Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle played in his 960th consecutive NHL game on Monday night, moving him to within five games of passing Doug Jarvis (964) for the NHL record. . .The two teams meet again on Tuesday night in Philadelphia. All fans must show proof of vaccination before entering the Wells Fargo Center, per city of Philadelphia regulations. . .Konecny’s previous last goal was Nov. 18 against Tampa Bay. . .Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen returned to action after missing two games due to COVID protocol. . .Flyers are now 2-16-2 when an opponent scores first. . .Sorokin is now 6-0-1 for his career vs. the Flyers. , .Matt Martin scored the empty-net goal, ending a 40-game drought.
Three numbers in the Flyers’ statistics jump straight out at you: One is not so good, one is bad and the third is downright ugly.
That is, in the Metropolitan Division the Flyers are next-to-last in goals scored (95), next-to-worst in goals allowed (129) and dead last in plus-minus (minus-34).
So why should another loss like the one the Flyers suffered on Monday night be even a bit surprising?
They fell to the New York Islanders, 4-1, at the new UBS Arena in Elmont, N.Y. and extended their winless streak to eight games (0-6-2).
The Flyers stayed within one goal until early in the third period; the Isles’ final goal was scored into an empty net.
One has to go all the way back to late December for the Flyers’ last win, which came at Seattle. The Flyers are now just two regulation/OT losses from tying their season-high 10-game (0-8-2) winless streak built in late November/early December. And their overall record fell to 13-18-7.
Interim head coach Mike Yeo brought forth several reasons why the Flyers continue to struggle both offensively and defensively.
“I thought the game was there for us tonight,’’ Yeo said during a media Zoom call. “I thought we looked fast at different points in the game but we’re working extremely hard for anything we get right now. But there are moments in the game where we give up something too easily.’’
Yeo acknowledged the Flyers have shown progress in recent games, the previous three before Monday by identical 3-2 scores.
“In order to win games,’’ he said, “we have to make sure those ‘moments’ aren’t there.’’
Although this was another frustrating loss, there was one highlight.
Travis Konecny waited 20 games to score NHL career goal No. 100 and, of course, it came about on a flukey play.
With the Flyers trailing by a 2-0 score, Konecny lobbed an innocent-looking, looping entry in the general direction of the New York net. The shot appeared to be going wide but nicked off defenseman Noah Dobson’s left shoulder and past startled goaltender Ilya Sorokin at 17:12.
Recently Konecny was quoted as saying he wasn’t feeling any pressure to score the milestone goal but he did admit he was “gripping’’ his stick a bit too tightly because of his current offensive struggle.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,’’ Konecny said of reaching the 100 mark, “but I’ll take it and move on.’’
After a scoreless first period, which featured several brilliant saves by Sorokin, the Islanders jumped to their two-goal lead in the second.
Brock Nelson opened the scoring with help from Josh Bailey. Nelson’s shot eluded goaltender Martin Jones at 11:44.
Then, just after a Flyers power play ended, Casey Cizikas deflected Tommy Salo’s point shot past Jones at 14:28. That ended a 43-game goal drought for Cizikas.
Even though the Flyers closed to within a goal on Konecny’s marker, the hill just looked too tall to climb.
The Flyers’ slumping power play hurt the Flyers in this game. It went scoreless in four tries and now is just four for its last 26 tries over the past 11 games.
The last opportunity came with eight minutes to play and the Flyers generated little in the way of offense.
“Obviously it’s frustrating,’’ Ivan Provorov said. “You have an opportunity to score a goal, tie the game. Some of those (four power plays) we weren’t able to even get in the zone. I know there have been a lot of changes on the power play but that shouldn’t be an excuse. Of the four, we should be able to create momentum at least.’’
Added Konecny: “There was good and bad. We made mistakes and that gives them momentum. That’s what kind of hurts.’’
In the third, the Flyers were about to be whistled for a penalty when Anthony Beauvillier capitalized on Flyers defensemnan Travis Sanheim’s turnover for a goal at 4:44. Nelson led a charge to the net and Beauvillier cleaned up a rebound. It was Beauvillier’s ninth career goal against the Flyers in just 20 games.
Jones couldn’t fault the effort.
“We didn’t give up any odd-man rushes, we were able to get in on the forecheck and spend more time in the offensive zone,’’ he said. “We’re right there, we just need to find a way to win right now.’’
>Yandle streak continues