WASHINGTON — After Sunday’s 3-1 loss in Washington, Flyers right winger Jake Voracek used the c-word — choked — when describing some of the team’s critical losses in recent weeks.
The Flyers put together an 18-4-2 run to get within three points of a playoff spot before fading and losing five of their last seven games and falling out of the race.
Even during their hot streak, they lost crucial games to Montreal and Columbus, teams they are chasing for a playoff berth. In fact, they lost twice to Montreal in critical late-season matchups.
“We had a good push, but unfortunately, anytime we got close — three points, five points — and we played those big teams in front of us [in] those four-point games, we choked,” Voracek said. “We couldn’t find a way to win those big games, and that’s why we are where we are right now.”
The Flyers were seven points behind Montreal for the last wild-card spot entering Sunday night. The Canadiens are playing at Carolina.
Voracek, who reached the 20-goal mark Sunday for the sixth time in the last seven seasons, was asked what he would take out of this season.
“I don’t want to take anything out of this season, to be honest," said the veteran, who is finishing his eighth season with the Flyers. “I had way higher expectations. I think everybody did before we walked into the locker room in training camp. It’s really disappointing. We have to have a good look in the mirror and straighten some things out before we come in next year.”
The Flyers got off to a 15-22-6 start before turning around their season, but the damage had been done.
“We put ourselves in that situation. We couldn’t dig ourselves out," Voracek said after firing a team-high six shots Sunday. “There’s no one else to blame but us.”
Do the Flyers need a lot of offseason changes?
“Tough to say. It’s not my decision,” Voracek said. “I’ve got to prepare myself in the summer and come in here in shape and be a better player, more experienced. Hopefully, we won’t have to focus on digging ourselves out of a hole by December.”