Coyotes overcome heap of adversity to post first road win
PHILADELPHIA — The Coyotes have faced an inordinate amount of adversity in their seven-game-old season. Some of it was due to a youth-laden roster, some of it was due to key injuries, some of it was due to the whims of the NHL schedule makers, some of it was due to poor officiating and some of it was of their own making.
On Thursday at Wells Fargo Center, they decided they were finished succumbing to that adversity. Center Martin Hanzal scored a huge third-period goal off a pretty give-and-go with left wing Max Domi, center Brad Richardson bulled in his second shorthanded goal of the season and right wing Ryan White provided some insurance against his old team as the Coyotes salvaged the final game of this six-game trip with a 5-4 win over the Flyers to sweep the season series.
Ten Coyotes registered a point in a game that featured:
— A disallowed Jordan Martinook goal that coach Dave Tippett agreed with due to goaltender interference on Laurent Dauphin.
— A Flyers goal on which Tippett thought Wayne Simmonds interfered with goalie Louis Domingue.
— A blown two-goal lead and a whopping eight Philadelphia power plays.
“If the old saying ‘adversity makes you stronger’ is a good quote, we gained some strength this trip,” Tippett said.
The Coyotes got much-needed contributions from a cast of players desperate to make an impact after a 1-5 start. Right wing Anthony Duclair came out like he was shot out of a gun and when he didn’t score on a partial breakaway, he kept working to set up a goal for left wing Jamie McGinn, who had his own proving to do after missing the first five games with an upper-body injury.
Domingue (28 saves) was mostly sharp in goal after a rough start in Canada and two soft, third-period goals in New York sparked an 0-5 start to this trip. Rookie defenseman Jakob Chychrun earned his stripes by fighting Brayden Schenn after Schenn took down Michael Stone with a hard hit near the wall.
Tobias Rieder was a penalty-killing machine and lethally effective in what Tippett calls the guts of the game, and White gave his old mates a parting gift when he scored what ended up being the game-winning goal with 4:19 remaining.
“It was pretty special,” he said on the postgame show with FOX Sports Arizona’s Todd Walsh. “Any time you get a goal in this league it feels good. To get that one and put it away, that felt real good.”
Tippett wasn’t ready to proclaim all of his team’s problems solved, but he admitted the team needed this kind of payoff for the progress he had seen on the trip.
“It helps,” he said. “When you think things are moving in the right direction, the fastest way to move it along is you’ve got to get some success for what you’re doing. When you think you played well in games and you don’t get the success it doesn’t sink in as much.
“We just felt like we deserved to win tonight. We’ve played well for two or three games.”
Stone left the game in the third period with an upper-body injury, but Tippett does not think it is serious. Stone returned after Schenn’s hit so the Coyotes believe the injury came afterward. That didn’t stop Chychrun from stepping in and fighting Schenn to earn an instigator penalty, a five-minute fighting major and a 10-minute misconduct on the same third-period play where Hanzal scored — a play the Flyers felt should have been blown dead due to the fight.
“I want the guys to know I’m always here to protect them,” said Chychrun of his first NHL fight. “I didn’t like the way Stoney got hit probably like five feet off the wall. He went in pretty hard.
“I’m not the guy that’s going to go looking for fights, but I’ll be the first one in there if I don’t like something that guys are doing to my teammates.”
With Stone also leaving the game, the Coyotes were reduced to four defensemen for the latter portion of the third period. Chychrun said he watched the agonizing remainder of the game on a monitor in the Coyotes’ locker room.
“Slowest thirteen minutes ever,” he said. “I’m just very happy they were able to pull it off.”
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