PHILADELPHIA – Bad teams find creative ways to lose and the Flyers were no exception to that thinking on Monday night.
Tied, 1-1, with time running out in a game against the Dallas Stars, the Flyers left Jacob Peterson unguarded in front of the Philadelphia net. Alexander Radulov fired a pass from behind the net, Peterson knocked the puck past Carter Hart with 3:21 to play and another defeat was headed for the books.
The Stars added an empty net goal from Joe Pavelski with 1:37 to play.
With the 3-1 loss at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers had their winless streak extended to 12 games (0-10-2), tying the franchise mark for futility originally set in the 1998-99 season when that team went 0-8-4.
The last-place Flyers’ record fell to 13-21-8. When it was over, the Flyers left the ice to a chorus of boos from whatever few fans were left.
Regardless of the result, it was a well-played, fast-paced game which featured a rare contest without a penalty on either team.
Interim head coach Mike Yeo can’t hold a post-game press conference without making at least one reference to his team’s depleted roster, which currently is without stars Sean Couturier, Ryan Ellis, Joel Farabee, Kevin Hayes and Derick Brassard.
Still, the Flyers who are in the lineup aren’t setting the world on fire.
Yeo said the losses aren’t piling up because of a lack of energy.
“That’s one thing we didn’t lack,’’ Yeo insisted. “Maybe some execution at times. Guys were blocking shots, we were hitting, we were physical. . .I think the last thing I want to do is say it’s OK we lost a hockey game. None of us accept this. But this is a certain reality, too. We’ve got eight guys out of the lineup. We’re asking young kids to come in and play hard matchups. We’re asking an awful lot of everybody.’’
The Flyers play only eight games in February in part because of the scuttled Olympic break. Maybe some extra practices and extra rest can help turn this thing around.
Ivan Provorov went through a 10-game (0-8-2) streak just a couple months ago so he’s no stranger to this adversity.
“I thought we played a pretty solid game,’’ he said. “Like other games, we just can’t find ways to score goals. We’re going to get out of this eventually and hopefully it’s tomorrow (at the Islanders).’’
Hart has been a steady performer throughout this streak. He expressed optimism the Flyers are doing some good things and eventually will get rewarded.
“Bounces aren’t going our way,’’ he said. “It’s tough. And for sure it gets magnified when we get on a losing streak. But at the end of the day you just have to put it behind you. We have to find ways to dig ourselves out of this hole. It’s hard on everybody. You lose 12 in a row in any sport. . .we have to find ways to stay positive. I think there were a lot of things in our game tonight that were a stride in the right direction.’’
After trailing by a goal at the first intermission, the Flyers evened the score at 12:06 of the second period on a play involving a fortuitous deflection. Stationed in the left corner, Provorov was just trying to get the puck to any orange jersey in front of the net. The entry hit Dallas defenseman John Klingberg in the leg and deflected past goalie Jake Oettinger.
A Travis Konecny turnover led to the first goal of the game. Konecny tried to pass to a teammate in the Stars’ zone but the puck was intercepted by Jason Robertson, who set Roope Hintz free on a breakaway.
Hintz broke in with speed and sent a five-hole shot past Hart with 2:14 left in the period.
Before the game, Yeo said the Flyers had their work cut out for themselves against the talented Stars.
“Every time you play against Dallas you know it’s going to be a hard game,’’ Yeo said. “I think a lot of that comes from (forward Jamie) Benn and they have a lot of talent up front and their defensemen with their ability to move the puck They play a real solid team game. You know you’re going to need a real strong team game to get the result you’re looking for.’’
>Yandle ties ironman record
When Keith Yandle stepped onto the ice about two minutes into the game, he officially tied the NHL record for consecutive games with 964. The record has been held by longtime Montreal Canadien and Hartford Whaler forward Doug Jarvis for some 35 years. Yandle is set to establish a new mark when the Flyers play the Islanders in New York on Tuesday night.
Later, Yandle received a loud ovation as he stood on the bench and was highlighted on the video board.
“I tried to keep it (his performance) as normal as possible,’’ Yandle said after the game. “I just did my same routine and worried about the game. For me, it was just go about my day. It (the ovation) wasn’t something I expected. I saw everyone standing up and it definitely meant a lot.’’
>All-Star rosters announced
Flyers captain Claude Giroux was officially listed on the Metropolitan Division roster for the NHL All-Star Game on Feb. 5 in Las Vegas. This will be Giroux’s seventh All-Star Game appearance. The only player with more appearances on this year’s rosters is Washington’s Alex Ovechkin with eight.