NEWARK, N.J. — This isn’t the way to march toward a playoff berth.
Playing their second game in as many nights, the Flyers allowed two late goals Thursday and suffered their third straight defeat.
Nico Hischier scored on a redirection on a line rush with 1 minute, 27 seconds left, snapping a 3-3 tie and giving the Devils a 4-3 comeback win at the Prudential Center.
The late heroics ruined goalie Alex Lyon’s first NHL start. The Flyers had been 18-0-3 when taking a lead into the third period.
Hischier, the rookie selected No. 1 in last June’s draft, converted a cross from Blake Coleman to snap a 10-game goal-less streak.
“I feel bad for Al. We kind of let him down,” defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said. “It’s about getting back on the horse. We have a lot of hockey left.”
While Lyon blamed himself for allowing Hischier’s deflection to go through his legs, defenseman Radko Gudas gave the rookie his support.
“He made some huge saves and kept us in it,” Gudas said.
Lyon said he saw the game-winning sequence develop as Coleman skated down the right side.
“I thought I was in really good position, but I just opened up a little bit and things happen fast enough in this league and you’re going to pay for that,” he said. “I learned the hard way, and I’m just going to try to learn from my mistakes and be sharper next time.”
The Devils won an extended board battle, and Pavel Zacha slid a pass from behind the goal line to a wide-open Damon Severson, who scored from the slot to tie the game at 3-3 with nine minutes left in regulation.
Scott Laughton nearly broke the tie, but Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid (22 saves) stopped his point-blank backhander with 6:16 left. Nearly three minutes later, he stopped Michael Raffl in front.
With 12:59 left in the second period, Val Filppula’s pass deflected to Gostisbehere and he fired a left-circle shot past Kinkaid for his 10th goal, giving the Flyers their first lead, 3-2.
“I saw an opportunity to jump, and I screamed … for the puck,” Gostisbehere said.
Taylor Leier, who had been a healthy scratch in the previous six games, also had an assist on the goal, his first point since Dec. 4.
The teams combined for four power-play goals, 12 penalties that totaled 36 minutes, and two fights in a wild first period that ended in a 2-2 tie.
“That’s what happens when you play a team a lot,” said captain Claude Giroux, mindful the Flyers were playing the Devils for the third time in the last 20 nights. “You get a good rivalry going.”
Giroux, whose five-on-three goal was his first tally in nine games, and Wayne Simmonds scored in the opening period for the Flyers, while Kyle Palmieri and Drew Stafford hit the back of the net for the Devils.
Simmonds scored on a rebound with 4:14 left in the first to knot the score at 2-all. He scored with Travis Zajac in the box for an extra two minutes (fighting, roughing) for his bout with Gudas.
Zajac went after Gudas because he leveled Palmieri earlier in the period as he was trying to avoid a collision with Simmonds. Gudas received two minutes for interference for that infraction, his first penalty since he returned from a 10-game suspension. It was his first infraction since Nov. 16, and he had gone 21 straight games without a penalty.
Lyon, 25, who was perfect on five shots in a brief relief stint Wednesday in Washington, made his first NHL start. The former Yale star was playing because Michal Neuvirth is fighting the after-effects of an illness and Brian Elliott is still day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
“Alex played a real solid game,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “The third [goal], we had a couple opportunities to defend it a little better in front of him.”
The Flyers’ penalty kill gave Lyon little support and he couldn’t be faulted for either of the first-period power-play goals. The Flyers have allowed four power-play goals in the last seven attempts over the last two games.
Lyon, who finished with 18 saves, got into a rhythm in the second period and made several challenging stops, enabling the Flyers to take a 3-2 lead into the third.
No matter. The Flyers would lose their third straight in regulation for the first time this season.