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Flyers Free-Fall Continues

Once it became clear the Philadelphia Flyers' puzzling slump would live on, the explosion was inevitable.

Terry Yake scored the go-ahead goal early in a four-goal third period as the St. Louis Blues ran the Flyers' winless slump to a franchise-worst 12 games with a 5-2 victory Tuesday night. The Flyers finished the game without coach Roger Neilson, assessed two bench minors and ejected for tossing a stick on the ice in the third period.

"I've been ejected a few times," Neilson said. "Yeah, I've thrown a stick a few times, too. I was just throwing it, and it kind of went crooked and the linesman had to duck."

Flyers star Eric Lindros added: "It just hit a boiling point."

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  • Neilson was protesting the lack of a call after Jody Hull was yanked down by Yake following the faceoff that led to a power-play goal by Pavol Demitra that put the Blues ahead 3-1 at 6:47.

    "It was a clear-cut penalty when Jody couldn't get out to the point," Neilson said.

    Neilson was just as angry about the second of two Flyers' disallowed goals. Replays that showed Lindros' skate was on the red line outer border of the crease cost Eric Desjardins and the Flyers a chance to cut the gap to one with 1:32 to go.

    "A call like that, that's embarrassing to the league," Neilson said. "Not the call from the referee, but the fact that you call a goal back like that."

    Neilson's stick-thowing exercise didn't exactly surprise the Blues, for whom he worked as an assistant coach before taking the Flyers job last spring.

    "That's Roger," said Al MacInnis, who had three assists in the third period. "He's a very emotional guy, and he's going through obviously a tough time with that club."

    What does surprise the Blues is what has happened to the Flyers.

    "I think everybody across the league finds it hard to believe, with that lineup," MacInnis said. "When they come here, you're almost scared to death to get embarrassed."

    The Flyers were supposed to be one of the NHL's best teams as usual, and prior to their 0-8-4 tailspin had been in first place in the Eastern Conference. Now they're in sixth place, having topped the 0-9-2 slumps in 1968 and 1970-71 for the longest dry spell in franchise history.

    It was a tough game all around for Lindros, who also was sitting in the penalty box for Demitra's power-play goal and got a first-period goal called back because teammate Keith Jones was caught in the crease.

    "That about sums it up," Lindros said. "If you're not interfering with the goaltender, I don't see why you can't be in there."

    Mark Recchi and Valeri Zelepukin scored for Philadelphia, which has been outscored 45-22 during the slump. The Flyers have been shut out twice and held to one goal four times.

    Pierre Turgeon added a power-play goal and two assists in the final period. Scott Pellerin added an empty-net goal with 2.8 seconds to go.

    The Blues had appeared to be an ideal candidate for the Flyers to end their misery, considering they had been 3-10-1 in their previous 14 home games.

    They looked anything but vulnerable in the third period, winning their third in a row for only the second time all season. Yake scored on a rebound for his first goal since Feb. 15 to break a 1-1 tie at 1:27. Demitra scored on a power play at 6:47, converting a one-timer after Chris Pronger faked a shot from the point and slipped him the puck. Turgeon made it 4-1 with a deflection at 9:11, and Zelepukin scored 24 seconds later.

    Scott Young scored the game's first goal one-handed, beating John Vanbiesbrouck with a backhander while being hooked by Grant Fuhr six seconds after an interference penalty on MacInnis expired.

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