The Flyers’ freefall continued Tuesday as they blew a 2-0 lead and set an infamous franchise record.
They became the first team in the franchise’s once-proud history to have a 13-game winless streak, falling to the host New York Islanders, 4-3, at UBS Arena.
On the positive side, Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle, who is in his first season with the club, established an NHL record by playing in his 965th straight game. The old record was owned by Doug Jarvis, who played in 964 consecutive games from 1975 to 1987. He broke Gary Unger’s record of 915 straight games.
The Islander took a 4-3 lead on Zach Parise’s goal with 8:09 left in regulation — seconds after the Flyers finished a superb penalty kill.
It marked the second straight night a team scored a late goal to snap a tie and beat the injury-plagued Flyers. Dallas did it Monday in a 3-1 win, a game it iced with an empty-net goal.
The Flyers, perhaps because they were playing on back-to-back nights against a rested team, looked tired after the first period and were outshot, 24-9, over the last 40 minutes.
The Isles “smelled blood. They knew we were a tired team, and they’re a very disciplined team” interim coach Mike Yeo said.
Here are some observations from Tuesday’s record-setting game:
1. Speedy Gerry Mayhew, playing because of the Flyers’ slew of injuries, is making a favorable impression.
A career journeyman, the 29-year-old winger/center tied the game at 3-3 with 18:30 left in the third as he weaved around defenders and whipped a left-circle shot past Ilya Sorokin, He has had some big seasons in the AHL, including 39 goals in 49 games in 2019-20, when he was named the league’s MVP while playing for the Iowa Wild.
Mayhew led a joy-struck celebration after he tied the game.
“It’s been rough around here, and to get that goal, I was pretty pumped, as you saw,” he said. “But it’s nothing if we don’t win. I know we’re battling as hard as we can. … I think if we keep pushing and pushing, we’ll get a win here soon, hopefully.”
Mayhew has not played much in the NHL and is finally getting a long look.
He had five shots and was one of the Flyers’ best players in a 3-1 loss to Dallas on Monday, and he was in the middle of several scoring chances Tuesday.
2. The Flyers scored first! The Flyers scored first! The Flyers scored first!
Opponents had put the Flyers in a 1-0 hole in 10 of the previous 11 games, so when Claude Giroux scored from an impossible angle just 57 seconds after the opening faceoff, it was, well, pretty stunning.
Especially since Sorokin, one of the league’s best goalies, made a rare mistake. He allowed Giroux’s shot from the boards, near the goal line, to deflect off his skate and into the net.
3. The Flyers seemed to have extra energy in the first 10 minutes, perhaps because they knew they could make Yandle’s record-setting night even more special if it included a win.
They built a 2-0 lead in the first, getting goals from Giroux and Justin Braun — both scored on shots that went off the skates of Isles.
But before you could say “the Flyers haven’t won in 2022,” the Islanders responded and knotted the score at 2-all with goals late in the period.
Yandle, 35, a 16-year veteran, was 22 when the streak started. The streak has lasted 12-plus years, or 4,689 days.
He had numerous family members and friends at the game.
“To see the amount of support I had, and people taking the time out of their lives to support me, it meant the world to me,” he said.
Yandle has collected 269 power-play points during the streak, the most by any NHL defensemen during that span. Overall, he has 479 assists (second among NHL defensemen) and 572 points (third among NHL defensemen) during the streak.
Passing the Iron torch.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) January 26, 2022
4. The Flyers have had a bad habit of allowing a goal shortly after they score, and it happened again Tuesday.
Defenseman Noah Dobson scored on a long wrist shot as Oliver Wahlstrom screened goalie Martin Jones, getting the Isles within 2-1 — just 49 seconds after Braun scored on a point shot that deflected off the skate of New York defender Andy Greene.
The Isles tied it at 2-2 with 1:45 left in the first as Anders Lee finished off a slick two-on-one with Mathew Barzal.
5. Speaking of Barzal, he is a certified Flyers killer.
Remember when he killed the Flyers in the playoffs (playoffs!) a couple years ago? Well, the elusive center is still feasting on the Orange and Black. He scored a power-play goal early in the second period to give the Islanders a 3-2 lead. It also gave him 25 points in 22 career games against the Flyers.
In the 2015 draft, Barzal was selected 16th overall — nine picks after the Flyers chose Ivan Provorov.
Would you make a Barzal-for-Provorov trade if you were the Flyers?
In his NHL debut, Linus Sandin played just 6:59 and had one shot and two blocks. … The Isles outshot the Flyers, 33-17…. The Flyers had a 12-game winless streak in 1999. … New York has won eight straight over Philly. … Travis Sanheim had a pair of assists, and Braun had a goal, five hits and two blocked shots. … Sorokin, who was uncharacteristically shaky, made a great save on Oskar Lindblom’s deflection with 3:14 to go. … Jones was pulled for an extra skater with 2:25 remaining. … The Flyers don’t play until Saturday against the visiting Kings at 1 p.m., and Yeo said it was a good time to “regroup and clear our heads” in the upcoming days. … The Flyers have a minus-20 goal differential in the second period this season.