Every Arizona Coyotes fan knew, or at least hoped that their team would eventually get a win after five consecutive losses on this tenuous road trip. It was evident that the team was starting to play better hockey the last several games, but bad breaks, some questionable goaltending, and defense prevented wins from happening.
This game was different. They played with spirit, with determination and guts.
Here's how it happened.
The first period was by far their best on this trip
Newly acquired Jamie McGinn who was playing in just his second game in a Coyotes' uniform due to an injury, was able to give the Coyotes the lead at 7:33 of the initial period.
It was a thing of beauty, as Anthony Duclair came from the left corner attacking the net and placing a backhander on Steve Mason which he stopped, but McGinn was on the right post waiting for the rebound. He made no mistake of it by planting it high in the upper right corner.
Not only was it McGinn's first tally as a new member of the team, but it also ended Duclair's scoring doldrums with his first point in seven games.
But, the Arizona Coyotes pressed on as good teams would, by doubling their lead when Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored his third goal in two games, and fifth of this young season. He's off to a terrific start this season leading all NHL defensemen in goals scored.
The goal resulted from the Flyers Brandon Manning sending a pass up the middle of his zone, which OEL gobbled up and he then did a spinning turnaround shot which Mason couldn't handle. Max Domi distracted Mason as he skated in front of him.
A good period of hockey, with the result being a 2-0 lead at the break.
Second period Philly comeback
The Flyers who came back from a 0-3 deficit against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night to tie the game in the last period and finally win it in a shootout were thinking perhaps they could duplicate that effort.
They got goals from Nick Cousins and Braden Schenn to get the Coyotes' attention. Cousins' goal was caused by a turnover and he was planted on the right post for an easy tap-in tally. Schenn's goal was contested with a coach's challenge by Dave Tippett but it held up a good goal. Wayne Simmonds was hacking at Louis Domingue, but the referee didn't buy it as goaltenders' interference.
The middle stanza ended up tied at two a piece.
Third period theatrics
The first goal of this period was again controversial. Michael Stone got slammed into the near boards by Braden Schenn, and Jakob Chychurn wasn't taking that. As the two squared up, the play had gone on, with Max Domi and Martin Hanzal streaking down the ice when Domi and Hanzal performed the perfect give and go allowing Hanzel to score.
The controversy began as to whether or not the whistle had blown before the puck crossed the red line due to the Chychurn/Schenn fight. It was ruled a goal, and not challenged by Philadelphia. The bad part of it was Chychurn was called for the second man in when Stone never retaliated against Schenn. He received a two-minute minor for being the second man in, five for fighting, and a ten-minute misconduct.
He was not returning to the game.
And not long after that, Stone retired to the dressing room with an upper body injury from the hit he got from Schenn. That decreased the Coyotes' defensive Corp to just four players for the last 13 minutes.
The Philadelphia power play, which was only two for eight all night made a big mistake. They forgot how skilled Brad Richardson is when short-handed. He went crashing into the net and on Mason, but the puck crossed the red line, and another questionable goal was on the Coyotes' scorecard.
Mason wasn't happy getting knocked into his own net and gave Richardson a parting shot as he got up.
The Coyotes finally got a pivotal goal to take another two goal lead 4-2.
It only lasted :24 seconds, as Andrew MacDonald scored to cut the lead to 4-3.
Then, the drama began.
Former Flyer Ryan White scored a tough angle goal from the left side, almost along the goal line. Mason didn't cover the angle, and White sharp shot it over his shoulder for killer of a goal. It happened at 15:41, so the Flyers needed to catch up fast being down two goals.
White, who hoped to be the hero, made a costly error by closing his hand on the puck near the bench, and got caught at 18:57. Another Flyers' power play at a really bad time.
The Flyers decided to go for broke by pulling Mason for a six on four advantage. It paid off when nemesis Wayne Simmonds scored with 14.3 seconds left on the clock to make it 5-4.
The Coyotes held, and White was the hero after-all.
Even though it sounds like a Hollywood script for a movie, this was a real hockey game, and for the Coyotes a BIG WIN.