It wasn’t that the Flyers lost to the New York Rangers that was so surprising on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
It was the WAY they lost.
The Flyers played without emotion and dropped a 5-2 decision, slipping into 14th place in the 15-team Eastern Conference, seven points behind the Rangers, who sit in the eighth and final playoff spot.
The Flyers should have played each shift with desperation because their playoff lives are hanging by a thread.
Instead, they showed all the life of a department-store mannequin while losing for the seventh time in their last nine games.
In short, they played like they can’t wait for the regular season to end.
Afterward, the quotes coming from the losers’ locker room were damning. Many Flyers said they weren’t ready to play.
Again, how can that happen when so much was at stake, when the Flyers had a chance to climb within three points of a playoff spot with 16 games left?
Defenseman Kimmo Timonen said the players deserve the blame, not the head coach.
But his comments, along with those made by goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and winger Jake Voracek, strongly suggested there is a disconnection between the players and coach Peter Laviolette.
"We weren't ready to play," Voracek said.
“They were hungrier,” Timonen said of the Rangers, a team that has struggled all season.
“One team was ready to play and they want to win the game, and the other team not so much,” Bryzgalov said. “It was obvious since the puck was dropped.”
Timonen said the Flyers (13-17-2) _ who have lost 11 of the last 12 meetings with the Rangers _ need to win all four remaining games on the homestand. If they do, they will sneak back into playoff contention.
But if they play any of those games like they did on Tuesday, fans will have only one thing to look forward to: A high pick in the June draft.
Breakaways. Defenseman Andrej Meszaros was injured in the third period and appeared to be in a lot of pain as he entered the dressing room after the game…..The Flyers had 13 giveaways _ 10 more than the Rangers….Sean Couturier, Tye McGinn, Luke Schenn, Zac Rinaldo, Meszaros and Timonen were each minus-2…..Voracek and Claude Giroux each had two points but were minus-1…..Timonen led the Flyers with six shots…..The Flyers, who host the Islanders on Thursday, won just 38 percent of the faceoffs.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.