For the second time in less than two weeks, the Philadelphia Flyers fall to the Arizona Coyotes 5-4. Having already completing its season series, Arizona’s only two wins have come against the Flyers.
The 1-5 Coyotes came into Philadelphia looking to snap its 5 game losing streak. Arizona looked well on its way to accomplishing that goal by leading Philadelphia 2-0 after the first period with goals by Jamie McGinn (his 1st of the season) and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (his 5th). The second period, however, belonged to Philadelphia having out shot Arizona 13-4 and tacking on two goals of its own to tie the game at 2s heading into the third period.
Those Flyers second period goals were scored by Nick Cousins (his 1st of the season) on a right-place-right-time put back off of the Brayden Schenn shot on goal and then Schenn himself scored tapping a rebound into the net nearly 5 minutes later for his 2nd goal of the season.
The third period got interesting very quickly after a Martin Hanzal goal (his 2nd) was allowed well after Brayden Schenn and Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun had dropped their gloves to start a fight. Less than 2 minutes later, a Brad Richardson goal (his 3rd) was allowed after the referee initially ruled the play dead when the puck and Richardson slid into the Flyers net, knocking it off its moorings.
Philadelphia’s Andrew MacDonald (his 1st of the season) quickly scored off of a faceoff 24 seconds later to cut Arizona’s lead to 4-3. However, the finishing blow came late in the 3rd period as Ryan White wristed a shot from a nearly impossible angle that somehow snuck past Steve Mason’s shoulder, giving White his first goal of the season, and Arizona a commanding 5-3 lead.
Wayne Simmonds notched his 5th goal of the season with 14 seconds left in the 3rd period reducing the deficit to 5-4, but it was too little too late as Arizona hung on to steal this game in Philadelphia.
In a game that was certainly within reach, Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol was asked if he thought Hanzal’s goal should have counted well after the Schenn-Chychrun fight had began:
“It’s real hard for that call,” Hakstol said. “There is a lot going on, there were a lot of close calls that they had to evaluate tonight and I am sure that they got them right. I am not second-guessing any of those whatsoever.”
Through 8 games so far, the Flyers are tied for the league lead allowing 30 goals against them. Flyers’ captain Claude Giroux was asked to pin point why the team has struggled so far:
“It’s the whole team,” he said. “As a team we need to make sure were on that same page, I thought we were, the first was kind of ugly, that’s why we lost.”
Giroux recorded his ninth assist of the season, which continues to lead the league. Giroux is now on a seven-game point streak, which ties the second-longest of his career.
Brayden Schenn, who had a Gordie Howe hat-trick tonight was asked to weigh in on the Hanzal goal controversy:
“I didn’t even know that they scored a goal to be honest,” Schenn said. “Obviously, Chychrun came after me so I had no idea and I was pretty surprised that they did call it in, but that’s the way it works sometimes. We didn’t get the call favored our way.”
Despite the disappointing loss, the Flyers organization had something to be proud of tonight. As the 2016 season represents the 50th anniversary of the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL, the team held the first of five “Heritage Nights” this season where the organization honors many of its Hall of Fame players. Many Flyers legends were in the building as fans celebrated their individual accomplishments as well as looked back on some of the most memorable seasons in Flyers history, including the team’s only two Stanley Cup victories in 1974 and 1975.
There’s still a long way to go in the season. The Flyers currently sit in 5th place in the Metropolitan Division and will look to shake off tonight’s tough loss when it welcomes the 1st place Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night. The puck drops at 7pm.