Thomas Greiss, Phoenix Coyotes hold off Philadelphia Flyers
By AP FeedFoxSports
Coming off a late-night arrival into Philadelphia, the latest stop in a lengthy road trip, Phoenix coach Dave Tippett could see fatigue set in with each late shift change.
''They come off and you say they're up again, and they kind of look at you, `You sure?''' Tippett said, smiling.
The weary legs hardly mattered.
Turned out, nothing again was as sluggish as Philadelphia's offense.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the winner for Phoenix with 12.9 seconds left in the second period and Thomas Greiss made the lead stand up in the third period to lift the Coyotes to a 2-1 win over the Flyers on Friday night.
Greiss made 36 saves in his first start of the season.
''How calm did he look in there?'' Coyotes forward Shane Doan said. ''He was just so calm, relaxed and did a great job.''
Rob Klinkhammer opened the scoring for Phoenix in the first. The Coyotes have won two straight games on the road after dropping two straight by a combined 10-2 score. The Coyotes beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 Thursday.
''I think I've got to build the trust and show I can play, too,'' Greiss said.
Max Talbot scored the lone goal for the punchless Flyers, who have only six goals this season and dropped to 1-4. Coach Craig Berube lost his first game after leading the Flyers to a win in his debut. The Flyers' 2-1 win over Florida on Tuesday was their only multiple-goal game this season.
Already in dire need of offense, the Flyers lost two proven goal-scorers against Phoenix. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said forwards Scott Hartnell and Vinny Lecavalier could miss a week after leaving with undisclosed injuries.
''Well it's tougher, but it doesn't matter does it?'' Berube asked. ''I mean, we've got to win hockey games. People will come in and fill in for them.''
Team captain Claude Giroux, a former All-Star who averaged a point per game last season, will need to step up. He's without a goal or assist this season. He took four shots on goal and the Flyers attempted a season-high 37 against the Coyotes.
With all those attempts, one goal was fine with Phoenix.
The Coyotes played the fourth game of a five-game road trip, and have steadied themselves after a brutal start. Greiss stopped all 16 shots in the first period, just the start of a strong effort in his second game of the season.
''Having a guy come in and really make some good saves at critical times, and build the confidence in the team that you can win in a tough situation, that's exactly what you ask for in a goalie,'' Tippett said.
Klinkhammer scored his first goal of the season only 2:41 into the game when he was the last one to tap the puck past Steve Mason.
''I'm not sure if it dropped down between my legs or something like that, but I didn't see it,'' Mason said.
Coming off a 33-save effort against the Panthers, Mason was again stout in goal, stopping 29 shots.
He just didn't have enough help on offense.
''It's not for a lack of effort because everybody in this room cares tremendously,'' Mason said, ''but we are going to have to start scoring. We need to score more goals and I think the boys can feel that it is going to come. We just have to keep working for it.''
Adam Hall lost control of the puck and whiffed on a penalty shot against Greiss, dropping the Flyers to 0 for 2 on attempts this season.
Hartnell, another former All-Star without a point this season, left the game in the first with an injury.
The Flyers tied the game 1-all late in the second when Zac Rinaldo whipped the puck off Talbot's right skate and into the net.
That was the last time Rinaldo made a positive contribution for the Flyers. He poked his stick right into Mike Ribeiro's face moments later. With Rinaldo in the penalty box for high sticking, Ekman-Larsson flipped the puck over Mason for the power-play goal with 12.9 seconds left.
Rinaldo was whistled for cross-checking in the third when he nailed Phoenix forward Paul Bissonnette. Bissonnette crashed NFL-style, helmet-to-helmet into Mason. Mason's helmet popped loose and he was down for a few minutes, the team trainer out to check on him. Mason stayed in the game.
''Zac's the kind of player that needs to play on the edge,'' Holmgren said. ''Tonight, I thought he was probably a little bit over the edge. But he's trying to get things going.''
The restless crowd booed the Flyers off the ice.
NOTES: ''Bones'' star and noted Flyers fan David Boreanaz was at the game. ... The Coyotes finish their road trip Sunday at Carolina. ... Mason dropped to 3-7 lifetime against Phoenix.