The Phoenix Coyotes blew a two-goal lead to the visiting Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night and found a new way to pull out defeat from the jaws of victory. The 5-3 loss dropped the Coyotes' record to 20-12-9 and they have lost three of their last four games.
“We get up 3-1 we have to find a way to get that next one to put the game away,” Coyotes forward Shane Doan said. “Give them credit. They battled hard and got the next one and came back. We can't afford to do that. Especially the way the west (Western Conference) is, you give up a two-goal lead you've got to find a way to win that game.”
The loss put a damper on the return of Doan. The Coyotes captain missed the last 12-games due to Rocky Mountain Fever symptoms. Doan didn't register a point in 18:38 on the ice.
“I'm fine,” Doan said. “I wish I could have contributed a little bit more. I've got to be better for the next game.”
After a scoreless first period for both teams the Coyotes came out blazing in the second period and scored three goals in less than six minutes. Goals by Rob Klinkhammer, Lauri Korpikoski and Mikkel Boedker gave Phoenix a 3-1 lead late in the second period but they would be shutout for the rest of the contest.
Philadelphia scored three-goals in the third period, including an empty netter with 31-seconds left in the game, and exploited a depleted Coyotes defense that is missing one of their key components.
Coyotes defensman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was injured on Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets and missed Saturday's game. Ekman-Larsson's return to the lineup from an upper-body injury is undetermined.
“Every team in the league would miss Oliver,” Doan said. “He's one of the special ones. Him and Yands (Keith Yandle) back there make everything go for us offensively. Without him out there it puts a lot of pressure on everyone else.”
Phoenix is in the middle of a six-game home stand but are 1-2 in that stretch. Inconsistent play is robbing the Coyotes of the opportunity to make up some ground in the competitive Pacific Division. The Coyotes are in fifth place in the Pacific Division and are 2-4-4 in their last ten-games.
“We're inconsistent in the things we're doing,” Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said. “There's some times when it looks like we'll put on a little burst and we look like a good team. Then other times our execution is poor and we end up chasing the game.”