The Philadelphia Flyers (15-7-3) scored early and often a dominating 4-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes (13-9-3) Saturday night. The scoring started four minutes into the game when Flyers right winger Matt Read picked up the puck off a bad bounce and put it past Coyote goaltender Mike Smith. The scoring came from all over the roster for the Flyers. Wayne Simmonds would score two minutes later and Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux would also put in goals two minutes apart for the Flyers later in the period. Giroux's goal was his 15th of the season.
The first period Saturday was easily one of the worst of the season for the Coyotes. The defense looked lost and outplayed as the Flyer attackers made tape to tape passes around Coyote defenders and supplied their goalie with little help. Smith would be pulled after the first intermission and Jason LaBarbera would take over in between the pipes for the rest of the game. Smith let four goals in on just 17 shots.
With their starting goaltender on the bench and a four-goal deficit of the scoreboard, the Coyotes could have thrown in the towel, but seven minutes into the second period Ray Whitney gave the team some life with his 350th goal of his career. The Coyotes would outplay the Flyers for the remainder of the second period, so badly at one point that it forced Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette to use a timeout and collect his team.
Ilya Bryzgalov shined in net for the Flyers, reminding Coyotes fans why he was so revered as goaltender during his time in Phoenix. The Coyotes peppered their former goalie with shots, shooting 38 times during Saturday's matchup. Mikkel Boedker would add his fifth goal of the season with 41 seconds left but it was too little, too late for the Coyotes.
The loss was the second in a row for the Coyotes, and the ninth on the season. Up next for the Desert Dogs is a matchup with a strong Chicago Blackhawks (15-8-3) team who will be looking for revenge after dropping a game at home to the Coyotes.