Flyers fall in overtime

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Claude Giroux scored a dramatic tying goal in the final minutes of the third period. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)

For the second straight game, the Flyers were shorthanded because of an injury to one of their defensemen.

This time, they couldn't overcome it.

Captain Shane Doan scored a power-play goal with 2 minutes, 19 seconds left in overtime Tuesday night, lifting Phoenix to a 3-2 win before a sellout crowd at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Coyotes, who won their eighth straight, had a four-on-three advantage because of a hooking penalty to Kimmo Timonen, an infraction that had coach Peter Laviolette seething at the officials.

"I didn't like that one and a lot of others," Laviolette said.

With their goalie pulled for an extra attacker, the Flyers tied it at 2 when Claude Giroux scored on his own rebound with 1:13 left in regulation. A joy-struck Giroux punched the air in jubilation after the hard-earned goal, his 21st of the season.

"I just tried to get it on net because a lot of guys were around," said Giroux, who had a career-high eight shots.

Defenseman Oskars Bartulis, who was subbing for the injured Sean O'Donnell (knee), suffered a shoulder injury when he was run into by former Flyer Scottie Upshall early in the second period.

The injury caused the Flyers to play with five defensemen the rest of the way - and scramble their pairings for the second straight game.

Upshall was given a two-minute boarding penalty, and Laviolette thought he should have been given a major.

General manager Paul Holmgren said he was disappointed in Upshall, who received a smattering of applause when he first went onto the ice in his first return to Philadelphia since he was traded to Phoenix nearly two years ago.

Holmgren called it a late hit and said, "I have a little bit of a problem with it."

After his hit sent Bartulis to the ice and into the boards behind the net, Upshall was the subject of boos and derisive chants.

"It was a routine play, going to the net hard," Upshall said. "I couldn't really see the puck get covered, nor could I hear a whistle. I didn't intentionally go to drive him into the boards. I hope he's all right. Those plays happen a lot where guys are sticking up to each other."

Holmgren said there is a chance O'Donnell - who was supposed to be out for 10 to 14 days - might return at least a week ahead of schedule and play Thursday against the Islanders.

"He actually skated for about 40 minutes today and felt pretty good," Holmgren said.

If O'Donnell isn't ready, the team may put a defenseman on the injury-reserve list and recall Danny Syvret or Erik Gustafsson from Adirondack.

The Flyers, who held a 37-23 shots advantage in regulation, nearly won it in the first minute of overtime, but Ilya Bryzgalov (37 saves) stopped Matt Carle from the slot.

Sergei Bobrovsky, brilliant in the first two periods, allowed a weak goal to Taylor Pyatt with 9:30 left to snap a 1-1 tie.

Pyatt, from above the left circle, sent a soft shot that took a strange bounce and deflected off Bobrovsky. The puck went over the goalie's shoulder and into the net.

"He had huge saves for us and kept us in the game," Giroux said. "I think it was his first goal like that this season. It happens sometimes, but he's one of the reasons we got into overtime."

Earlier, Phoenix tied it at 1 on Eric Belanger's goal with 17:16 remaining.

Mikkel Boedker won a battle for the puck from Timonen and, from behind the net, found Belanger, who knocked the pass past Bobrovsky.

Before Tuesday, the Flyers had been 30-1-2 when taking a lead into the third period.

Captain Mike Richards, still fighting the aftereffects of the flu, thought losing Bartulis - who played admirably in his 10 shifts - was a key blow.

"It's tough. We pride ourselves all year on playing with four lines and six defensemen," said Richards, whose team also got a goal from Ville Leino, "and when you have that out of your lineup, you're a little bit of a depleted team."

With Bartulis sidelined, most of the defensemen played extended minutes, especially Chris Pronger (28:07) and Carle (26:56).

 


Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/BroadStBull.