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- Canadian ice hockey player and coach
Flyers lose 5 straight for first time in the Vigneault era originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
On Black Friday, the Flyers had another bad deal in this slumping month of November.
They suffered a 6-3 loss to the Hurricanes at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers (8-7-4) have dropped five straight games, their worst losing streak of the Alain Vigneault era. They're having a nightmarish time trying to stay afloat through injuries and a tough schedule.
"That's just excuses," Claude Giroux said when asked if the injuries are starting to catch up to the Flyers. "Injuries or not, whoever is in the lineup, we need to dig in and play better."
With the Flyers already down two centers in Kevin Hayes (abdominal) and Derick Brassard (lower body), fourth-line pivot Nate Thompson was banged up toward the end of the third period. The Flyers have had Hayes for two games and top-pair defenseman Ryan Ellis (lower body) for four.
"We're obviously being challenged right now and as an organization we’re being stretched out as far as player personnel up here and with our farm team," Vigneault said. "It’s a challenging time but everyone has to be better and that starts with me. I've got to do a better job of making sure that guys perform to their level.
"When you look at our group right now, there’s a few guys in my estimation that could give us more and give us better, and that’s what we've got to do. We've got to stick together as a group. Everyone, starting with me, needs to find a way to be better and that’s what we’re going to try to do tomorrow."
The Hurricanes (15-3-1), who lost to the Flyers two weeks ago, quashed their season-worst two-game skid.
• The Flyers held three one-goal leads and relinquished all three of them.
They failed to build any momentum off of their goals and it burned them.
Carter Hart did not help the cause. He allowed a game-tying goal 23 seconds into the second period. Then, as legendary public address man Lou Nolan was announcing Rasmus Ristolainen's first goal with the Flyers, Carolina took it right back as Jesper Fast beat Hart 29 seconds later to knot the game at 3-3.
Just over four minutes after Fast's tally, Jesperi Kotkaniemi gave the Hurricanes their first lead. Carolina padded its advantage with a fourth second-period goal.
The Flyers opened the middle frame with a 2-1 lead and closed it with a 5-3 deficit.
At that point, the Flyers' chances at ending their four-game skid completely plummeted. Carolina, one of the NHL's stingiest defensive clubs, entered the afternoon 11-0-0 when it scores three or more goals. It made it 12-0-0.
Hart allowed five or more goals for the first time this season. He stopped 31 of 37 shots.
Meanwhile, the Flyers haven't scored more than three goals in a game since Oct. 27.
• The Flyers couldn't take advantage of a golden opportunity to seize control of the game in the opening three minutes.
Ivan Provorov handed the Flyers a 1-0 lead 50 seconds after puck drop. Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind'Amour challenged the ruling on the ice, claiming Sean Couturier interfered with goalie Antti Raanta.
The goal was upheld and, as a result, Carolina was charged with a delay of game penalty. The Flyers' ensuing power play was unable to generate much of anything. Later in the period, the Hurricanes drew even on a goal from Sebastian Aho, his first of two on the afternoon.
Fortunately for the Flyers, Joel Farabee jumped all over a sliver of opportunity on the penalty kill. Rather than dump the puck for a clear, the 21-year-old winger fooled Seth Jarvis with a highlight-reel move and finish.
The 2-1 edge at first intermission was short-lived in the second period.
"Funny how this game went," Vigneault said. "In the first period, we came out with a one-goal lead but I didn’t think we had played extremely well. In the second period, I thought we played a lot better but we gave up four. Sometimes that’s how the game goes."
• Since Oct. 30, the Flyers have scored 1.69 goals per game, the second fewest in the NHL over that span. They've gone 4-6-3 during that stretch.
The power play has struggled mightily. It's 5 for its last 51 after going 0 for 3 Friday.
Raanta was pretty good but had to make only 20 saves for the victory.
"I don’t think there’s any major issues," Farabee said. "I think just our schedule the last five, six games has been pretty tough; we’re playing top teams in the league, back-to-backs. It hasn’t been easy for sure.
"I thought the score tonight didn’t really tell the tale. I thought we had a lot of chances we could’ve buried. Just kind of forget about it, focus on what we can do, what we can control from here on out and go from there."
• Brassard missed his second straight game with what Vigneault called a "lower-body strain."
"We're hoping that it's going to be within a week-to-10-day situation here; no longer than that," the head coach said. "That's what we're keeping our fingers crossed for."
• The Flyers practice Saturday in Voorhees, New Jersey before visiting the Devils on Sunday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
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