NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- New general manager. New coach. Same frustrating results for the Flyers.
They fell to a season-worst four games under .500 on Tuesday, as they were blanked by opportunistic Nashville, 4-0, and concluded a 1-3-1 road trip.
The trip, which got progressively worse after the Flyers blew a late lead and dropped a 2-1 decision in Florida, ended in ugly fashion: four consecutive losses, and a total of two goals scored in the last three games.
After the defeat in Nashville, interim coach Scott Gordon held a meeting with the players and dissected the defensive breakdowns that led to the Predators' goals.
The players didn’t want to talk about the meeting.
“That should stay in the locker room,” said goalie Michal Neuvirth, who played well despite allowing the four goals. “We had some bad luck. We hit four posts, and their goalie made some unbelievable saves. We have to stick together and put this behind us and keep moving forward.”
The Flyers (15-19-5) will start a three-game home stand Thursday against Carolina, followed by Calgary on Saturday and St. Louis on Monday.
“It’s frustrating right now,” center Sean Couturier said. “We have to work hard to get out of this hole.”
When Chuck Fletcher was named the general manager on Dec. 3, he said he believed the Flyers were a playoff team. They were five points out of a playoff spot, and, entering Wednesday, have fallen 12 points behind.
Despite the skid, Couturier said the players still think they have the talent to be in the playoffs.
“We do. It’s basically the same group as last year,” said Couturier, whose team totaled 98 points last season and finished third in the Metropolitan Division. “We have to start showing more will, some better efforts consistently. I don’t think we’re not working. We just have to be a little smarter and play more of a 60-minute [game] and work for the bounces.”
So, where do they go from here?
Fletcher is working the phones and trying to make a much-needed deal for a team that has grown stale and needs a reboot. Until then, the Flyers will try to regroup. Again.
They played with a renewed sense of focus and looked energized in the first handful of games after Gordon was named the interim coach, going 3-1-1.
Since then, they have reverted to the sloppy form they displayed under Dave Hakstol. Defensive breakdowns, an ineffective power play, and listless stretches have reappeared in the last three games.
Like Hakstol, Gordon has juggled his lines in the last few games. It hasn’t changed anything. The Flyers still haven’t been able to finish most of their scoring chances.
Nashville backup goalie Juuse Saros had all the answers, stopping the 32 shots he faced. In addition, the Flyers hit iron four times, including a Claude Giroux power-play shot that caromed off the crossbar.
The Flyers’ power play, which went 0 for 2 in each of the last four contests, has scored in just four of the last 24 games.
“I think if you compare power plays, you would take ours over what they [the Predators] did,” said Gordon, whose team is 3-4-1 since he replaced Hakstol. “Neither team scored, but we certainly had good possession time and moved the puck well. We had some looks, but at the end of the day, it’s not in the net again.”
Giroux said: “There’s a lot of frustration, but we’re going to keep working, and the power play is going to get back on track.”
Much has been made about the Flyers’ slow starts this season. They have allowed the first goal in 25 of 39 games.
Even more alarming: The Flyers have fallen into a 2-0 hole in 15 games -- or a staggering 38.5 percent of their contests. They have won just one of those 15 games.