PHILADELPHIA – The Coyotes came within 67 seconds of beating the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday night at the Wachovia Center.
Leading 3-2 with 1:07 to play, the Coyotes allowed Flyers forward Jeff Carter to score a goal, and then Mike Richards scored the game-winner with a wrist shot from the slot 1:35 into overtime to lead Philadelphia to a 4-3 victory.
“They’re a good hockey club and it’s a tough building to play in,” Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky said. “…This was a heartbreaker for our guys.”
Coyotes backup goalie Mikael Tellqvist, playing in his first game since Oct. 25, made 30 saves.
Todd Fedoruk, who began his NHL career with the Flyers, looked as though he was going to be the hero for Phoenix when he scored his second goal of the season - off Philadelphia defenseman Lasse Kukkonen - with 5:14 to play. But the Coyotes couldn’t make Fedoruk’s goal stand up.
The Coyotes ended the third period on a power play and when they didn’t score on it, the man advantage carried over into overtime for 68 seconds. But Phoenix couldn’t generate any good scoring chances, and that didn’t sit well with Gretzky.
“I was probably more disappointed with our power play in overtime than with them scoring late in the game … it was inexcusable,” Gretzky said. “We couldn’t get in their end and that was the frustrating part about the game tonight. We panicked two or three times as we entered the zone and that’s just not good enough.”
The Flyers began the game with a burst of energy and took a 1-0 lead at 6:18 when Scott Hartnell’s centering pass ricocheted off Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek’s skate and past Tellqvist.
This was a heartbreaker for our guys.- Wayne Gretzky
Down 1-0, the Coyotes dominated the second half of the first period, and forward Daniel Carcillo scored his first goal of the season on a power play at 18:50. Martin Hanzal helped set up the goal by battling Flyers goalie Martin Biron for possession of the puck behind the Flyers net. Biron’s clearing attempt, rushed by Hanzal, went directly to Carcillo who he slid the puck into the empty net.
The Coyotes broke a 1-1 tie with 50.9 seconds left in the second period when Hanzal, with a little help from Philadelphia defenseman Luca Sbisa, knocked a loose puck by Biron.
• Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris missed the game because of an upper body injury. That ended his streak of consecutive games played at 203.
• Coyotes forward Peter Mueller played his 100th NHL game on Saturday.
• Coyotes center Olli Jokinen has played in 395 consecutive games, the second-longest active streak (Andrew Brunette - 471). Jokinen has missed just seven games in the past eight seasons and none in the past four.
• The Flyers have a 1-2-2 record against Western Conference opponents.
• Coyotes forward Enver Lisin played his first game since being recalled from the team's top affiliate in San Antonio, and registered a team-high four shots on goal in 16:34 of ice time.
• The Coyotes were without Head Athletic Trainer Jason Serbus on Saturday because Serbus was in Phoenix with his wife Paula, who gave birth to their first child, a son, earlier in the day.