On Mischief Night, with hundreds of fans wearing Halloween costumes at the Wells Fargo Center, the team in orange and black got tricked into complacency during the first two periods.
Arizona, which entered the night with an 0-10-1 record and the NHL's worst defense, scored two early goals, took a 3-1 lead into the final minute of regulation, and appeared ready to close out its first victory.
And then …
The Flyers pulled goalie Brian Elliott for an extra attacker and, stunningly, scored two goals in the final minute, knotting the score at 3.
But Arizona regrouped and won it, 4-3, on defenseman Alex Goligoski's goal with 14.4 seconds left in overtime. A Travis Sanheim miscue down the other end started the odd-man rush that produced the winning goal.
The Flyers (6-5-1) were fortunate to salvage a point.
"We didn't play very well the first two periods," said Sean Couturier, who scored a pair of goals, including one with 15.3 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. "We battled back, but it was too big of a hole to complete the comeback."
With 52.6 seconds left in regulation, the Flyers got to within 3-2 as Jordan Weal scored on a rebound. Then they tied it with 15.3 seconds remaining as Couturier redirected Claude Giroux's shot into the net for his second goal of the night and team-high ninth of the season. Defenseman Ivan Provorov, who had three assists, seven shots and a plus-2 rating, started the sequence by keeping the puck in the zone at the blue line.
The Coyotes, who had been allowing 4.4 goals per game, gave new coach Rick Tocchet his first win with Arizona. Finally.
"We knew they were better than their record showed," Couturier said. "They have some pretty good skill. … But we have to be stronger on pucks, make plays, make better decisions at those blue lines. Sometimes, just simplifying it is better."
Trailing 3-0, Couturier put the Flyers on the board as he scored on a one-timer from the left circle, a power-play goal with 17:46 left in regulation.
With 9:45 to go, Jake Voracek and former Flyer Luke Schenn got into a scuffle. Schenn got two minutes for roughing, and Voracek received four minutes for high sticking. The Flyers killed the penalty, and Giroux had a great scoring chance but was denied from point-blank range by Scott Wedgewood with 6:32 left.
Arizona, which had joined the 1943-44 New York Rangers as the only teams in NHL history to start a season with 11 straight losses, had taken a 3-0 lead on Brendan Perlini's power-play goal with 18:27 remaining.
Because of injuries to Andrew MacDonald and Shayne Gostisbehere, the Flyers had a rookie on each of their three pairings. Those pairings looked disjointed during a first period in which Arizona built a 2-0 lead, and badly outshot (13-3) and outhit (14-8) the Flyers.
On one shift, however, rookie defensemen Mark Alt and Sanheim were together and they both ended up on the left side of the ice. That enabled a wide-open Jordan Marinook to one-time a right-side shot off Brian Elliott's left pad and into the net with 17:40 left in the first.
A little over five minutes later, Christian Dvorak scored on a rebound from the left circle, putting Arizona ahead, 2-0.
The rest of the period, if you'll pardon the expression, was Coyote-ugly from the Flyers standpoint. Passes weren't crisp. Neither were line changes. And Arizona won a majority of the board battles.
The Flyers had just three first-period shots — and none came from forwards.
"It wasn't a good first period. We gave pucks up and they capitalized," right winger Wayne Simmonds said. "It was probably [because] of a lot of desperation by them, but we didn't play good."
Wedgewood, a 25-year-old goalie acquired in a recent trade with New Jersey, made just the fifth appearance of his NHL career, but the Flyers applied little sustained pressure in the first two periods, managing a total of 13 shots in that span.
Trying to jump-start the offense, coach Dave Hakstol moved winger Travis Konecny to the second line and dropped Weal to the third unit in the second period.
The loss was the third in four games for the Flyers, and they have tough road games Wednesday and Thursday in Chicago and St. Louis, respectively.