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Feb 11, 2024 6:31 pm

Sizzling after the break, Flyers take on struggling Coyotes

Ryan Poehling

The All-Star break was just what the Philadelphia Flyers needed.

After skidding to five straight losses before the break, the Flyers have since regrouped and won three consecutive games.

The Flyers will strive for their fourth win in a row when they host the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.

Ryan Poehling scored down a man for the Flyers’ league-best 12th short-handed goal in a 3-2 home victory over the Seattle Kraken on Saturday. Scott Laughton and Sean Couturier each added one goal for the surprising Flyers, who continue to exceed expectations in what was projected to be a rebuilding season.

Couturier scored the game-winning goal when he redirected Travis Sanheim’s shot with 5:30 gone in the third period.

“It’s just a simple play. Try to win it and get pucks to the net and go to the net,” Couturier said.

Couturier’s goal came in the aftermath of what appeared to be coach John Tortorella yelling at him for an earlier mistake.

“He is a huge part of this team if we’re going to win, and he’s not allowed to have a bad night or take a night off,” Tortorella said.

The Flyers also received a lift from backup goaltender Cal Petersen, who made 17 saves in his first start since Nov. 11.

Petersen gave Samuel Ersson the night off and was very effective. He won 20 games with the Los Angeles Kings in 2021-22 but has since played only 14 games in the National Hockey League compared to 55 in the American Hockey League.

“It’s been a challenging couple of years, but I think it’s made me a lot stronger,” Petersen said. “I’ve got a lot more of a passion and commitment to my craft. And I think that’s just enjoying every opportunity that I get, enjoying the people around me, enjoying getting better every day.”

The Coyotes will arrive in Philadelphia having lost five straight games.

Arizona fell 5-4 in overtime to the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Dylan Guenther had one goal and one assist, Jason Zucker contributed three assists and Clayton Keller added two assists. But the Coyotes came up short despite 32 saves from Connor Ingram.

Keller registered his 86th career game with multiple points to pass Teppo Numminen for ninth place in franchise history.

“Pretty disappointing feeling, especially the way we lost and gave that game away,” said Arizona defenseman Juuso Valimaki, who scored one goal. “It was right in our hands and we just kind of shot ourselves in the foot.”

Turnovers and miscues have hampered the Coyotes during this losing streak. When the Coyotes were accumulating victories, they were playing much cleaner hockey.

“It’s tough to find the words,” Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said. “I think (the Predators) knew what they were doing. I didn’t like the way we played without the puck. I didn’t like our pace defensively, and they took advantage of it.”

Valimaki pointed directly to mistakes, especially when the Coyotes were trying to kill off penalties.

“I think we just kind of got laid back and were not pressing,” Valimaki said Saturday. “We were just kind of watching a little bit too much. We were kind of on our heels rather than on our toes. Obviously, penalties were a big part of today. We’ve got to stay on the ice.”

“I’m not happy about our swagger with the puck,” Tourigny added. “It’s tough to win under those circumstances.”

–Field Level Media

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