Flyers

Couturier, Hart get Flyers back on track, keep Coyotes winless

Flyers

The Flyers got back in the goal-scoring and win columns by squeaking out a 3-0 decision Tuesday night over the winless Coyotes at the Wells Fargo Center.

Sean Couturier scored just under seven minutes into the third period. Prior to his tally, the Flyers had gone seven consecutive periods without a goal.

The Flyers tacked on two more as Arizona was in desperation mode. Scott Laughton scored as the Coyotes were scrambling and caught in between trying to empty their net. Claude Giroux finished the scoring with a true empty-netter.

Carter Hart allowed the Flyers (5-2-1) to bounce back from a 4-0 loss to the Flames with a shutout of his own.

The Coyotes (0-9-1) are on a murderous six-game road trip with losses to the Panthers, Lightning, Capitals, Hurricanes and now Flyers.

• Couturier became the 12th player in franchise history to suit up for 700 games in a Flyers jersey.

Cam Atkinson tried to elicit a round of applause for Couturier in their joint postgame press conference.

If Couturier appears in 54 more games this season, he'll jump into the franchise's top five for games played. He's lined up to capture some Flyers records.

"Time flies," Couturier said. "I still remember it like it was yesterday when it was my first game. ... Just trying to enjoy it the most I can. Hopefully many more."

Travis Konecny found Couturier on a nice look for the drought-breaking goal. Couturier has been his steady self and leads the Flyers in scoring with 11 points (four goals, seven assists).

 

• The Flyers thought they had taken a 1-0 lead in the second period when a puck appeared to be dislodged from the glove of Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka. As the puck was jarred loose, Atkinson pounced and put it past Vejmelka.

The initial ruling on the ice was a goal. Shayne Gostisbehere was in the goal crease as a whistle never blew the play dead. In his reaction, the former Flyers defenseman was adamant that his goalie had the puck covered.

After the officials convened, they determined the puck was in fact covered and the goal was overturned.

“I guess [the official] said that the goalie had it covered, but it looked like he had it covered for half a second," Atkinson said at second intermission, via the radio broadcast. "I didn’t see how the puck got out or whatnot but if that’s the right call, then that’s the right call.”

The call didn't crush the Flyers but it did make the game hairier for them as they went into the third period in a scoreless dogfight with the league's last remaining winless team.

"The official that made the initial call that it was a good goal said that his three partners thought that the puck was frozen," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said. "And after looking at the replay, it was probably the right call."

No whistle? No goal? Refs change call in Flyers-Coyotes game

• Hart was rock solid with 29 saves.

Vejmelka, a 25-year-old rookie from the Czech Republic, stopped 31 of 33 shots.

• During a first-period stoppage, the Flyers played a video tribute in recognition of Gostisbehere and his return to Philadelphia with the Coyotes.

Gostisbehere acknowledged the crowd and his former teammates. The 28-year-old played six full seasons in Philadelphia and made his first trip back to the Wells Fargo Center since being traded in July.

He entered the night as Arizona's leading scorer with five points (all assists). While Gostisbehere has always been an offensive-minded player capable of putting up points, a defenseman without a goal leading his team in scoring says a lot about the Coyotes' offensive struggles. Arizona came in scoring a league-low 1.44 goals per game.

On Tuesday night, Gostisbehere had two shots and a minus-1 mark in 19:31 minutes.

"I was just talking to him right now," Hart said postgame. "It was good to see him. Great friend, great teammate and the boys miss him. We wish him all the best in Arizona. He had a couple of shots on me tonight, so it was a little bit weird, I kind of knew a little bit where he was shooting. But no, it's always good to see a friendly face."

More: 'Philly, it's a tough city, but they definitely love you,' Gostisbehere says

• With Atkinson and Ivan Provorov joining the top unit, the Flyers' power play finished 0 for 3. It sustained good possession time and had some looks.

 

On the other side, the Flyers did not commit a penalty. They had committed far too many over their prior four games.

• The Flyers practice Wednesday in Voorhees, New Jersey before flying to Pittsburgh to open Metropolitan Division play Thursday against the Penguins (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP). The matchup is the first of two straight divisional road games for the Flyers, who then visit the Capitals on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Ryan Ellis (lower-body injury) missed a fifth straight game Tuesday. His status for the upcoming road trip is uncertain.

"You always want to play against those top teams and see where you're at," Rasmus Ristolainen said. "Can't wait for the first battle of Pennsylvania."

Update: No road trip for Ellis and more in latest on Flyers' injury front

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