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Voracek helps Flyers steal win from Coyotes

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jakub Voracek stole the puck from Keith Yandle and scored an unassisted goal with 8:08 left in the third period, giving the Philadelphia Flyers a 5-3 win against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.

Claude Giroux scored into an empty net with 30.9 seconds left to ice the game for the Flyers, who trailed 3-1 late in the second period. Philadelphia is 8-2-1 in its past 11 games and went 4-1-0 on the Western portion of a six-game road trip that ends Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils.

Since starting the season 1-7-0, including a 2-1 loss to the Coyotes on Oct. 11, the Flyers are 20-7-4 and back among the Stanley Cup Playoff teams in the Eastern Conference. They have rallied five times to win in the past month.

"Every [team] has good chemistry and we're hard-working team right now," said Voracek, who assisted on Wayne Simmonds' power-play goal 4:22 into the third period that tied the game. "In the beginning of the season we got behind and we would just fold. But right now we believe in ourselves that we can come back from whatever. We were down two goals in a tough building against a tough team but we never give up."

The Coyotes led 2-0 then 3-1 after Yandle set up Mikkel Boedker with a long-distance pass 6:47 into the second period. Brayden Schenn cut the Phoenix lead to a goal 17:15 into the second, and Simmonds scored his ninth goal in the past nine games.

Voracek stripped Yandle near the Phoenix blue line, rolled in and squeezed a shot between goalie Mike Smith's pads for his 10th of the season.

Steve Mason made 26 saves, and Scott Hartnell scored the first goal for Philadelphia.

"We learned the hard way at the start of the year that if we get down a couple of goals we have to stay with the system," Giroux said. "If we play a patient game and the way we should we're going to have chances."

Rob Klinkhammer and Lauri Korpikoski scored for Phoenix. Smith made 23 saves. The emotional boost the Coyotes received by having captain Shane Doan in the lineup for the first time in a month after a bout with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever wasn't enough; they failed on four power plays and are 0-for-13 over the past four games.

After starting the season 9-0-1 at home, they are 2-5-2 in their past nine games at Arena and have two wins in their past 10 games (2-4-4) overall. Phoenix coach Dave Tippett hasn't seen many positives of late as the Coyotes hit the midway point at 20-12-9 after a 13-4-4 opening.

"We've been inconsistent in every department," Tippett said. "Our goaltending has been inconsistent. Our scoring was good early and now that's let down. The goals-against is nowhere near where has to be, and penalty killing and goaltending goes in that bracket. We look like we're stuck in the mud.

"We're at the halfway mark. I'm sure [general manager Don Maloney] and I will talk in the next couple of days. We have to evaluate where we are and where we have to get to. We're going to get there somehow. We just have to figure that out."

Smith's goals-against average of 2.89 is a concern, and he hasn't made the kind of momentum-changing stops the Coyotes have relied on the past two seasons.

"We haven't seen those stellar games from him where he just closes the door," Tippett said. "This is a game we feel like in the past we'd play smart enough and our goaltending would be sound enough where Philly felt like they played a really good game but they didn't win. We haven't had that feeling here enough this year yet."

Boedker's goal was his career-best 12th of the season, but its significance was lost with the lead.

"We've got to get back to playing where we control the game," Boedker said. "You have a two-goal lead twice at home and you don't get any points? It's obviously depressing."

After a scoreless first period, the teams combined for five second-period goals, with four in the first 6:47.

Antoine Vermette won a battle behind the Philadelphia net. His scoring bid deflected off Mason's paddle and found Klinkhammer, who popped the puck over the goalie's right shoulder at 1:29 for his eighth goal, first in nine games, to put Phoenix ahead.

It took 1:25 for it to double its lead. Mason stopped a Connor Murphy shot from between the circles, but the rebound dropped into the slot. Korpikoski won the puck race and beat Mason with a backhand at 2:54. Korpikoski's fifth goal was his first since Nov. 16, a span that included 13 games on injured reserve.

Phoenix's 2-0 lead lasted 17 seconds. Philadelphia's Mark Streit found Hartnell trailing for a cross-ice feed, and Hartnell one-timed a shot by Smith's glove inside the post at 3:11. Hartnell's ninth goal of the season extended his point streak to seven games (three goals, five assists).

The Coyotes restored their two-goal lead at 6:47 on a pretty play by Yandle. He whipped a pass from between the Phoenix circles to the Philadelphia blue line, catching Boedker on the tape, in stride and just past two Flyers. Boedker breezed in alone and beat Mason over the blocker with a wrist shot.

The Flyers closed the five-goal period with a momentum-swinger. After failing on a power play, Vincent Lecavalier ran down a puck past the goal line and flipped it back in front. Schenn was there waiting to bang home a backhand at 17:15 for his 10th goal to make it 3-2.

Philadelphia tied the game early in the third on the power play. With Martin Hanzal in the box for holding, Simmonds tried to deflect home a Voracek shot. Smith kicked it out, but right to Simmonds, who was unmarked and jammed home his 14th goal of the season.

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