Arizona Coyotes

Flyers brought back to earth by Coyotes, suffer a first since Oct. 19

Flyers brought back to earth by Coyotes, suffer a first since Oct. 19

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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.

• 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.

• 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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Flyers vs. Coyotes: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Coyotes: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The Flyers own a five-game winning streak and seven-game point streak.

On Thursday night, the Flyers (16-7-5) will try to extend those season-best streaks when they host the Coyotes (16-9-4).

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• During rookie camp, Joel Farabee, a 2018 first-round pick with a bright future in scoring goals, spoke about his strengths playing well on the penalty kill.

In fact, he said, "Honestly, I think by the end of my career, I'll be more of a PK guy rather than a power play guy."

When Alain Vigneault was told on Thursday about Farabee's comments, the Flyers' head coach smiled. He liked the 19-year-old rookie's passion for killing penalties.

With Michael Raffl out approximately four weeks because of a broken right pinkie finger, Farabee will get his wish by jumping into the Flyers' shorthanded rotation.

“There’s no doubt he’s a smart player," Vigneault said Thursday morning. "We’ve all noticed that from the beginning — the skill set and the smarts.”

The Flyers' penalty kill has been vastly improved under assistant coach Mike Yeo as it entered Thursday ranked third in the NHL at 85.9 percent. Coming into the season, the Flyers' penalty kill since to 2014-15 was at 78.4 percent, second worst among the league.

Vigneault said Farabee has watched film with Yeo and is ready to take on the shorthanded responsibility. How well Farabee plays in the role will have a sizable say in where the Flyers stand by the end of December.

• For tonight's game at least, the Flyers aren't ready to put Mikhail Vorobyev at fourth-line center. The Flyers will roll with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Shayne Gostisbehere and Philippe Myers are coming off big-time performances, while Robert Hagg has earned playing time, as well.

• The Coyotes are 9-3-3 on the road and have allowed the NHL's second-fewest goals per game overall with 2.31.

“Speed, skill, they’re the third-best team in the league as far as the way they play on the road," Vigneault said. "They’ve been playing well for quite some time.”

• Impressive numbers from Travis Konecny:


Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Morgan Frost-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
James van Riemsdyk-Tyler Pitlick

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun
Philippe Myers-Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hagg

Goalies

Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

 

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Flyers trade Jordan Weal to Coyotes for Jacob Graves and 6th-round pick

Flyers trade Jordan Weal to Coyotes for Jacob Graves and 6th-round pick

General manager Chuck Fletcher has made his first trade.

Jordan Weal was dealt to the Coyotes Friday night for a 2019 sixth-round draft pick and defenseman Jacob Graves.

Weal, a 26-year-old center, was a logical trade candidate for the Flyers given he's set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season and was in and out of the lineup.

With the Flyers entering Friday 30th in the NHL at 16-22-2 and 38 points, Fletcher is likely going to sell off some parts to retool and look ahead.

This season, Weal played in 28 of the Flyers' 44 games, posting three goals and six assists.

Weal couldn't find a true role with the Flyers. He was acquired in the January 2016 trade that saw former general manager Ron Hextall unload Vinny Lecavalier and Luke Schenn to the Kings.

Hextall was a big fan of Weal from their days back in the Kings' organization. After the 5-foot-10, 179-pounder played mostly winger in 2017-18, he was given a shot this season to play third-line center, his natural position.

During his time with the Flyers, he was often the last player off the practice ice, constantly getting in extra work. Unfortunately for Weal, his offensive ability never translated into consistent production and he wasn't exactly a bottom-six style forward, which turned him into a healthy scratch at times and ultimately expendable.

"Jordan cares so much," Hextall said last July. "Sometimes he can be his worst enemy. He's the last guy on the ice every day. He works his tail off. Sometimes you just want to go, 'Jordan, get off the ice and relax a little bit.' He's so driven to be the best he can be. It's something he can get better at, in terms of the mental part of it where sometimes you've got to let things go. 

"When he gets on a roll, he's a good player."

Graves, a 23-year-old blueliner, has been playing in the ECHL this season for the Norfolk Admirals. The 23-year-old had seven points in 32 games.

He will report to the Flyers' ECHL affiliate the Reading Royals.

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