ELMONT, N.Y. – Just when it looked like the Flyers might have a chance to end a long streak of futility, reality set in.
Leading by a 2-1 score late in the second period of Saturday night’s game against the Islanders at UBS Arena, the Flyers gave up a tying goal, then permitted two New York goals just 22 seconds apart in the early stages of the third period.
The Flyers wound up on the short end of a 5-2 score, extending their winless streak to 10 games, an 0-7-3 skid which ties their second longest win drought in team history.
As for the franchise record, it doesn’t look so far off now at 13 games.
Brock Nelson connected from the left circle for the go-ahead goal at 2:57 of the third. Then Anthony Beauvillier scored from close range at 3:19 and it was pretty much over.
The Flyers set that 13-game record winless streak last season and also had a 10-gamer, so a lot of these players are familiar with the feeling.
It’s safe to say the Flyers’ team psyche is a bit fragile right now.
“Obviously the top guys on the team have to take the lead,’’ Tony DeAngelo said. “When there are breakdowns, you have to find a way to back each other up. I don’t think we played a bad game, you’re probably tired of hearing that.
“You want to take the positives any time you can but at some point in time the positives go out the window. We’re at 10 in a row now, we have to find a way to come out on the winning side. Close, but close isn’t good enough.’’
The line of Lukas Sedlak, Kevin Hayes and Joel Farabee was just about the only bright spot for the evening.
Sedlak figured in both of the Flyers’ goals, scoring one in the first and assisting on another in the second.
After the Islanders took a 1-0 lead at 4:33 on a goal by Adam Pelech, the Flyers struck back.
Hayes spotted Sedlak breaking to the net and threaded a well-timed lead pass. Sedlak managed to deflect it past goalie Semyon Varlamov at 15:27 to tie the score.
Sedlak figured prominently in the setup of a goal by Farabee at 9:28 of the second for a 2-1 Philadelphia lead. Hayes and Sedlak worked the entry passes and Farabee finished off the play with a shot from the left circle.
But it all came down to another third period collapse, something quite common with the Flyers these days.
“They got two quick ones and we kind of buried ourselves from there,’’ Hayes said. As for his line, “we had good puck possession pretty much most of the game. We got rewarded with two goals but it was not enough.’’
Sedlak said: “I think we forechecked well. That’s something we bring every game.’’
The Flyers got burned for two power-play goals.
“At the beginning of the year, we were actually pretty good on the penalty kill,’’ Sedlak said. “Then we got scored on a couple times. We lost a little confidence. You have to keep working on that.’’
The Islanders responded at 16:38 on a power play. With Ivan Provorov off for cross-checking, Flyers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen attempted an ill-advised clear up the middle. The puck was deflected and eventually wound up on the stick of Zach Parise for a close-range five-hole shot through the pads of Felix Sandstrom, playing in his third game in four days.
Parise scored a second goal at 11:57 of the third.
Coach John Tortorella sounded a bit frustrated by another tough loss.
But he wasn’t going to be critical of the effort.
“I thought we played two really good periods,’’ he said. “It was a few minutes in the third period (where) we lost the game. We’re just going to keep banging away at it. That’s all we can do. A lot of good things tonight, I saw confidence with the puck. Just certain situations where we lose ourselves for a few minutes and it hurt us tonight in the third. I’m proud of the way our team played.’’
>Coach preaches self-belief
Before the game, Tortorella said he believed his team had been playing better of late, even though the results haven’t been coming.
“Up until last night’s (Friday) game, I thought we had been playing better hockey than when we won our first seven games,’’ he said. “I think we need to believe in ourselves, no matter what our lineup is. It’s a beat-up lineup, I’m not going to hide from that. But we have to figure it out and feel good about ourselves and believe we belong on the ice with the teams we’re playing.’’
Provorov’s assist on the Sedlak goal was his 200th NHL point. . .The Flyers open a five-game homestand on Tuesday with a rematch game against the Islanders. “That’s huge,’’ Hayes said. “It’s not fun what’s going on right now. The only one that can get us out of it is us. We’ll get back to work and hopefully a couple home games can help that.’’