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game recap

Oliver Ekman-Larsson gives Coyotes win in opener

Defenseman scores in OT to defeat Flyers in first game of season

by Jerry Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored in overtime to give the Arizona Coyotes a 4-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers in their season opener at Gila River Arena on Saturday.

Ekman-Larsson, whose eight game-winning goals last season set an NHL record for defensemen, scored off a pass from Martin Hanzal with 1:48 remaining after the Flyers had possessed the puck for almost the entire overtime.

Since the 2013-14 season, Ekman-Larsson has 22 game-winning goals, the most among NHL defensemen.

"Guess who? Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Again," Arizona captain Shane Doan said. "Right place. Right time. That's him."

Ekman-Larsson played 1:36 in overtime. He scored when a delayed penalty allowed the Coyotes to get an extra man on the ice and Hanzal spotted him across the slot low in the left faceoff circle.

"I play with a lot of confidence 3-on-3 in overtime, and Marty did a great job finding me. It wasn't that hard to put it in," Ekman-Larsson said.

Video: PHI@ARI: Ekman-Larsson delays, nets OT winner

Hanzal, Doan and Brad Richardson scored for the Coyotes, and forward Christian Dvorak and defenseman Jakob Chychrun each had an assist in his first NHL game. Mike Smith made 27 saves, including a big one against Flyers forward Matt Read right at the doorstep early in overtime.

The Coyotes begin a six-game Eastern Conference road trip Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators.

Michael Raffl, Wayne Simmonds and Read scored for the Flyers, who defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 on Friday in their season opener. Goalie Steve Mason made 31 saves.

"We did a good job showing character and battling back from 3-1 down," Simmonds said. "We just have to make sure we don't make the mistakes that are costing us, especially early in this game."

Video: PHI@ARI: Doan cleans up rebound with backhand PPG

On Arizona's third power play of the first period, Doan opened the scoring at 8:49 with the 397th goal of his NHL career, backhanding in a rebound of a shot by defenseman Alex Goligoski. Raffl tied it at 12:31, redirecting defenseman Nick Schultz's shot past Smith.

Hanzal put Arizona ahead 2-1 at 14:17, cleaning up a wraparound attempt by Chychrun.

Richardson made it 3-1 when he scored a shorthanded goal 17 seconds into the second period. Jordan Martinook stole the puck from Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and sent Martinook in for the shot that beat Mason to the blocker side.

But the Flyers regrouped. Simmonds made it 3-2 at 6:16 of the second when he cleaned up a rebound of a Claude Giroux shot and put the puck between Smith's pads.

Read tied it 3-3 at 4:36 of the third period.

Video: PHI@ARI: Richardson scores shorthanded on breakaway

 

Goal of the game

Read took a pretty stretch pass from rookie forward Travis Konecny, barreled in on Smith, and then deked and put a backhand shot up and over the goalie to help the Flyers earn a point.

Video: PHI@ARI: Read shows off his hands, roofs backhand

 

Save of the game

Ekman-Larsson wouldn't have had his chance to work his magic if Smith hadn't made five saves in overtime. The best was against a wide-open Read just to the side of the crease at 1:57.

Video: PHI@ARI: Smith slides across to keep Coyotes alive

 

Unsung moment of the game

Goligoski had two of his Coyotes-high four blocked shots on the same shift in overtime, each against Flyers forward Jakub Voracek. Goligoski played 24:57 in his Coyotes debut and assisted on Doan's goal.

 

Highlight of the game

Chychrun's first NHL point came on a memorable play. Taking a pass from forward Max Domi at center ice, Chychrun raced in and wound up for a shot that missed the mark. But he skated behind the net, regained possession and put a wraparound attempt into the crease for Hanzal to score Arizona's second goal.

Video: PHI@ARI: Hanzal pokes puck past Mason to take lead

 

They said it

"I learned there are going to be a lot of ups and downs this year and my hair is going to get grayer. Some good, some bad. It was like a kaleidoscope. Each picture you got was different." -- Coyotes coach Dave Tippett on playing four rookies, three in their NHL debut

 

"It was crazy. I don't think it has been that high before with that flurry that went on forever, and then skating to the bench and stuck on the bench to get another guy out there and winning. I don't get to celebrate on the bench in a game I'm playing, so that was cool." -- Coyotes goalie Mike Smith on overtime

 

"We scratched and clawed our way out of a hole. It's just disappointing not to finish it. We said coming in that every point is so valuable. We're not happy we didn't finish it." -- Flyers coach Dave Hakstol

 

Video: PHI@ARI: Simmonds crashes net, buries rebound in 2nd

 

Need to know

The Flyers played without forward Brayden Schenn and defenseman Radko Gudas, each serving a multigame suspension. … Doan has 13 points (four goals) in 20 season openers in his NHL career. … Philadelphia was called for too many men on the ice twice in the first three minutes but killed each penalty. … Voracek was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and given a misconduct penalty and a game misconduct penalty after Ekman-Larsson scored the game-winning goal.

 

What's next

Flyers: At the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CSN-CH, CSN-PH, NHL.TV)

Coyotes: At the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, FS-A, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Ekman-Larsson nets OT winner to top Flyers, 4-3

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