Flyers hope to avoid franchise first: 10-game losing skid

National Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers aim to avoid setting a franchise record for consecutive losses in one season when they visit the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday in Newark, N.J.

The Flyers lost their ninth straight game (0-7-2) following a 7-5 setback to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night. That decision came hours after they fired head coach Alain Vigneault and assistant coach Michel Therrien.

“The big thing for me is, obviously, I really wanted to win the game,” said Mike Yeo, who was named interim coach. “But I also didn’t think that we were just going to come here, snap our fingers, and everything was going to be right and great for us.”

It was far from great. In fact, it was a familiar refrain for the free-falling Flyers, who surrendered 50 shots on Monday, giving up seven goals for the second straight contest. Philadelphia has been outscored by a 44-18 margin during its losing skid, a stretch that includes a 5-2 setback in New Jersey on Nov. 28.

Captain Claude Giroux was saddled with a minus-4 rating in that encounter against the Devils. He fared better on Monday night, scoring twice to pull even with offseason acquisition Cam Atkinson for the team lead in goals (nine).

A 10th straight loss would set a dubious mark — the Flyers previously lost nine in a row from Dec. 8, 2006, to Dec. 27, 2006.

Like Philadelphia, New Jersey is mired in a winless stretch. The Devils dropped their fourth in a row (0-3-1) following a 3-2 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators on Monday.

“We have to focus on what’s ahead of us. We have to take the point,” New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said. “Disappointed it’s only one point, but again, if you look at zone time, you look at some of the work we did. … I thought we got better at trying to get dirty pucks coming off the walls, getting some bad angle shots and getting people there. And sometimes you get rewarded with bounces, and we had a couple near misses off of those. We just didn’t take advantage.”

Nathan Bastian celebrated his 24th birthday by scoring a goal on Monday. He also tallied in the victory over the Flyers.

Defenseman Damon Severson scored a goal in his second consecutive outing for the Devils, who will play the second contest of a three-game homestand on Wednesday.

“We can string together a couple games where we can get some wins, especially at home,” Severson said. “Have a good week, have ourselves feeling good.”

Mackenzie Blackwood likely will be back in net to face the Flyers, and for good reason. He made 23 saves in last month’s encounter to improve to 7-0-2 with a 2.30 goals-against average and .928 save percentage in his career versus Philadelphia.

Carter Hart likely will be in net for the Flyers. He is 3-2-0 with a 2.20 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in five career meetings with the Devils.

–Field Level Media

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