As Flyers again meet Coyotes, look for emotions to spill over
The Flyers, trying to build off a 3-0-1 road trip, expect a physical rematch Thursday against visiting Arizona, the team they defeated, 5-2, Monday.
Late in the Flyers' 5-2 win in Arizona on Monday, play got chippy and there were nine penalties in the final 20 seconds, with the visitors' Radko Gudas and Christian Folin and the Coyotes' Kevin Connauton and Lawson Crouse in the middle of things.
Look for it to have a carryover effect when the teams meet again Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center.
"You hope in a home-to-home, basically a back-to-back scenario, there's going to be a little extra emotion into the game tonight," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said after Thursday's morning skate. "If that carries over, that's a good thing."
The Flyers and Coyotes are the only NHL teams that have not been in a fight this season. That could change if the emotions from Monday spill over.
"If anything, we're ready for it," Gudas said. "We're a big, strong team, and we're not afraid of any competition."
The Flyers will be trying to jump-start a season-high five-game homestand with a win, like they did on their 3-0-1 Western swing in Anaheim.
"It's crucial. We want to set the pace right away," Gudas said. "We want to know our identity and show our fans what kind of team we were in the West and how we played together."
"It's important, especially with the way we've been playing at home, which hasn't been so good," said Sean Couturier, mindful the Flyers are just 2-4 at the Wells Fargo Center. "We want to get off to a good start, get the fans behind us, and build off of that."
Couturier had a goal and an assist in Monday's win in Arizona, and Claude Giroux had three points (two goals, assist). Cal Pickard stopped 35 of 37 shots, and he will be in the nets again Thursday.
Pickard (3-1-1, 3.94 goals-against average, .876 save percentage) will have a rematch with Darcy Kuemper, who is 2-2 with a 2.02 GAA and a .936 save percentage.
Left winger James van Riemsdyk skated with his teammates for the first time since he was sidelined by a knee injury. Tonight will be the 14th game he has missed. … Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom will take four-game scoring streaks into the contest. … Pickard will make his third straight start, and the banged-up Brian Elliott will be his backup. … The Flyers did not trail in regulation in any of their games on the road trip. … The Flyers are second in the NHL in faceoff percentage (54.9 percent). Scott Laughton and Patrick lead the team at 58.3 percent, followed by Jori Lehtera at 57.3 percent.