The November portion of the Flyers’ schedule is over.
They didn’t play as poorly as their 2-5-6 November record indicates, but they didn’t remind folks of the Clarke-era Flyers, either.
And in their last nine games, all losses, they were horrendous at crunch time, getting outscored by a 14-2 margin after the second period.
“This falls on all of us,” general manager Ron Hextall said after Tuesday’s uninspiring 3-1 loss to San Jose at the sparsely filled Wells Fargo Center. “Nobody’s jumping off any ship here. We’re in it together. Right now, it’s hard to find a positive. I think one of the impressive things is that this group hasn’t started pointing fingers at each other. That’s a sign of strong character. It’s a sign we’re going to come out of this.”
In Tuesday’s loss, the Flyers managed one shot in the first 17-plus minutes of the third period.
“When you’re down two and get one shot [for most of] the third, it’s pretty sad to see,” defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said. “We’ve got to refocus.”
Yes, they were tired from playing their fifth game in eight nights, and they were frustrated from blowing a two-goal, third-period lead and losing in Pittsburgh in overtime, 5-4, the previous night.
“I think it carried over,” goalie Michal Neuvirth said after the latest defeat.
But there’s no excuse for the late meltdowns in the previous eight games.
And, so, it wasn’t surprising that captain Claude Giroux called a closed-door meeting after the loss to San Jose, a team the Flyers had defeated on opening night.
“We just had to address a few things,” winger Travis Konecny said. “It was just a matter of making sure we’re all on the same page.”
The Flyers, bottom-feeders in the Metropolitan Division, are pressing and not playing with confidence.
“Guys are trying a little bit too hard, trying to do a little bit too much,” defenseman Andrew MacDonald said. “There are times when our coverage isn’t good. Maybe just trying to do someone else’s job. That’s how things break down. It’s certainly not because guys don’t care. Everyone cares.”
“When things aren’t going your way, it’s tough to play relaxed and trust what you’re doing,” center Val Filppula said.
The Flyers, who will host Boston on Saturday afternoon, have lost eight of their last nine home games. Fans were chanting for coach Dave Hakstol to be fired during Tuesday’s loss.
Gostisbehere blamed the players.
“We know it’s us,” he said of the team’s longest skid since 2008. “He doesn’t play the game. It’s us. I feel sorry [for him]. We’re the ones out there playing the game. We’re the ones putting the effort in, and it’s not good enough.”
Hakstol used a heavy lineup again San Jose, which has one of the league’s biggest teams. Hence, he played veteran wingers Dale Weise and Jori Lehtera. You can argue, however, that the best way to counteract a big team is with speed. Yet Taylor Leier and Jordan Weal watched from the press box.
Weise played 12 minutes, 41 seconds and had more minutes than rookies Danick Martel (8:49) and Nolan Patrick (11:54).
Weal hasn’t looked the same since he took a hit to the head from Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien a couple of weeks ago. Maybe he’s been benched the last two games because the Flyers want to get him healthy. But the Flyers aren’t forthcoming about reporting injuries, so their motive is hard to tell.
The Flyers need a healthy Weal (two goals in 20 games) and need him to resemble the player who had eight goals in the last 19 games last season.
Martel was loaned to the Phantoms, who have two games before the Flyers face Boston on Saturday. … Robert Hagg’s nine hits Tuesday were the most for a Flyers rookie since the NHL began tracking the stat in 1997. Entering Wednesday, Hagg led NHL rookies in hits and blocked shots, and was tied for No. 1 with a plus-11 rating. … The Flyers had an off day and didn’t practice Wednesday. They will practice Thursday in Voorhees. “There’s no magic formula,” Hakstol said. “You go back to work. You believe in the guy that’s next to you. … This is the time you show your mental toughness.” … Hextall, when asked about the possibility of recalling 6-foot-7, 227-pound Samuel Morin from the Phantoms, said the defense is already very inexperienced. “And to say right now we need to get younger on defense, I’m not sure that’s a solution,” he said.