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Coyotes in 1st place of Pacific Division after road victory against Flyers

Arizona Coyotes' Phil Kessel, right, celebrates with Clayton Keller after Kessel scored a goal past Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

The Arizona Coyotes are in a spot they haven’t been in since they went to the conference finals seven years ago – sitting atop the Pacific Division in December.

The Coyotes were able to accomplish the feat by taking down a hot Philadelphia Flyers team, 3-1, Thursday night on the road.

Coming into the matchup, the Flyers had won five games in a row and sported a 9-1-4 record on home ice.

Phil Kessel got things going for the Coyotes with a power-play goal in the first two minutes of action. A good sight for the first-year Coyote, who has struggled to find the back of the net recently. It was his first goal since Nov. 23 against Los Angeles.

That would be it offensively for the Coyotes for two periods as the team only managed nine shots on goal in the first 40 minutes of play, a far cry from their average of 20.

Conor Garland broke through for the Coyotes and added some breathing room with his team-leading 11th goal of the season with eight minutes left in regulation.

Kessel added his second goal of the night on an empty-net goal during a power play six minutes later to secure the win.

Coyotes’ goaltender Darcy Kuemper was the star as he made the lone goal stand up through two periods.

His play at the end of the second period was crucial in the win as he had to deal with two Philadelphia power plays in the final two minutes of the second period.

Kuemper ended the night with 28 saves, allowing a goal to Matt Niskanen with five minutes remaining in regulation.

Arizona’s impressive play on the road continues, now 10-3-3 on the season.


Having picked up four points so far on the four-game road trip, the Coyotes (17-9-4) visit the former home of Kessel on Friday night as they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. The puck drops at 5 p.m.

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