Food for Flight: A Favorable Matchup in Glendale


What’s there not to love about Arizona? The weather is great, the scenery is beautiful, and the Coyotes are prime for the picking. Monday night’s matchup in Glendale may be a favorable one for Philadelphia, but as we all know, things rarely come easy for Craig Berube’s squad. Can the Flyers return to their winning ways on the road? Let’s see what the numbers suggest. Arena Jobbers?

When it comes to playing at Arena, the Flyers have been anything but jobbers. Not only are the orange and black riding a two-game winning streak in the building the Coyotes call home, the last defeat they suffered there was on Nov. 21st, 2009. And although the Flyers hold a slim 14-10-0 all-time advantage over the Yotes, half of those wins have been celebrated in Glendale.

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The last time these two teams met, the Flyers used third period goals from Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux to seal a 5-3 victory in the barn they’ll be entering tonight. That was on Jan. 4th of last season, of course. But with Voracek and Giroux combining for 88 points through 35 games, Dave Tippet’s team could very well be experiencing deja vu tonight.

Arizona’s Scoring Drought

Arizona’s unimpressive 79 goals through 35 games are just one of several reasons they find themselves in in sixth place of the Western Conference’s Pacific Division. Their 2.26 goals per game leaves them 25th in the league, sandwiched between eight other non-playoff teams (as of Dec. 29th).

Even more concerning for Arizona, the Coyotes drop to 28th in the NHL in goals scored at home with 34. Only the Hurricanes and Devils have allowed their hometown fans to celebrate less, while the Sabres, Oilers, and Avalanche have tallied more goals at home.

Arizona’s lack of scoring in general corresponds with the fact that their leading goal scorer – Mikkel Boedker (nine goals) – has yet to hit the 10-goal threshold. The desolate scoring is also seen with only Boedker and Antoine Vermette standing as the Yotes’ only two 20-point scorers.

But despite being held to just one goal in two of their last three games, the Coyotes have showed signs of life by denting the twine five times on Dec. 23rd against Edmonton. Sam Gagner, who was acquired via an offseason trade, is riding a three-game point streak that includes two goals and four assists, while Martin Erat has three points in his last two games.

Special Teams Breakdown

Philadelphia appears to have another favorable setting to fix their woeful 29th ranked penalty kill. Arizona possesses the NHL’s 11th best power play with a 19.5 percent success rate. At home, however, they fall to 25th with a 14.8 man advantage percentage.

In their pair of meetings last season, the Coyotes were just 1-for-7 on the power play, but a lot has changed for Philly’s penalty killing since then. Philly’s 67.2 percent road penalty kill is less than a single percentage point better than Buffalo’s 66.1 percent kill, which is dead last in the NHL.

The Flyers have been held scoreless on the power play throughout their first four games of the road trip, going 0-for-12. But despite the mini-slump, Philly’s 21.6 percent power play rate is still good enough for seventh in the league. Their road power play has struggled throughout the campaign, though, dropping to 14.8 percent.

The Goalie Stories

Steve Mason is likely to return tonight after missing the first four games of the road trip due to a back injury. Despite dropping five of his last seven starts, the Flyers have earned seven points throughout that span. Mason’s .921 save percentage on the season shows how deceitful his 6-10-5 record really is.

Mason is 4-7-0, however, in 11 career appearances against the Coyotes. The 26-year-old netminder is 1-4-0 in his last five outings against Arizona, and is 1-1-0 as a Flyer. Mason’s lone win against the Coyotes as a Flyer did come at Arena last season, though.

The Yotes will counter with Devan Dubnyk, who’s 8-3-2 record make him a more formidable option than Mike Smith at this point. The former Oiler has rattled off two straight wins, while allowing one goal or less in five of his 12 starts.

Useless Knowledge

  • The only penalty shot awarded throughout the 24 games in the all-time series was given to Adam Hall on Oct. 2nd, 2013. He missed.
  • Mike Richards scored the all-time series’ lone overtime goal. Richards potted the OT game-winner on Nov. 22nd, 2008.
  • Mikael Tellqvist owns the only shutout between the two teams with a 24-save performance on Mar. 12th, 2007.
  • Philadelphia’s Scott Daniels scored the first goal in the first meeting between the Flyers and Coyotes on Oct. 18th, 1996.
  • Ron Hextall’s 27 saves on that date made him the first Flyers goalie to defeat the Coyotes.