Regular Season Game 3: Greiss Helps Coyotes Past Flyers In First Start

In his first start with Phoenix, Thomas Greiss made 36 saves to help lead the Coyotes past the Flyers, 2-1, in Philadelphia on Friday night.  (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

In his first start with Phoenix, Thomas Greiss made 36 saves to help lead the Coyotes past the Flyers, 2-1, in Philadelphia on Friday night. (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Flyers had momentum.  Under new head coach Craig Berube, they’d won their first game against the Florida Panthers, and seemed poised to go on a little bit of a run.  The Phoenix Coyotes were not interested in this part of the plan.

Making his first start for the team, goaltender Thomas Greiss stopped 36 of the 37 shots he saw, and the Coyotes handed the Flyers a tough, 2-1 loss at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night.  Phoenix was in the second game of back-to-backs, not to mention that they were in Detroit just last night.  Although head coach Dave Tippett acknowledged that his players were looking a little worn down late in tonight’s game, this was still a big two points for his Coyotes, especially coming in a tough road building like Philly.

“It’s a tough building to win in, but it’s a fun building to play in too,” Greiss said.  “There’s a lot of fans, and the fans are rowdy.  It’s a good atmosphere in there, and it was fun.”

Added captain Shane Doan: “It was huge.  This is a very tough building to win in.  You look throughout the year, and you see games that you know not a lot of others teams in the West are going to get points coming out of here.  So it’s a big two points when you can add points that are going to be tough for other teams to get in your division and in your conference.”

It was a relatively even contest between the two teams, but the turning point would come late in the second period.  After Zac Rinaldo took the second of his three ill-advised minors on the night, the Coyotes capitalized when Oliver Ekman-Larsson snapped a shot past Flyers netminder Steve Mason with just 13 seconds left to give Phoenix a 2-1 lead.  Although Philadelphia did seem to turn it on in the third period — they held Phoenix to just five shots while mustering ten of their own — Greiss made the big saves when he needed to, and the Coyotes were able to fend off a team that still seemed to be playing with some sense of urgency after a change was made behind the bench.

“We know the type of men that they have behind the bench now,” Doan said.  “Berube and Laperrierre…and John Paddock coached me in Winnipeg.  They’re quality guys that are going to have their guys ready to go.  They’re guys that are going to push the intensity and level of commitment from their guys and you can see that.  The first five minutes, they were flying and we were fortunate to get out of it not being down.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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