minor for roughing. However, after further deliberations, the referees also whistled Jakub Voracek with a double-minor for high sticking.

• Defensively, the Coyotes may have played their best game of the season keeping the Flyers around the perimeter for nearly the entire first half of the game. The Flyers didn’t start to show life until about the final six minutes of the second period.

• Zac Rinaldo, one of three former Flyers on the Coyotes' roster, delivered a big check on Travis Konecny in the second. Rinaldo, who at times displayed a sense of undisciplined aggression during his time in Philadelphia, stayed out of the penalty box in this game.

• Giroux released a quick wrist shot 3:39 into the second period, which was not only the Flyers' best opportunity to that point, but their first shot from a forward in the game.

• Arizona’s Brendan Perlini could have increased the lead to 3-0 but his shot went off the toe of his stick and went wide left of a wide-open net as the Coyotes nearly executed a 2-on-1. 

• The first period was Dave Hakstol’s worst nightmare as the Flyers had very little sustained pressure and looked completely uninspired to play a Coyotes team with an 0-10-1 record. Their passing was some of the worst I’ve seen all season — pucks at skates, little communication and at times trying to make the perfect pass instead of the simple one. 

• The Flyers' first shot on net came nearly 6½ minutes into the game when Ivan Provorov launched a harmless slap shot from the blue line. The Flyers were outshot, 13-3, in the opening period and didn’t have a real quality chance in the opening 20 minutes. All three of the Flyers' shots came from their defense. In other words, the Flyers did not have a single shot on net from their forwards.

• Wedgewood, who the Coyotes obtained Saturday in a trade with the New Jersey Devils, could not have scripted an easier first period.

• On Arizona’s first goal, rookie defensemen Travis Sanheim and Mark Alt were caught on the right side of the ice at the same time. Sanheim stayed right while Alt should have recognized this and stayed on the left side to prevent the backdoor play. Martinook got tangled up with Jori Lehtera on the boards, broke free before Lehtera got up and had a wide-open one-timer on Elliott, who nearly made the save, but couldn’t cover the post in time.

• On Arizona’s second goal, the Flyers had the play covered defensively, but once Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s shot was blocked, Elliott lost sight of the puck and briefly lost track. Once Christian Dvorak had gathered the puck and skated around the masses, he had an easy shot that found the back of the net. If Elliott had tracked the puck, it would have been a routine save as the puck never left the ice. Elliott finished with 30 saves on 34 shots faced.

Lines, pairings and scratches

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal-Valtteri Filppula-Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read-Jori Lehtera-Travis Konecny
Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Michael Raffl

Ivan Provorov-Robert Hagg
Travis Sanheim-Radko Gudas
Brandon Manning-Mark Alt

Brian Elliott
Michal Neuvirth

Scratches: Forwards Dale Weise (healthy) and Nolan Patrick (upper body), and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (upper body).

Best of NHL: Nick Bjugstad stars in Panthers' shootout win over Maple Leafs

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Best of NHL: Nick Bjugstad stars in Panthers' shootout win over Maple Leafs

SUNRISE, Fla. — Nick Bjugstad scored Florida's only goal in regulation and the game-winning goal in a shootout as the Panthers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on Wednesday night.

Bjugstad skated in and held the puck until Toronto goalie Frederick Andersen was sprawled out, then moved to his right and flipped in his goal during the fourth round of the shootout.

The Panthers won the tiebreaker 2-1 after Aleksander Barkov scored for Florida, and Patrick Marleau was successful for Toronto.

Vincent Trocheck and Henrik Haapala had assists for the Panthers (8-11-2).

Nazem Kadri netted a goal for Toronto (14-8-1), assisted by Connor Brown and Marleau (see full recap).

Forsberg, Turris lead Predators past Habs in SO
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Filip Forsberg scored a pair of power-play goals and Kyle Turris had the only goal in a shootout to lead the Nashville Predators to a 3-2 victory over the struggling Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.

Pekka Rinne made 27 saves in regulation and overtime, then denied all three Montreal shootout attempts as Nashville won for the eighth time in nine games.

Jordie Benn and Joe Morrow scored for the Canadiens, who have lost their last five. Morrow's goal evened the score with less than a minute left in the third period.

In the tiebreaker, Turris beat Antti Niemi with a wrist shot between the pads (see full recap)

Anderson's goal in OT gives Blue Jackets win
COLUMBUS, Ohio — After missing training camp because of a contract dispute, Josh Anderson has performed at a consistently high level for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Anderson scored two minutes into overtime to give Columbus its fifth straight win, 1-0 over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.

Sergei Bobrovsky had 22 saves for Columbus in his third shutout this season and 22nd of his career. Mike Smith turned away 40 shots for Calgary.

It was the first time this season that either team ended regulation scoreless (see full recap)

Point scores in overtime as Lightning beat Blackhawks
TAMPA, Fla. — Falling behind Chicago and staging a comeback has become the norm for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Brayden Point scored a power-play goal 3:25 into overtime, and the Lightning rallied again to beat the Blackhawks 3-2 on Wednesday night.

Point took a pass from Steven Stamkos while positioned near the post and put the winner past Corey Crawford and complete a three-goal rally.

"To be down 2-0 to a team as good as Chicago, it was a great bounce-back performance," Stamkos said.

Chicago was short-handed after Nick Schmaltz was sent off for slashing at 3:10 (see full recap)

Flyers suffer heartbreaking overtime loss to extend skid to 6

Flyers suffer heartbreaking overtime loss to extend skid to 6


NEW YORK -- The book entitled “Finding Different Ways to Lose” is growing thicker by the game.

Josh Bailey scored on his own rebound just 32 seconds into overtime to give the Islanders the extra point and a 4-3 overtime win over the Flyers on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center (see observations). The Flyers appeared to have the play covered until defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere lost track of Bailey, who missed on his first attempt but converted on his second effort to hand the visitors a sixths straight defeat.

“Everyone goes through different struggles,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “There’s a growing rule for everybody. Right now, Ghost is one of the elder statesmen on the back end there and sometimes that has a way of putting extra weight on your shoulders. I just think it’s a stretch that he’s going to get through. He’s doing a lot of really good things. He’s just got to get back to where he was before he was out a few games with that injury.”

In the eight games since returning from an injury where he was slammed hard into the boards in Toronto, Gostisbehere has struggled mightily in the defensive end. However, the Flyers’ problems over the course of their current six-game losing streak extend well beyond just one player. The penalty kill has completely fallen apart as the team has allowed seven power-play goals in the last three games. The units have also killed off just four of the last 11 power-play chances.

It’s a two-fold problem. The Flyers are creating self-inflicting wounds and the penalty kill isn’t outworking the opponents’ power play unit. Of course, it didn’t help when Sam Morin, who making his season debut, gave the Islanders a two-man advantage when he flipped the puck into the stands for a delay of game penalty.

“We’re right there. We kind of put ourselves in another bad position when we took a 5-on-3,” goaltender Brian Elliott said. “It’s still biting us in the butt a little bit. I thought we played a really good game. I think we’re right there. We just need to turn that corner.”

“Can’t pinpoint one thing. It’s just got be better,” Wayne Simmonds said. “Yeah, they’re going to score. You take a ton of penalties, teams are good enough in this league. Individual skill in this league is through the roof. Guys are going to make plays, especially when they’re up a man. Best form of penalty kill is not to be in the box at all.”

Hakstol even elected to switch up his shorthanded personnel in an effort to create a different look and hopefully provide some beneficial change. The Flyers even attempted to light a fuse be calling up Morin and Danick Martel from Lehigh Valley. Martel had six attempted shots (three on net) in just 12 minutes of action in his NHL debut.

“You’ve got to be ready every game,” Martel said. “I got my chance today and I had a really good game and I’m proud of it. I think my stick was a bit tight today, so that’s why I missed the net a couple of times.”

The Flyers did finally receive some secondary scoring to complement their top line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek. Coming into this game, that group had accounted for 46 percent of the team’s goal production. Taylor Leier opened the scoring with his first goal of the season and Michael Raffl scored his first point in 43 games with a breakaway goal that gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead.

“It’s a little bit different role playing with T.K. (Travis Konecny) and Fil (Valtteri Filppula) out there,” Raffl said. “You get a little more offensive looks and a little more ice time out there. You’ve got to take advantage of that. I feel pretty good out there. I’m fit. I have nothing bothering me right now, so that helps for sure. I told myself, scoring or not, you’ve got to play confident. You can’t get down on yourself.”

After consecutive shutouts to start the losing streak, the Flyers have scored the first goal in each of their last four games with an inability to play with a lead: 2-0 at Winnipeg, 3-1 vs. Calgary 1-0 vs. Winnipeg and 2-1 at New York Islanders.

Four games, four leads and just two points to show for it. 

“It stinks to work real hard to earn that point, and then we gave it away too easily,” Hakstol said. “That’s the part that hurts a little bit. I’m looking for growth in all the areas. Really, tonight, I was looking for the true test of the character of our team, and our team answered and played a helluva character game.”

Friday, it’s Chapter 2 against this same Islanders team. The Flyers are hoping it doesn’t continue to read like the rest.