GLENDALE, Ariz. — With a chance to move two points ahead in the wildcard race, the Philadelphia Flyers dropped a 2-1 decision to Arizona at the Gila River Arena on Saturday night.
They also lost their captain, Claude Giroux, to an injury late in the game.
Mike Smith made 34 saves to lead Arizona, which was aided by a controversial goal that just beat the buzzer at the end of the second period.
Smith was the difference as the Flyers outshot the Coyotes, 35-17.
With their goalie pulled and the Flyers having a six-on-four advantage, Sean Couturier’s goal cut the deficit to 2-1 with 40 seconds left. But they would not get any closer.
The Flyers went 2-1-1 on the trip, and they remain tied with Detroit for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Technically, the Flyers are ahead because they have played one fewer game than the Red Wings.
They also slipped four points behind the Islanders and five points behind Pittsburgh; those teams won Saturday.
Both of Arizona’s goal scorers — captain Shane Doan and defenseman Michael Stone — suffered third-period injuries and had to leave the game. Doan was checked by Radko Gudas, and Stone appeared to injure his leg when he got tangled with Michael Raffl near the end boards.
Giroux appeared dazed as he left the game with 2:15 left. Giroux’s head hit the wall after a hit by Martin Hanzal, who received a five-minute boarding penalty.
Arizona took a 2-0 lead on a goal that was reviewed twice in the closing seconds of the second period.
The first review was to determine if Stone’s goal had beaten the buzzer. It did. By 0.5 seconds.
After that decision was announced, Flyers coach Dave Hakstol asked for another review, claiming goaltender interference.
The Coyotes won that review, too,
Arizona rookie Max Domi was jostling with defenseman Brandon Manning in front, and Domi’s arm appeared to hit goalie Steve Mason’s mask, causing it to move and made it hard for him to see as Stone scored from the high slot.
The Flyers had a 16-7 shots domination in the second period but were outscored, 2-0.
With the Coyotes on a power play because of a Ryan White tripping penalty, Doan scored on a rebound to snap a scoreless tie with 4:23 left in a Flyers-dominated second period.
The Coyotes had no shots on their first two power plays, and the Flyers had killed off 35 of their last 38 penalties before the 39-year-old Doan deposited his 26th goal of the season.
Jake Voracek had perhaps the Flyers’ best chance in the second period. Alone in the right circle, he was stopped by Smith while the Flyers were on a power play with 2:49 to go in the stanza.
The Flyers’ first power-play unit, which hasn’t scored since Feb. 29, continued to struggle.
It was the second unit that put pressure on the Coyotes early in the second period, but Smith had all the answers.
Neither team had many chances in a tight-checking, scoreless first period, one in which the Coyotes outshot the Flyers, 6-5.
Smith, who has excelled since returning from abdominal surgery two weeks ago, made a sliding save to stop Wayne Simmonds on the Flyers’ best first-period attempt. Simmonds took a slick two-on-one pass from Raffl, but Smith slid to his left to prevent a goal.
Smith also made a nice stop on a redirect by former Coyote Sam Gagner while the Flyers were on a first-period power play.
Mason, making his 10th start in the last 11 games, made six saves in the opening period, including a quality stop on Martin Hanzal.
Before the game, Hakstol said he wasn’t concerned about his 27-year-old goaltender being fatigued.