Despite putting up 21 goals over their five-game winning streak, the Flyers had a propensity to score them in bunches when an opponent started derailing.
On Thursday night, the Flyers never got going and were pulled back to earth in a 3-1 loss to the Coyotes at the Wells Fargo Center.
Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper was the biggest difference. The 6-foot-5 netminder who brought an NHL-best 1.97 goals-against average and .936 save percentage to Philly stopped 28 shots.
With 4:43 left, Matt Niskanen scored the Flyers' lone goal and it ricocheted off a Coyote. Arizona iced the game with an empty-netter (see highlights).
The Flyers (16-8-5) suffered just their second regulation loss at home (9-2-4). The last time they failed to pick up a point at home was Oct. 19 when they lost to the Stars, 4-1.
Thursday night's defeat halted the Flyers' winning streak at five games and their point streak at seven. The Flyers had earned at least a point in 18 of their previous 22 games.
The Coyotes (17-9-4), who were allowing the NHL's second-fewest goals per game at 2.31, improved to 10-3-3 on the road.
Alain Vigneault said Flyers get a 10 for effort and 7 for execution. Said everyone will say Coyotes played great defense but Flyers had the puck a ton. pic.twitter.com/adaXHA8GK5— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) December 6, 2019
• The Flyers went on two power plays in the final six minutes of the second period but could not solve Kuemper.
During those two man advantage opportunities, the Flyers put five shots on Kuemper and also misfired three times.
James van Riemsdyk found Morgan Frost with a slick backhanded pass from behind the net but the 20-year-old missed wide.
• Speaking of Frost, he had a tough game. The rookie had a turnover and some difficulty making plays.
He has gone scoreless over his last seven games following his loud start in which he scored three points in his first two games.
Maybe head coach Alain Vigneault takes him off the first line to relieve some pressure.
"Young player, in my estimation, has got a lot of confidence in himself, which is real good," Vigneault said postgame. "Tonight, there were a couple of plays with the puck, like some of our other guys, that the execution might have been a little bit off. But I think overall, the young man is working hard and trying to get better."
Will he stay on the top line?
"I'm going to watch the game and make [changes], if I have some changes to make, [Friday]," Vigneault said. "I like what the young man can bring to the game."
• Vigneault opted to play seven defensemen instead of slotting call-up Mikhail Vorobyev in at fourth-line center.
It's not a bad approach when you have seven healthy blueliners playing well. It also could mean the Flyers aren't ready to trust Vorobyev on the fourth line again.
The Senators game on Saturday looks like a better matchup for Vorobyev, who is in his fifth stint with the club since the start of last season.
• Brian Elliott hadn't lost in regulation since Oct. 29. The Flyers' backup goalie finished with 15 saves.
He allowed a first-period power play goal to Phil Kessel after Claude Giroux was whistled for a ticky-tacky slashing penalty. He then yielded a backbreaking third-period goal to Conor Garland with 7:03 left in the game.
The goalie was not the problem, though.
Sean Couturier was not a problem, either.
A Sean Couturier appreciation tweet:— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) December 6, 2019
After he spent about an extra hour getting work in following practice, Couturier played 22:18, won 17 faceoffs (Coyotes won 24 as a team), had an assist and was a plus-1.
He's a beast.
• The Flyers wrap up their three-game homestand Saturday when they welcome the Senators (1 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
Next week, the team opens a three-game road trip, which features matchups with the Avalanche on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN), the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Jets on Sunday (5 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).
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