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5 Observations: Morgan Frost Has Career Night, But Flyers Fall in OT

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Morgan Frost, Philadelphia Flyers
Morgan Frost celebrates his goal with (left to right) James van Riemsdyk, Owen Tippett, and Cam York. Photo: AP.

Playing in a college rink didn’t change the Philadelphia Flyers’ fortunes Sunday night.

Morgan Frost had the first four-point game of his NHL career, but the Flyers dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to the Arizona Coyotes at Arizona State’s Mullett Arena.

Clayton Keller finished his first career hat trick and finished off the Flyers, scoring from the left circle with 23 seconds left in overtime.

The Philadelphia Flyers (9-13-7) have lost 15 of their last 17 games, including three in a row. They have just one win in 11 games that were tied heading into the third period. It was 3-3 after two periods Sunday.

In overtime games, Philly is 0-6.

Arizona (9-13-4) was opportunistic, scoring on two breakaways and capitalizing on its only power play. The Flyers were 0 for 2 on the power play.

Here are five quick observations:

1. The Flyers got same late heroics.

With Carter Hart pulled for an extra attacker, Frost set up Travis Konecny (13 shot attempts, six on goal) for his team-high 11th goal, knotting the score at 4-4 with 2:17 left in regulation.

That gave the Flyers a point, but it could have been two. They finished with a season-high 41 shots, compared to 29 for Arizona.

Just like in Friday’s 2-1 overtime loss in Vegas, the Flyers controlled the extra session, but a miscue by Rasmus Ristolainen led to the winning goal.

2. The James van Riemsdyk-Morgan Frost-Owen Tippett line was buzzing.

Each player had a goal on the newly formed line, enabling the Flyers to be locked in a 3-3 tie after two periods. Like Frost, van Riemsdyk finished with four points, and he tied a career high. Both players were plus-4.

Van Riemsdyk and Frost were the central figures as the Flyers scored two goals 1:59 apart in the second, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead.

With the Flyers facing a 1-0 deficit early in the second, van Riemsdyk did the dirty work behind the net and fed it in front to Frost (fourth goal), who knocked in his second goal in the last 27 games.

About two minutes later, Frost fed Van Riemsdyk on a rare two-on-none break, and the big left winger deposited his third goal in the nine games he has played.

After Arizona took a 3-2 lead, Tippett (eighth goal) scored from just inside the blue line as his high shot beat screened goalie Karel Vejmelka with 1:18 remaining in the second. Frost made a sweet move to avoid two defenders and help set up the goal.

In the second period, the line combined for all three goals and eight points in the stanza. Frost and JVR each had three points, and Tippett had two.

“I think we were reading off each other really well,” van Riemsdyk said.

3. The Coyotes built off their stunner over Boston.

Two nights after they stunned best-in-the-NHL Boston, 4-3, the Coyotes had jump in their step when needed. They had more shots in the first 25 minutes or so than they did in the entire game against the Bruins.

Trailing 2-1, Arizona scored two goals 2:36 apart to take a 3-2 second-period lead. Keller’s second goal of the night, this one on a breakaway, tied it at 2-2. Midway through the period, Jack McBain made it 3-2 as he scored after a puck deflected to him in the left circle.

After McBain’s goal, the Flyers controlled play and tied it late in the second. But Nick Ritchie beat Carter Hart on a  breakaway, using a backhander to put the Coyotes ahead, 4-3, with 12:33 left in the third.

Hart made his seventh consecutive start.

4. The Flyers apparently like playing catch-up.

How else do you explain their propensity for falling behind?

They controlled the early part of the game, but couldn’t get a shot past Vejmelka. The Coyotes then took over play, drew a penalty, and cashed in.

Keller scored a power-play goal from the high slot as Hart was screened on the shot. That gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead with 7:14 to go in the first.

It marked the 22nd time the Flyers had allowed the first goal in 29 games.

5. The Flyers used a two-defensemen alignment in the overtime

Coach John Tortorella went with two defensemen in the three-on-three extra period.

“I think it helps us with puck possession,” he said.

In a sense, it worked, because the Flyers controlled the overtime. That said, another forward would have given them a better chance to finish off a scoring chance.

Breakaways

Cam York was the quarterback on the top power-play unit, which included Kevin Hayes, James van Riemsdyk, Konecny, and Morgan Frost. York played another strong game; he was plus-3 and had five shot attempts in 24:08. … Tony DeAngelo missed the game because of a family matter; he was a healthy scratch in the previous game. … Right wingers Tippett and Zack MacEwen switched lines from the previous game. Tippett was with van Riemsdyk and Frost on Sunday, and MacEwen was with Scott Laughton and Joel Farabee.  … MacEwen was injured in the third period. … The Flyers will play Tuesday in Colorado at 9 p.m.

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