Just three days ago, it may have seemed the Phoenix Coyotes were on the brink of panic mode.
But after the Coyotes’ 2-1 win at the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday — their second road win in as many days — the Coyotes appear to be back to the style of play that should have them contention for a playoff spot.
Phoenix jumped out to an early lead for the second straight game, this time on Rob Klinkhammer’s deflection from Derek Morris less than three minutes into the first period. The Coyotes were, by-and-large, able to keep momentum throughout the game thanks to stellar goalkeeping and timely offense as they pulled above the .500 mark for the first time since opening night.
Backup goalie Thomas Greiss spelled Mike Smith in the second game of a back-to-back, and the Coyotes couldn’t have hoped for a better performance. Greiss stopped 36 of the 37 shots he faced — including a save on a penalty shot midway through the first — to preserve the 2-1 win.
Phoenix also gave the puck away just six times, and the Coyotes’ penalty kill unit was successful on each of its four opportunities while the power play unit scored the eventual game-winning goal.
The Coyotes had an excellent response to the minimal adversity they faced when Oliver Eckman-Larsson put Phoenix on top 2-1 less than three minutes after Philadelphia tied the game at one.
Phoenix forced just five takeaways and allowed 37 shots on goal, but it was an otherwise impressive all-around performance in Philadelphia — especially considering the Coyotes were playing their second road game in as many days.
The Coyotes seemed to be in trouble after losing handily in the first two games of this road trip, but have bounced back in back-to-back hard-fought games to give themselves an opportunity to finish off a winning trip Sunday against Carolina.
The Coyotes take on the Hurricanes at 10 a.m. on Sunday in PNC Arena to complete a five-game road trip.