The Flyers turned second-period boos to cheers during a third-period rally that cut a four-goal deficit to one Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center, but they fell short and lost their fifth consecutive game, dropping a 5-3 decision to Carolina.
Here are five observations:
Playing inspired hockey for, oh, 40 out of 60 minutes is not a recipe for success. But that’s what the Flyers did Thursday and, as a result, lost to a Carolina team that will not be confused with a Stanley Cup contender.
“We have to be consistent for 60 minutes, and we’re not right now,” said Sean Couturier, who had six shots, scored a goal, and won 73.3 percent of his faceoffs.
That’s been a common refrain most of the season. Yet the Flyers keep getting off to horrendous starts, falling behind, and chasing the game.
“It’s like quicksand right now,” winger Wayne Simmonds said. “Trying to get out and it feels like it’s getting deeper.”
A new general manager hasn’t changed things. Neither has a new coach.
This awful season is on the players and their inability to play with urgency for 60 minutes.
It’s time to bring in some new blood.
The Flyers still can’t get their power play and penalty kill to perform admirably in the same game. On a night when their power play finally was productive (2-for-5), the penalty kill, which had been very good lately, allowed two goals in four attempts.
Poor coverage led to two power-play goals in the second period, increasing Carolina’s lead to 3-0. Carolina ended an 0-for-26 power-play drought.
Left winger James van Riemsdyk said the Flyers had “higher expectations” and still believe in themselves, “but you are what your record says you are.”
The record says the Flyers (15-20-5) are arguably the worst team in the NHL.
The loss put them in a tie with Ottawa and Los Angeles for the fewest points in the league. Some fans want them to finish last and have a better chance to select center Jack Hughes, who is expected to be the top pick in the June draft.
On Twitter, #LoseForHughes has become a popular hashtag among Flyers fans.
The Flyers allowed the first goal for the 26th time in 40 games. It got worse. The deficit grew to 3-0.
“We were kind of playing on our heels,” captain Claude Giroux said. “We weren’t playing with the speed we want to play with.”
Again, it was a familiar refrain.
The Flyers have faced at least a 2-0 deficit in 16 of their 40 games. They have one win in those 16 games.
It was surprising that rookie goalie Carter Hart, 20, who had been shelled for three goals on 10 shots against Carolina on Monday, was not given a chance to redeem himself. Instead, veteran Michal Neuvirth got the start.
Play the kid and see if he belongs here or needs some more seasoning in Lehigh Valley.