Call it the post-Olympic break blues.
The Flyers were playing their best hockey of the season before the Olympic break, registering four straight victories thanks to home-and-home sweeps of New Jersey and Montreal.
Since the break ended, the Flyers are 3-2-1, including Thursday’s listless 5-1 loss to the visiting Boston Bruins.
You have to go back to a 6-1 defeat in Pittsburgh on Dec. 15 to find a more lopsided loss for the Flyers.
Eighth-seeded Boston, which took a league-low 160 goals into the game, moved to within two points of the sixth-seeded Flyers in the East. The Flyers have the same amount of points (74) as Montreal, though the Canadiens have played three more games.
“I think we all need to be better. From me all the way down,” defenseman Chris Pronger said. “It was a very big game. They were four points behind us. There was a chance for us to distance ourselves from them, and for whatever reason, (we) didn’t come up with a very good effort at all.”
Pronger said the Flyers ‘teased” themselves with les-than-stellar efforts in recent wins over Toronto and the Islanders, two of the league’s lightweights.
“If you’re not playing to the best of your abilities each and every night, there’s a good chance at some point it’s going to start biting you,” Pronger said. “We went through it in December and struggled. We need to nip this in the bud early here and make sure we’re not falling into the same trap.”
Winger Ian Laperriere agreed.
“We should be desperate, and we have 17 (actually, 16) games to go, and we should be preparing for the real season, playing 60-minute hockey as a team,” Laperriere said. “We haven’t been doing that for a while. We got away with our talent, and with Tampa Bay we took over in the third period because we have talented players and we scored on the power play. But you just can’t do that. We need to play a good 60-minute game.”
They’ll get a chance to do that Saturday in a matinee that will serve as a measuring stick of sorts. The Flyers play host to powerful Chicago that afternoon.
Winger Dan Carcillo got a two-minute roughing penalty and 10-minute misconduct with 7:40 left. Carcillo tried to get away from the linesman to get at Boston’s Matt Hunwick.
GM Paul Holmgren said he did not expect Carcillo to get suspended.
Laperriere and Darroll Powe had six hits each for the Flyers….Pronger blocked four shots….The line of Richards, Simon Gagne and Carcillo was a combined minus-8.