Even a dramatic goal by Kevin Hayes with 37.3 seconds left in overtime couldn’t completely knock Joel Farabee’s accomplishment off the top headline.
While Hayes’ goal proved the difference in a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders on Sunday night at the Wells Fargo Center, it was the 20-year-old’s heroics which shared the spotlight.
Hayes scored while the Flyers were on the power play. The win completed a sweep of the two-game set with the New Yorkers.
The Flyers’ three goals in regulation time were scored by Farabee, who became the first Philadelphia player under the age of 20 to record three goals in a game since Mike Richards in 2006.
The Flyers held a 3-1 lead after two periods but needed less than seven minutes in the third period to give it away.
Josh Bailey tipped in a Ryan Pulock point shot at 1:03, then Mathew Barzal converted at 6:27 after a Hayes miss resulted in a break-out for the Islanders.
Farabee scored once in the first and two more times in the second.
Meanwhile, goaltender Brian Elliott raised his season record to 3-0-0 as the Flyers (7-2-1) ran their winning streak to four games.
Hayes said it was important to be ready for a pass from Claude Giroux, who leads the NHL in power-play in assists over the past few seasons.
“That’s the reason why he’s an elite power-play guy,’’ Hayes said. “It was kind of a broken play off of a shot. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it. He made a great pass and luckily it went in.’’
The Flyers were on that power play because moments earlier Barzal had hit Scott Laughton in the jaw with a high stick.
Farabee gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 18:49 of the first when he took a deflection from James van Riemsdyk and beat Islander goalie Ilya Sorokin high over the glove.
Van Riemsdyk assisted on all three Farabee goals.
“JVR made a really good play to stop the breakout,’’ Farabee said. “I just kind of turned and tried to avoid the defender’s stick and try to get it in the air.’’
Farabee said playing on a line with van Riemsdyk and Laughton is a pleasure because they have so much experience.
“(They’re) two older guys and they know what’s going on,’’ Farabee said. “I thought we had some really good offensive zone time and were moving the puck really well.’’
In the second period, the Islanders tied it when pointman Nick Leddy’s shot deflected off the post then Elliott’s back before sliding in the net on a power play
But Farabee countered at 2:19. Once again, JVR made the set-up, with Farabee firing a puck over Sorokin’s blocker.
Then the Boston University graduate completed the surge by stationing himself in the crease and deflecting Phil Myers’ point shot into the net at 15:52.
“Joel is a young man who really wants to grow his game,’’ coach Alain Vigneault said. “He works extremely hard. He had a good summer. I think in the last couple games he’s played real well with Laughton, there seems to be some chemistry there.’’
Another key to the game was the Flyers’ penalty kill. Although they gave up the Leddy goal on the power play, they finished the game killing the other five New York extra-man advantages.
“Against Pittsburgh and Boston, our PK stats weren’t great,’’ Hayes noted. “But if you look at the goals, there were a lot of broken plays. We have a foundation we’re supposed to stick to and even though we gave up a goal tonight on the penalty kill, I think it was the main reason why we won the game.’’
Vigneault agreed with Hayes’ assessment.
“Our penalty killing tonight was good,’’ he said. “Their goal was a shot that hit the post and went off of Moose’s leg. But for the most part, against a team that has a tremendous amount of skill and can make plays, we did a great job.
“Our guys blocked some shots at the right time. There’s no doubt that penalty killing is part of having success. But we’re going to have to stay out of the box, we took way too many penalties tonight.’’
As for Elliott, he just keeps coming up big at the right time. He made a big save just before the Hayes goal and that ended up being a two-point swing for the Flyers.
“We’re not where we want to be, we haven’t played a full 60 minutes yet,’’ Elliott said. “But I think if we keep some parts of our game together we can get to where we want to be. Getting the wins in ways when you’re not playing your best, that’s a big sign that you’re doing some things right.
“It’s a positive step.’’
The Flyers are off until Wednesday when they begin a two-game set against the Boston Bruins at the Wells Fargo Center.