Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mason returns, but Flyers beaten by Coyotes


Glendale, AZ -- As the Flyers' road trip continued, they could take solace in one thing and one thing only: they failed to surrender a hat trick for the first time in almost a calendar year. 

Antoine Vermette had a trifecta taken away by the league office, but finished with two goals anyway and the Arizona Coyotes downed Philadelphia by a 4-2 count on Monday.

Shane Doan was credited with the goal taken away from Vermette, Oliver Ekman-Larsson also lit the lamp while backup Devan Dubnyk made 30 saves for Arizona, which matched its season high with a third straight victory.

R.J. Umberger scored twice 3:02 apart late in the third period to record his first multi-goal effort of the season and first for his old club in more than six years, but the Flyers nevertheless fell to 3-2 on their eight-game road trip.

What's more, the Orange and Black lost on this date for the first time since 1971, having racked up 15 wins and a pair of ties since then -- many of those on the road and in earlier time zones on traditional holiday road swings. 

Steve Mason made his first start since Dec. 18 after missing the ensuing time with a back injury, and was largely sharp save for one score. He ended the night surrendering three goals on 24 shots against.

Mark Streit fed Umberger for his first goal with 7:49 remaining in the third, and the Flyers went on a power play less than a minute later down 3-1.

They failed to score with the man advantage but kept the pressure on, and Umberger deflected a Sean Couturier shot into the back of the net with 4:47 left on the clock. That proved to be his first two-goal night with the franchise since May of 2008, and his first in the regular season since Feb. 10, 2008.

The visitors' best chance in the closing moments came on Claude Giroux's cross-ice pass to Vincent Lecavalier. Lecavalier let a one-timer fly from the right circle, but Dubnyk easily smothered it.

Vermette sealed the win with an empty-netter.

The Coyotes won a faceoff in front of Dubnyk late in the opening period and caught the Flyers on their heels going the other way. Doan eventually let a shot fly from the point that beat Mason with 1:34 left in the stanza. 

Vermette was originally ruled to have deflected it in, but Doan was credited with the goal after the game.

Mason saved a shot through a screen in the second period, but the rebound spun loose and Vermette was there for an easy goal at the 15:31 mark.

Flyers forward Scott Laughton was sent off for hooking 2:02 into the third, and on the ensuing power play, Ekman-Larsson posted his ninth goal of the season with a shot from the point. It was an easily saveable shot for Mason, who was unscreened, though the puck might have ticked off the edge of a blade and slightly changed direction before sliding beneath him.

Notes: Ekman-Larsson has six goals in December ... Philadelphia has misfired on 15 straight power play chances in its last six games after failing on two opportunities on Monday ... Arizona has won three in a row at home after dropping nine straight ... Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks (2/27/14) was the last opposing player to score at least three times against the Flyers, in a 7-3 win on both clubs' first game after the Olympic Break ... NHL leading scorer Jakub Voracek was held without a point for the second straight contest for the first time all season, having played to a minus-3 rating.
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