Vermette's 2 goals lead Coyotes past Flyers 4-2
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Antoine Vermette is set to become a free agent this coming summer, so another hat trick would look mighty good on his resume.
''That's why I want him at two (goals),'' Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said, chuckling.
Vermette was originally credited with three goals but had one taken away by the official scorer after Arizona's 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night.
''I swung my stick pretty hard, but I have no idea,'' Vermette said, smiling, when asked if he deflected Shane Doan's shot in the first period.
Doan was originally credited with the goal. Then it was changed to Vermette. More than 30 minutes after the game, it was given back to Doan, wiping out Vermette's fourth NHL hat trick.
''We won, so that's all good,'' Vermette said.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson added a power-play goal, and Devan Dubnyk stopped 30 shots as Arizona matched a season-high with its third straight win.
R.J. Umberger scored two third-period goals for the Flyers after they fell behind 3-0. Steve Mason made 21 saves in his return after he missed four games with back spasms.
The Flyers dropped to 3-2 on their season-high, eight-game road trip.
''When the second period came we were just completely flat and they really took it to us,'' Umberger said.
With prospective new Coyotes majority owner Andrew Barroway watching from the stands, Vermette and Arizona showed a spark that has been missing during much of a disappointing season that has the Coyotes 28th in the NHL.
The Flyers made it interesting late.
Umberger's wrist shot at 12:11 ended Dubnyk's bid for a second shutout of the season. Umberger then added a power-play goal - Philadelphia's first of the trip - to get the Flyers within a goal with 4:47 left.
Flyers coach Craig Berube pulled Mason with just under 2 minutes left, and Dubnyk stopped Claude Giroux's hard slap shot with 51 seconds remaining before Vermette put it away with an empty-net goal.
Dubnyk was sharp early, allowing the Coyotes to take a 1-0 lead despite being outshot 14-6 in the first period. Doan's slap shot changed direction, and it got past Mason on the short side with 1:34 left.
Did it hit Vermette or a Philadelphia defenseman?
''I thought their D touched it, but I don't know. I have no idea,'' Doan said.
Vermette made it 2-0 at 15:31 of the second period when he knocked in Zbynek Michalek's rebound.
Philadelphia went nearly 9 minutes without a shot in the second period, despite Mason's solid outing in his return from injury.
''I felt really good, actually,'' Mason said.
The Flyers have struggled all season in low-scoring games, falling to 2-15-5 when they score three goals or fewer. The continued woes with their road penalty kill proved costly, too.
Ekman-Larsson's goal - on Mikkel Boedker's second assist of the game - was the 23rd road goal allowed with a man down on 69 chances.
With No. 1 goalie Mike Smith mired in a 5-15-2 season while giving up 3.48 goals per game, the Coyotes turned to Dubnyk for the sixth time in seven games.
The Coyotes have been careful not to say the high-priced Smith will be demoted, but Dubnyk has taken charge of late.
Showing growing confidence, the six-year veteran and former Edmonton first-round pick has allowed two goals in three games.
He has stopped 91 of 95 shots to allow the Coyotes to win three straight for the first time since early November.
''He's so composed back there and calm,'' Doan said of Dubnyk. ''He's playing really well, and we're feeding off that.''
NOTES: The NHL could approve Barroway's acquisition of 51 percent of the Coyotes this week. . The Flyers sent G Rob Zepp to the minors to open a roster spot for Mason. . Coyotes C Sam Gagner earned the NHL's third star of the week for his league-best six points in three games. . Flyers F Ryan White, recovering from pectoral surgery, will begin a minor-league conditioning assignment Wednesday. . Coyotes C Tyler Gaudet made his NHL debut with C Joe Vitale (lower-body) out of the lineup.