Keller's two goals, big 1st period send Coyotes past Flyers

January 5, 2020

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — A three-game skid didn't damage the Arizona Coyotes' spirits, and the team has responded with three straight wins.

Now they'll try to stay upbeat with goalie Antti Raanta perhaps headed to the shelf.

Clayton Keller scored twice, including once during a three-goal first period, and Arizona set a season high in scoring while romping over the Philadelphia Flyers 6-2 Saturday night.

Raanta left with a lower-body injury after two periods. Coach Rick Tocchet said Raanta removed himself after feeling discomfort. Raanta stopped 17 of 17 shots before exiting. Adin Hill relieved and stopped 10 of 12 shots.

“(Raanta) has been unbelievable for us ... so we'll see what happens," Keller said. "Hill has been great for us as well, so I think it's just next man up.”

Brad Richardson, Jordan Oesterle and Keller scored in a 4-minute span in the first, and Lawson Crouse and Derek Stepan also scored for the Coyotes, who ended the night in second place in the Pacific Division with 52 points.

“If I keep shooting, good things will happen,” Keller said.

Carter Hart allowed three goals on 12 shots before getting pulled by Philadelphia. Brian Elliott made seven saves in relief as the Flyers lost for the fourth time in five games.

Tyler Pitlick and Justin Braun scored for the Flyers.

Richardson scored at 12:33 of the first period when his shot took a favorable bounce and slid under Hart’s pads.

Oesterle scored 57 seconds later when his shot appeared to hit the Flyers’ Matt Niskanen on the fly and redirected it past Hart.

Hart’s night ended with 3:45 to play in the first period when Keller’s power-play one-timer zipped in. Taylor Hall and Phil Kessel assisted with long passes to work the puck to Keller, who has 12 goals.

The Flyers have allowed 11 first period goals in three games after Vegas scored four in the Golden Knights’ 5-4 win on Thursday, and the Los Angeles Kings scored four in their 5-3 win over the Flyers on New Year’s Eve.

“There’s no doubt that the first two goals were unfortunate. Definitely the first goal Carter would like to have back,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “The second one, (Niskanen) tries to do the right thing to block the shot and we put it in the back of our net.

"Right now, it’s hard for me to understand. Ten to 12 days ago this was the tightest group I’ve ever played with to right now nothing seems to be going our way, very inconsistent in our execution.”

Crouse made it 4-0 just before the second period buzzer and seconds after the end of a Coyotes' power play. His high backhand found the top right corner of the net for his ninth of the season.

“We want to make it a tough building to play in, and when we go out and put in efforts like the past three games, that's huge for our offense and we just have to keep it going," Crouse said.

Hill gave up both Flyers goals. Stepan, who also had an assist, scored an empty-net goal at 17:36 of the third.

“The one thing I'm proud of with this team, we don't have the long losing streaks, which is nice,” Tocchet said.

NOTES: The Flyers went with Fs Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Andy Andreoff on their third and fourth lines, scratching Mikhail Vorobyev and Chris Stewart. ... Coyotes F Michael Grabner was scratched for the third straight game. ... The Coyotes paid tribute to Flyers F Oskar Lindblom, who is battling bone cancer, by wearing “Oskar Strong’ shirts after the morning skate Saturday. When a photo of the players wearing the shirts was shown on the big screen inside Gila River Arena during the first period, Flyers players paused to tap their sticks.


Philadelphia: At Carolina on Tuesday night, the end of a season-high six-game trip.

Arizona: At Florida on Tuesday night, the start of a stretch of six road games in the next eight.