Flyers at a loss after losing third straight game to Devils

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Jordan Hall
·6 min read
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'I'm not too sure what to say' — Flyers at a loss by another loss to the Devils originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

A day after the underachieving Flyers were officially kicked out of the playoff race, Travis Konecny mentioned a motivating factor to the club having to play out the string on this stomach-turning 2020-21 season.

"You still want to get better every night and you've still got to prove yourself," Konecny said Friday. "Make sure that you're working hard to keep your spot in the NHL."

As the Flyers continue to rack up bad losses by ugly margins, one has to wonder how many more spots are changing on the club's roster come the offseason.

In front of a listed attendance of 2,683 — a limited capacity for limited standards — the Flyers lost to the Devils, 4-1, Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

With under three minutes to play in regulation, a fan in attendance shouted, "C'mon, this is embarrassing!"

Joel Farabee got the Flyers on the board moments later for the team's lone tally, giving the fans a brief reprieve before the final buzzer.

The Flyers (22-22-7) lost three straight to the Devils, who had lost 10 straight games before winning these three by a combined score of 15-8. Even more troubling: the Flyers would have lost four in a row to New Jersey if not for the crazy comeback last Sunday when the club erased a 3-1 deficit late to pick up a 4-3 shootout win.

Alain Vigneault's team now has more losses in 51 games than it did all of last season through 69 games. In 2019-20, the Flyers finished 41-21-7 and came a win away from the Eastern Conference Final.

"One thing that I'm 100 percent sure is that their hearts are in it," Vigneault said Friday. "They want to do well, they're trying hard. I'm not going to get into specifics. Some guys for different reasons haven't been able to get their game to where it needs to be. I have an idea of the reason behind it; I'm not willing to share that at this time. At the end of the year, we'll talk and I'll answer your questions. At this time, I want this group to be focused on what's coming up here."

The Flyers have five games remaining and are 3-4-0 against the Devils (17-27-7).

"You can use a bunch of words — you can use frustration, you can use pride, you can use whatever," Vigneault said postgame. "I think for the most part, our guys are trying to do the right things and I’m trying to put them in a situation where they can be the most successful on the ice.

"Right now, obviously, we're not a team that, especially offensively, is executing real well. We've got five more games, one here coming up Monday, that’s our next game and we have to try to execute and play the right way."

• Frustration is boiling for the Flyers, who sound like they're running out of answers at this point. They've suffered the same type of losses. They're legitimately just as perplexed and agitated by how the 2020-21 season has transpired as everyone else.

"To be honest, I'm not too sure what to say here," Claude Giroux said postgame.

• With the Flyers aiming for a positive start to the second period, defensemen Travis Sanheim and Shayne Gostisbehere inexcusably allowed Yegor Sharangovich and Jack Hughes to get behind them for a long outlet pass. As a result, New Jersey went to work in the offensive zone and scored 52 seconds into the middle frame to grab a 2-0 lead.

It was a crushing goal by Janne Kuokkanen given the timing, score and the fact that it was completely preventable if the Flyers cover their assignment.

The Gostisbehere-Sanheim defensive pair was broken up not long after that sequence. Gostisbehere played with Robert Hagg the rest of the game, while Philippe Myers joined Sanheim.

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• After being scratched for the first time in his Flyers career, Kevin Hayes centered Farabee and Konecny.

Hayes finished with three shots in 15:28 minutes.

Wade Allison, Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov led the Flyers with four shots apiece.

• Another first period, another 1-0 deficit for the Flyers.

Brian Elliott allowed a stoppable shot from Jesper Bratt to beat him five minutes into the game.

Since the start of March, the Flyers have trailed first in 24 of their 33 games. Overall, the Flyers have gone 11-18-4 since March and been outscored 47-19 in the first period. They were outscored 5-1 during the first period in these four consecutive games against the Devils.

Every game is a clean slate but the starts never get better. Further proof the Flyers need serious reworking in the offseason.

• The 36-year-old Elliott might be feeling fatigued at this point of the season. He might be losing his patience, as well. The Flyers have had to depend on him a lot and haven't helped him a ton, either.

Elliott really struggled, though, on Saturday. He made 17 saves on 21 shots.

The third goal he allowed was the bow on another bad and befuddling game for the Flyers as a team. Nico Hischier scored a shorthanded marker just over five minutes into the third period to crush any life the Flyers had left.

New Jersey goalie Mackenzie Blackwood improved to 6-0-2 lifetime against the Flyers and took three of the four matchups over the set.

• On the prospect front, Cam York (lower-body injury) missed his second straight game down at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. According to a source, York's injury is not serious. The 20-year-old defenseman has four games under his belt with the Phantoms. Time will tell if the Flyers can get him a game at the NHL level before the offseason (see story).

• To wrap the eight-game regular-season series between the rival clubs, the Flyers host the Penguins for a back-to-back set over Monday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

The Flyers are 4-2-0 against first-place Pittsburgh, which is vying to win the East Division.

"Obviously it doesn’t matter who we play, we need to show up as a team here," Giroux said.

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