Couturier, Hart lead Flyers as winless Coyotes drop 10th
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Sean Couturier broke a scoreless tie early in the third period and Carter Hart made 29 saves to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-0 victory over the winless Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night.
Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist and Scott Laughton also scored for the Flyers, who have won three of four.
“This was a hard-fought hockey game,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “It came down to being able to finish in the third.”
Arizona (0-9-1) lost its 10th game to start the season and remains the only winless team in the NHL. The Coyotes, who dropped a club-record 11 in a row to begin the 2017-18 season, will look for their first victory when they wrap up a six-game trip on Friday at Anaheim. Arizona did pick up a point with a shootout loss to Buffalo on Oct. 16.
“The guys, the coaches, we’re frustrated,” Coyotes coach André Tourigny said. “We need to find a way to get that first win and get the ball rolling.”
The 1943-44 Rangers set the NHL record, going 15 games without a win to start the season.
Karel Vejmelka made 31 saves in a strong performance for Arizona.
“He came up big and kept us right there,” Tourigny said.
Couturier, playing in his 700th career game, gave Philadelphia a 1-0 lead 6:54 into the third period. Giroux began the breakout with a long pass to Travis Konecny, who fired the puck to a wide-open Couturier in front of the crease. Couturier beat Vejmelka on the glove side with a one-timer for his fourth goal.
“Time flies, just trying to enjoy it the best I can,” Couturier said of his milestone. “Hopefully, many more.”
The Flyers scored on their 26th shot against the rookie Vejmelka, who was outstanding. Earlier in the period, Vejmelka made one of his many stellar stops of the game with a glove save on James van Riemsdyk.
“Karel was unreal,” Arizona’s Barrett Hayton said.
Laughton made it 2-0 with 2:09 left, and Giroux added an empty-netter with an assist from Couturier.
Hart was steady between the pipes for Philadelphia, with one of his best stops coming late in the first period when he robbed Phil Kessel with his pads.
“It allowed us to stay calm and weather the storm,” Couturier said. “We found a way to help him out in the third.”
Philadelphia appeared to take a 1-0 lead with 7:14 left in the second period when Cam Atkinson’s shot from close range crossed the goal line. The referee signaled for a goal, but the officials convened and disallowed the goal after determining that Vejmelka had frozen the puck at the side of the net.
“After looking at the replay, it was probably the right call,” Vigneault said.
Atkinson nearly got on the board officially 4 ½ minutes later, but his shot from the circle on the power play hit the post.
Vejmelka continued his stellar play in the second, with his glove save of Nicolas Aube-Kubel’s chance with 6:55 left in the period, one of his highlight stops.
The Coyotes nearly went ahead late in the first, but Hayton’s tip attempt from just outside the crease hit the post in the final seconds of the period.
Philadelphia’s Keith Yandle upped his NHL-best active streak to 930 consecutive games, while Kessel played in his 910th in a row. Yandle, who played for Arizona from 2006-15, began his streak on March 26, 2009. Kessel’s started on Nov. 3, 2009. It is the first time in league history that opponents with an ironman streak of at least 900 straight games have squared off.
The Flyers showed a stream of video highlights of Shayne Gostisbehere in a Philadelphia uniform during a first-period tribute on the video board above center ice. Gostisbehere, who played for the Flyers from 2014-2021, was loudly cheered.
Coyotes: F Nick Schmaltz (upper body) missed his fourth straight contest and is expected to be out at least three weeks.
Flyers: D Ryan Ellis (lower body) sat for the fifth straight game. Ellis skated on Tuesday morning and will be reevaluated on Wednesday.
Coyotes: Finish six-game road trip at Anaheim on Friday.
Flyers: At Pittsburgh on Thursday.
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