Quick observations from Flyers’ 3-1 loss to Coyotes
The Flyers had more than 60 shot attempts, but could only get one past the league's best goalie. And Matt Niskanen needed a deflection for even that one.
Not a bad effort by the Flyers, but too much Darcy Kuemper led to the end of the Flyers’ season-best five-game winning streak. It’s their first lost in eight games and just second loss at home in regulation.
Some other quick thoughts:
Shot happens. Kuemper stopped 28 shots. The Flyers had 66 attempts -- factoring in shots blocked (22) and shots missed (15) -- compared with 37 attempts for Arizona.
“I give us a 10 for effort and a 7 for execution,” coach Alain Vigneault said. Kuemper actually was ill and not immediately available to talk about his sterling performance.
Power outage. The Flyers were 0 for 3 on the power play against the Coyotes and are 4 for 33 over their last 11 games. They were 2 for 14 during their five-game winning streak.
Frost warning. Tails were wagging for Morgan Frost’s arrival when he scored in each of his first two games. Two weeks later, he hasn’t scored since. He had a particularly tough second period, missing the net entirely on an open chance on a power-play (shot it high and wide) and then lost a puck battle that caused a stoppage. Growing pains are to be expected and Vigneault didn’t initially appear as if he’s going to move Frost off the Claude Giroux-Travis Konecny line.
Early grit. Tough first shift for Arizona’s Phil Kessel who limped to the bench after taking a slap shot to his leg. A minute later, on his second shift, he scored the Coyotes’ goal. He added an empty-netter.
Big fan. Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet called Provorov “one of my favorite players.”
“[He’s] a little bit like Phil Housley. Phil’s a Hall of Famer [and an Arizona assistant coach,}” said Tocchet,. “You know, [always going] up the ice. We were just watching video of him, that goal he scored in overtime [against Montreal]. Even on the power play, he’s not scared to go. I think he’s one of the best young defensemen in the league.”
He’s not scared the way he plays. He’s trying to win the game. As a young guy, he wants to be in those spots. When I watch him, he wants the puck. I love kids like that. They’re not scared.
The playing time. Of the seven defensemen Vigneault used, Robert Hagg (8:13) played the fewest minutes. Phil Myers and Shayne Gostisbehere each played 14:13 and Justin Braun was 15:49. Matt Niskanen (20:29), Travis Sanheim (20:36) and Provorov (23:10) all played more than 20 minutes. Among the 11 forwards, Tyler Pitlick (8:13) and James van Riemsdyk (11:12) rotated with various centers.
Our three stars
♦ Kuemper came into the game leading the league in goals-against average (1.97) and showed why. The Flyers put 27 shots on Kuemper before Matt Niskanen beat him with a shot that deflected off Arizona’s Conor Garland. Kuemper came into the night leading the league in save percentage among goalies who’ve played at least half his team’s games. He upped that number from .936 to .938.
♦ Arizona’s Phil Kessel, just for that early grit.
♦ The Flyers’ van Riemsdyk. He didn’t hit the scoresheet but had another strong night as he tries to climb his way off the fourth line.
The Flyers host Ottawa on Saturday. The Senators arrived in Philadelphia on Thursday and will be well-rested. They beat the Flyers up in Ottawa on Nov. 15 and are coming off a win at Edmonton on Wednesday which ended a five-game losing streak.