By Mary Cunningham
The Flyers blew a great opportunity to advance their playoffs hopes last night in Arizona.
Shane Doan and Michael Stone scored in the final 4 1/2 minutes of the second period, Mike Smith made 34 saves and the Arizona Coyotes beat the Flyers 2-1.
The loss prevented the Flyers from taking sole possession of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Philly remained tied with the Detroit Red Wings, who lost to Pittsburgh 7-2 earlier in the day.
Sean Couturier (above) scored the Flyers’ goal on a power play with 40 seconds remaining.
The Coyotes want to put forth this type of effort to prove what they can be in the future, even if they’re headed nowhere this season.
”It was a playoff-like mentality,” Smith said. ”They (the Flyers) were fighting for their lives, fighting for a playoff spot. I think we want to play like we’re in the playoff games. … If we want to move forward and be a playoff team, I think we need to match that intensity and match that work ethic.”
Doan scored on a power play with 4:23 left in the second. Stone’s goal, from just outside the faceoff circle, came with under a second to go in the period. Flyers coach Dave Hakstol challenged that it was goalie interference, but the goal stood after a replay review.
Steve Mason had 15 saves as the Flyers outshot Arizona 35-17.
”It was a great atmosphere in the building,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. ”Philly brings out the best in teams all over the place.”
Doan and Stone both left with injuries in the third period in a game that ended with four 10-minute misconduct penalties in the final 2:15.
Doan appeared dazed when his head was pinned against the boards by Radko Gudas’ elbow. Moments later, Stone’s legs got tangled up with a Philadelphia player and he had to be helped off the ice.
Tippett said Doan seemed fine afterward but Stone’s injury ”looked pretty nasty.”
Arizona’s Martin Hanzal called Gudas’ play ”a little bit dirty. After he hit him, he kind of leaned to his head against the boards.”
Flyers captain Claude Giroux left with an apparent head injury with 2:15 to go in the game. One of several intense skirmishes followed.
”It was competitive, it was emotional,” Hakstol said. ”We didn’t quite get it done.”
Tippett was upset that Gudas didn’t get a penalty, while late in the game Hanzal received a 5-minute boarding penalty that the Arizona coach felt was unwarranted. Hanzal’s penalty led to Philly’s late goal.