GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Flyers won a game and moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division, but they lost a goaltender Saturday night.
Rookie Nolan Patrick scored the winner in the seventh round of the shootout as the Flyers outlasted worst-in-the-NHL Arizona, 4-3, at the Gila River Arena.
The bad news: Brian Elliott, the team’s No. 1 goalie, suffered what was called a lower-body injury. He slumped to the ice and had to leave the game after being hit in the mask by Clayton Keller’s stick on Arizona’s second shootout attempt.
Elliott may have pulled a groin when he went down. The Flyers would not give any details on his injury.
The Flyers said Elliott would be re-evaluated when the team returned home after its game Sunday in Las Vegas. There’s a chance Alex Lyon will be recalled from the Phantoms to serve as a backup Sunday.
Michal Neuvirth relieved Elliott, and Arizona was 0 for 5 against him. The Flyers are now 1-4 in shootouts.
According to the NHL, Neuvirth became the first goalie to ever enter a game during a shootout and register a victory.
“Unbelievable job by Neuvy to come in cold and make some big stops,” Patrick said after his first shootout goal in two attempts this season. “A lot of credit goes to him.”
Neuvirth said it was the first time in his career he entered a game during a shootout.
“It was tough to see Ells go down,” he said. “We practice shootouts in the pre-game skates, so I have confidence.”
Patrick said he watched the monitor before taking his game-winner and saw goalie Antti Raanta’s glove was low. He beat Raanta with a high shot to the glove side.
With a huge contingent of Flyers fans in the building, Philadelphia avenged an early-season 4-3 overtime loss and scored two power-play goals, giving them four in their last two games.
Raanta robbed Wayne Simmonds (seven shots) during a wild scramble in front to keep the game tied at 3 with a little over four minutes left in regulation. Raanta was superb in the third period, when the Flyers outshot the Coyotes, 18-4, but were outscored, 1-0.
Former Flyer Zac Rinaldo tied the game at 3-3 with 18 minutes, 1 second left in regulation, putting a right-circle wrist shot over Elliott’s glove. A poor clear by defenseman Radko Gudas contributed to the goal.
Elliott allowed a pair of shaky goals in the first 20-plus minutes.
Twenty-four seconds into the second period, defenseman Alex Goligoski scored from the top of the left circle as Elliott was slow to get to the left post.
But the Flyers quickly answered. Less than two minutes later, Simmonds deflected Shayne Gostisbehere’s point drive past Raanta while the Flyers were on a power play. It was Simmonds’ 19th goal and his eighth in the last 18 games.
Gostisbehere collected his second assist of the night, giving him five in the last two games.
In the first period, Arizona showed why it has the league’s worst record. Raanta struggled mightily, and defensive breakdowns enabled the Flyers to go on three breakaways in the game’s first 15 minutes.
The Flyers, who have three straight wins, built a 2-1 lead in the period as Claude Giroux (power play) and Michael Raffl scored 1:22 apart to erase an early 1-0 deficit.
Giroux scored from his power-play office, the left circle. He took a feed from Jake Voracek and ripped a one-timer past Raanta with 9:41 to go in the first.
“Jake saw a line to make that pass,” Giroux said after his 17th goal of the season. “I was just trying to get a shot on net and thought maybe Simmer could get the rebound, but the puck ended up finding a hole.”
Raffl then scored from the same spot after taking a pass from Scott Laughton. But it was Jordan Weal who set the play in motion. After being knocked to the ice by Rinaldo, Weal hit Laughton with a pass while on his knees, triggering a two-on-one break.
“Wealsy made a hell of a play,” Raffl said.
Raffl became the ninth Flyer to reach double figures in goals, which is tied with Carolina for tops in the NHL.
Gostisbehere’s turnover led to Arizona’s first goal, a soft one-timer by defenseman Jason Demers — who was deep in the right circle when he took a pass from Derek Stepan — that went through Elliott’s legs with 16:07 left in the first period.
Earlier, the Flyers a golden scoring chance. They had a rare two-on-nothing break, but Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny failed to get off a shot. Konency bypassed a close shot and made an errant pass to Couturier.
Voracek, who extended his point streak to eight games, played in his 500th game as a Flyer and Dale Weise played in his 100th with the club…The Flyers are 19-8-2 since their 10-game losing streak ended…..Neuvirth will start Sunday in Vegas….Gudas was benched after his third-period miscue and played just 11:32….Patrick played a career-high 18:42….Arizona has three former Flyers on its roster: Nick Cousins, Luke Schenn, and Rinaldo. Schenn was a healthy scratch.