The Philadelphia Flyers have every reason to avoid overlooking the winless Arizona Coyotes after limping out of the gate last season with two quick losses to the desert dwellers. Philadelphia aims to build off the momentum of its latest contest when former Flyer and now coach Rick Tocchet along with his spiraling Coyotes pay a visit on Monday.
Philadelphia is receiving terrific production from its top line, with Jakub Voracek notching his third straight two-point performance with a goal and an assist in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Toronto. Voracek (team-leading 14 assists, 16 points) has joined Giroux and Sean Couturier in recording 15 goals and 41 points in 11 games for the Flyers, who dropped a 4-3 overtime loss in Arizona on Oct. 15, 2016 and a 5-4 setback nearly two weeks later in the City of Brotherly Love. Arizona has yet to taste victory in 11 games this season, tying them with the 1943-44 New York Rangers for the worst start to a season in league history. “One of the biggest things that plagues our team is when the pressure is on, someone makes an ill-advised play,” Tocchet told reporters after the Coyotes yielded two late power-play goals in a 4-3 setback to New Jersey on Saturday.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona, NBCSN Philadelphia
ABOUT THE COYOTES (0-10-1): While Arizona’s start to the season has been putrid at best, Clayton Keller is hardly to blame as the rookie has scored in back-to-back contests and boasts five goals and three assists during his five-game point streak. The seventh overall pick of the 2016 draft, Keller stole the puck from fellow rookie Nico Hischier before beating Cory Schneider for his eighth goal of the season. The negatives, however, far outweigh the positives for the Coyotes, who could be without Oliver Ekman-Larsson after the defenseman missed the final 4:34 of the third period while in concussion protocol following a hit from center Blake Coleman.
ABOUT THE FLYERS (6-5-0): Philadelphia likely will be missing a puck-moving defenseman of its own as Shayne Gostisbehere absorbed a big hit from 209-pound Leo Komarov prior to assisting on Valtteri Filppula’s goal in the second period on Saturday and did not return for the third. The 24-year-old Florida native leads NHL blue-liners in scoring (13 points - one goal, 12 assists) in 11 games during his third season with the club and his potential loss would be significant with Andrew MacDonald (lower body) expected to be sidelined for at least another three weeks. Philadelphia has depth in reserve on the back end at Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League, and could turn to 6-foot-7, 227-pound Samuel Morin if Gostisbehere is unable to play on Monday.
1. Philadelphia has scored 29 of its 38 goals this season after the first period.
2. Arizona ranks dead-last in the league in goals-against (4.36) and penalty kill (69.0).
3. The Flyers, who play 17 of their first 21 games against Western Conference representatives, will not face an Eastern Conference foe until their road tilt against the New York Islanders on Nov. 22.
PREDICTION: Coyotes 3, Flyers 1