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Flyers take golden touch into meeting vs. Coyotes

Dec 23, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA;  Philadelphia Flyers right wing Travis Konecny (11) reacts against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers were scuffling and looking for answers when they arrived in California last week for a three-game visit.

They came home in a golden state after a stunning three-game sweep. It was the first three-game California sweep in franchise history.

Following victories over the San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, the Flyers will now look for a fourth straight win when they host the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.

The Flyers last won three in a row to open the season.

“I think this just shows us sticking to the game plan and how we’re going to work hard every night,” said Travis Konecny, who scored his team-leading 19th goal in the 4-1 victory Monday over the Ducks. “I feel like we’re getting back to how we were playing at the start of the year. It doesn’t matter who we play against, you play the same way and hopefully it pays off for you.”

It’s unclear if goaltender Carter Hart (concussion) will be cleared to play against the Coyotes. Samuel Ersson made 28 saves against the Ducks.

If not for a late Anaheim goal, Ersson would have come away with a shutout. But he still came away with another win and improved to 3-0-0.

“Obviously it stinks a little bit, you can’t lie,” Ersson said after his shutout was thwarted with 39.6 seconds remaining. “But it’s the wins that matter and that’s what you take with you moving forward here.”

If Hart is unable to return, the Flyers believe they can continue their winning ways.

“(Ersson) is super impressive,” Konecny said. “He looks so calm in there. It looks like he’s been playing here for a while. He’s doing a great job and he works hard too in practice so it’s nice to see it paying off for him.”

The Coyotes had been surging with three consecutive wins but have since dropped consecutive games to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers.

Arizona fell 5-3 to Florida on Tuesday for its 10th road defeat in a row.

Clayton Keller had one goal and one assist and goaltender Karel Vejmelka stopped 32 shots.

“We didn’t defend well,” Coyotes head coach Andre Tourigny said. “They put a lot of pucks on net. They’re a volume team with rebounds, and we knew that. For us, it’s a matter to be prepared and play well against certain teams, and that’s on me to do a better job.”

Arizona competed the entire way and just came up a bit short. That has been a troubling trend during the losing skid on the road.

“That’s a hungry team, we knew that coming into it and I don’t think their record reflects how good they actually are,” Arizona’s Nick Bjugstad said. “I didn’t think we had enough juice. That’s a good team that’s hungry, and they were just hungrier than us.”

The Coyotes did receive a boost with the return of Nick Schmaltz from an upper-body injury. Schmaltz received more than 19 minutes of ice time and registered an assist.

Arizona will enter with a 6-15-3 mark on the road.

–Field Level Media

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