NEW YORK (AP)Zach Parise scored the tiebreaking goal with just over eight minutes left in the third period and Ilya Sorokin made 14 saves as the New York Islanders edged Philadelphia 4-3.
The reeling Flyers notched their franchise-record 13th straight loss. But in a bright spot, Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle broke the NHL record by playing in his 965th consecutive game.
Parise rifled the puck past Flyers goalie Martin Jones at 11:51 for his third goal of the season as the Islanders improved to 8-2-1 in their last 11 games and beat the Flyers for the eighth straight time.
”He’s getting rewarded because of his play,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. ”His play has been consistent right through. You know what you’re getting shift after shift from Zach. You’re getting max effort, you’re getting a high battle mentality … Those are great pro attributes.”
The gritty 37-year-old Parise is one of three Islanders to play all 35 games during this COVID-impacted season. Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier assisted on Parise’s winning goal.
”It feels great to contribute. Most importantly, we got the two points we needed to get to keep climbing,” Parise said. ”I take a lot of pride in playing hard every night. Hopefully we keep heating up in the near future.”
Forward Mathew Barzal put the Islanders ahead 3-2 early in the second, taking a cross-ice pass from Parise at 5:42. Nelson also assisted on Barzal’s eighth goal of the season.
”There was no panic. We played a pretty solid game,” Trotz said. ”We said ‘let’s get this done’ and we did.”
Philadelphia’s Gerry Mayhew tied the contest at 3 with his second goal of the season 90 seconds into the third period. Jones had 29 saves.
Philadelphia last won Dec. 29, a 3-2 overtime win at Seattle.
”The game was right there for us,” Flyers coach Mike Yeo said. ”We have to cut down on mistakes.”
The Islanders spotted the last-place Flyers a 2-0 lead in the first period, in which the Islanders held a 9-8 shots advantage.
Philadelphia scored 57 seconds into the contest when Claude Giroux banked the puck off the pads of Sorokin and into the net. Oscar Lindblom and Travis Sanheim assisted on Giroux’s 15th goal of the season. The Flyers made it 2-0 when defenseman Justin Braun scored his third of the season at 12:48.
Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson narrowed the deficit at 13:31 when his shot eluded Jones for his sixth goal. Dobson’s 44-year-old defense partner Zdeno Chara assisted, the third assist this season for Chara and the 462nd of his 24-year NHL career.
Chara has 46 points (17 goals and 29 assists) in 83 career games against the Flyers.
Islanders captain Anders Lee knotted the score at 18:15 when he took a saucer pass from Barzal, then notched his 11th goal of the season. Josh Bailey also assisted.
”You’ve got stick with it, settle in. We did exactly that,” Lee said of his team’s recovery from the early deficit. ”Dobber got the boys going and Barzy made a great play over to me to finish the period.”
It has been a dismal season for Philadelphia, who fired coach Alain Vigneault on Dec. 6 when they were 8-10-4 and replaced him with Yeo, who will remain coach for the rest of the campaign.
The Flyers have been decimated by injuries to key players, and their expected top quartet of centers – Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, Derick Brassard and Nate Thompson – have played only two games together all season. Both were in mid-November.
”It’s just frustrating,” Flyers forward Travis Konecny said. ”Every day is privilege to be in the NHL. You still have to work hard.”
The 35-year-old Yandle, who has also played for the Arizona Coyotes, New York Rangers and Florida Panthers, surpassed the previous record held by forward Doug Jarvis, who played 964 straight games over his entire career from Oct. 8, 1975, to Oct. 10, 1987. Yandle waved to the Islanders crowd when his accomplishment was acknowledged midway through the first period.
The Islanders are playing 10 games out of 11 games at home before the All-Star break. They are 5-2-0 in that stretch. They will next play Los Angeles, Seattle, Minnesota and Ottawa before the hiatus.
The Islanders are 13-2-2 when they score at least three goals . Under Barry Trotz, the Isles are 101-11-13 when scoring three or more times . Right wing Cal Clutterbuck is one of three Islanders to skate in all 35 games for the Islanders thus far this season along with Zach Parise and defenseman Scott Mayfield . The Islanders scratched defenseman Sebastian Aho and forwards Ross Johnston and Austin Czarnik . New York continued to be without injured defenseman Ryan Pulock who hasn’t played since Nov. 15 . The Flyers scratched defensemen Nick Seeler and Kevin Connauton plus forward Wade Allison.
Islanders: Host Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
Flyers: Host the Kings on Saturday.
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