NEW YORK – Is there a hockey doctor in the house?
Opponents of the Flyers are adding injury to insult these days as the orange and black continue to lose players and games.
Last year’s highest goal scorer, Joel Farabee, was the latest to go down during Wednesday night’s 4-1 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, extending Philly’s winless streak to seven games.
Farabee suffered what appeared to be a left shoulder injury midway through the first period and did not return to the game. The Flyers would only confirm it’s an upper-body injury.
Meanwhile, while the month of November has come to an end, the Flyers’ struggles haven’t.
Once again, goal-scoring was the main issue. The Flyers simply cannot put the puck in the net. Their record has now fallen below .500 (8-9-4) and one has to wonder how much heat will start to be felt by head coach Alain Vigneault and his staff.
Vigneault looked and sounded about as upset as he’s been all season and why not? The Flyers have already dropped to 12th in the Eastern Conference standings with no relief in sight.
“We need to find a way to win a game,’’ he said. “We’re just not making the plays we need to make. I’m not satisfied about anything here. This is serious. We’re not scoring right now, we’re not finishing. So we’re going to have to find a way to win games 1-0, 2-1. Until we get some of that finish that I know some of these players have. . .we’re not seeing it, we’re not executing it, we’re going to have to tighten up defensively.’’
Things went haywire almost from the start for the Flyers, who fell behind by a 2-0 score in the first period.
On the plus side for the Flyers, they did welcome back center Kevin Hayes to the lineup. He had missed all but two games this season as he’s been dealing with the aggravation of an abdominal injury which had required two surgical procedures.
Hayes centered a line with Scott Laughton on left wing and Travis Konecny on the right.
The Farabee injury is just another blow to an already shaky offense.
Vigneault said he did not see the play when it happened.
“I know I was told he fell awkwardly into the boards,’’ Vigneault said. “He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow.’’
Should the Flyers feel a little snakebitten by all these injuries?
“Every team deals with them,’’ said Hayes. “We’re dealing with it right now big time. It’s just next man up. That’s why you have an AHL team, that’s why you have prospects.’’
Hayes should provide some offense once he’s back up to full speed. Remember, he didn’t have a training camp and is trying to recover his conditioning in game action.
“I felt good,’’ he said. “Way better than I did those last two games.’’
The Rangers picked up a power-play goal from Jacob Trouba while Farabee was serving a high-stick penalty. Trouba’s point shot eluded goaltender Carter Hart at 3:41.
Dryden Hunt expanded the lead to 2-0 when he powered past Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov and threaded a shot under Hart at 9:32.
Chris Kreider needed only 34 seconds into the second period to make it 3-0. Kreider has 16 goals in 21 games.
The Flyers finally broke through at 9:37 of the period. Morgan Frost picked up his first goal of the season when he shoved a loose puck under Igor Shesterkin.
Philadelphia’s power play went 0 for three and is now four for its last 53 attempts.
Frost said the power play showed some signs of life.
“We made some good plays out there,’’ said Frost, who logged just over three minutes of the Flyers’ nine minutes of power-play time. “At this point, the way we’re struggling we definitely want to score. I guess you can take some positives from it.’’
Hart allowed three goals as the Rangers’ fourth goal was put into an empty net.
Right wing Wade Allison, who previously underwent surgery to repair an ankle injury, was activated on Wednesday and assigned to the Phantoms. Also, with Hayes returning to the lineup, Max Willman was loaned to Lehigh Valley as well.
The Rangers’ Hunt received a five-minute major plus a game misconduct penalty for hitting Flyers defenseman Justin Braun from behind at 1:57 of the second period. The Flyers failed to score during the extended power play, firing blanks on all seven shots. Hunt is subject to a suspension by the NHL. Braun missed several shifts for repairs but later returned to finish the period.
Hayes said at least the Flyers are generating chances with the man advantage.
“We had some good looks, both units,’’ he said. “We were in their zone the whole time. Their goalie is good, one of the best in the league. I wouldn’t say it was demoralizing, I think it gave us momentum. I think in that game we outplayed them, we just didn’t get the result we wanted.’’
The Flyers do not play again until Sunday when they play host to Tampa Bay in the first half of a back-to-back which concludes on Monday against Colorado. Hart said the three-day break can be helpful. “I think it will be good for our group, we’ve played a lot of hockey,’’ he said. “I think it will be good for us to rest up, work on our game in practice and be ready for Sunday and Monday against two good teams.’’. . .During their seven-game winless streak, the Flyers have been outscored, 29-12.