Coyotes host Flyers, try to make it 3 straight wins

NHL
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The Arizona Coyotes reached 50 points in the standings with a 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night, the Coyotes’ second straight victory. They’ll try to make it three consecutive wins when they host the Philadelphia Flyers in Glendale, Ariz., on Saturday.

Arizona also is back to a respectable home record at 10-10-1 thanks to a three-goal third period on Thursday night that saw the Coyotes rally from a 2-1 deficit for a win that allowed them to stay in second place in the Pacific Division.

All 12 forwards recorded a point in the same game for just the second time in franchise history. The first time came as the original Winnipeg Jets on March 25, 1987.

“We know we’ve got a lot of depth on this team, and it was a big night for all four lines,” forward Christian Dvorak, who scored one of his team’s goals on Thursday, told reporters. “Everyone played well, so it speaks volumes about our team.”

Leading goal scorer Conor Garland is on a season-high point streak, four games, and has five points in that time frame.

The key to Arizona’s success is a good first period. The Coyotes (23-16-4) are 17-4-1 when scoring the first goal of the game. But third periods had been an issue — until the past two games.

“Our group has to remember who we are; I keep saying the word ’embrace’ or be comfortable with it,” coach Rick Tocchet said. “We have to play a certain style for us to be successful. When we get out of that style now we are getting into murky waters — territory that we don’t want to go into.”

Now comes a chance to finish out a four-game homestand on a high note against the Flyers.

The Flyers (22-14-5) are in the wild-card hunt with 49 points in the Metropolitan Division despite consecutive losses. They currently hold the second wild card.

Six Flyers have scored in double figures in goals this season, led by Claude Giroux’s 13. Travis Konecny is the points leader with 36 and is an NHL All-Star this year.

Giroux has a five-game point streak.

But Philadelphia is coming off a game Thursday in which they gave up four first-period goals to the Vegas Golden Knights after scoring first and lost 5-4. The Flyers had a 6-on-3 power for part of the game’s final 90 seconds but couldn’t force overtime.

Giroux had an assist and a goal and Konecny also scored.

“I really liked the way we started. We were in their own end. We were making the right plays, and then after taking that lead, we sort of let the game slip,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “They got huge momentum. Our guys battled. We had a chance at the end, but it’s a tough league to come back.”

The Flyers have allowed four goals in the first period in each of the last two games. They did so at Los Angeles against the Kings on New Year’s Eve.

The Flyers are 9-12-1 with a minus-26 goal differential on the road, compared to a plus-35 at home. They’ve allowed 82 goals in 22 road games.

–Field Level Media

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