PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Kevin Hayes scored two goals, Carter Hart made 23 saves and the Philadelphia Flyers snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
Travis Sanheim also scored and Lukáš Sedlák added two assists for Philadelphia, which opened a five-game homestand by ending its third double-digit skid in less than 12 months.
“Are our problems solved? Absolutely not,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said. “You get what you deserve, and I think we deserved to win tonight’s game.”
Noah Dobson scored for the Islanders, who had won four in a row.
“They played a good game,” Dobson said. “We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be.”
The rebuilding Flyers won seven of their first 12 games under first-year coach Tortorella before the all-too-familiar slide.
Last season, the Flyers became the first team in NHL history to have a pair of 10-game losing streaks within the first 40 games of a season. They lost 10 straight from Nov. 18 to Dec. 8 before setting a franchise record with 13 consecutive defeats between Dec. 30 and Jan. 25. The first skid cost coach Alain Vigneault his job, the second one came with interim coach Mike Yeo in charge.
“It’s no fun when you’re losing every night,” Hayes said.
Tortorella has been preaching effort, energy, and hard work — and Philadelphia came out in this one looking like the Broad Street Bullies of the Flyers’ glory days when they won their only Stanley Cups in 1974 and ’75.
Philadelphia’s Zack MacEwen and the Islanders’ Matt Martin fought to a draw seven seconds into the game. One second later, the Flyers’ Nick Deslauriers and New York’s Ross Johnston dropped the gloves in another draw.
“That’s part of hockey,” Tortorella said. “We wanted a good start one way or the other.”
The physicality and hitting stayed constant throughout.
Emotions were high not only because of the Flyers’ losing streak but also due to the fact the teams were playing the second game of a home-and-home, following Saturday’s chippy 5-2 Islanders victory in New York.
Dobson gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead when he converted on a 5-on-3 power play with a slap shot 3:12 in.
Sanheim evened the score on a backhand from in close 1:25 later with a short-handed goal, and Hayes tied for the team lead with his seventh of the season to put Philadelphia ahead 2-1 by beating Ilya Sorokin on a hard wrist shot with 10:15 left in the first period.
“Sanheim’s goal is so important just to get us settled down,” Tortorella said. “I thought we were connected all night long in all three zones.”
Hayes added an empty netter with 33.2 seconds left.