At 13 minutes, 35 seconds of the second period Thursday night, the brand-new Wells Fargo Cemter sound system blasted out "I Want To Be Sedated,’’ the Ramones song from the late ‘70s. Children bounced to their feet and danced, and older fans stepped back in time too.
Then play resumed and everyone returned to their normal activity.
They slumped in their seats.
Truth is, being sedated is the last thing these people need. Their minds are already numbed from what has happened with their hockey team over the first 40 games of this once-promising season, a season that has devolved so badly that the 5-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes -- which involved a near comeback from a four-goal hole -- instead dropped them into a tie with Ottawa and Los Angeles as the NHL’s worst team.
``It’s like quicksand right now,'' said Wayne Simmonds. ``Trying to get out and it feels like it’s just getting deeper.''
``Obviously we expected much better,'' said James van Riemsdyk, the key free agent added this summer. ``...But you are what your record says you are.''
The first period, in which the Hurricanes outshot the Flyers, 13-8, was notable not just for missed chances, but for made ones that didn’t count. Radko Gudas bounced one off the glass into the net on a delayed offsides, Jordan Weal made a nifty move past an indifferent Petr Mrazek after Simmonds was whistled for interference. Otherwise, despite 21 shots between the teams, the building sounded like an exam was taking place.
It’s an appropriate metaphor, at least for the home team, which slipped below St. Louis after the Blues upended Washington Thursday night. The Flyers haven’t officially announced they are focusing beyond this season, but it was notable that rookie Oskar Lindblom was bumped up to play with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier, dropping Travis Konecny down to the fourth line.
That gambit, like all the others, exploded like a trick cigar in the second period, as Dougie Hamilton walked in from the right point and fired a puck over the glove shoulder of Michal Neuvirth at 1:56 -- with Couturier seemingly frozen at the side of the net. It broke a string of 26 consecutive unsuccessful power plays for Carolina. It also broke a 21-game goalless streak for Hamilton.
Moments later, with Mrazek familiarly sprawled out of position, Wayne Simmonds couldn’t get good wood to push a rebound past the goalie, then compounded things with a tripping penalty behind the net.
Justin Williams, the former Flyer, converted on the power play, firing a wrist shot inside the left post at 3:04 of the second period for a 2-0 Hurricanes lead.
Teuvo Teravainen’s power play goal, his ninth of the season, pushed that lead to 3-0 at 17:20 of the second period. It came after a scrum behind the Flyers net resulted in Robert Hagg’s receiving an extra two minutes for roughing.
Warren Foegele pushed the Hurricanes lead to 4-0 at 5:01 of the third.
The Flyers woke up right after that, finally breaking through on their fourth power play of the night. Simmonds finished off a pretty cross-slot pass from Jake Voracek at 6:17, and 66 seconds later Sean Couturier made it 4-2 when he redirected Giroux’s pass just under the crossbar.
Van Riemsdyk triggered the loudest ovation of the night when he pulled a rebound around Mrazek at 10:58 of the third to make it 4-3. It was another power-play goal, a hopeful development for a team that has struggled mightily with that all season. The Flyers are now 11-for-98 since Oct.13, and 5-for-50 in their last 20 games.
But Teravainen’s second goal at 15:13 -- which trickled through Neuvirth’s pads and just across the goal line -- numbed the crowd again.
``It’s the same thing we’ve been saying,'' said Couturier. ``We’ve got to be consistent for 60 minutes and we’re not right now...''
Really, for most of the season.
``Everyone needs to be ready every shift, be ready, do your job. Take care of details and the game is going to come at you. Sometimes you try to overthink the game and force things and that’s when it gets tough. You just have to do your job, be simple and the bounces will come.''
Just two weeks ago, before the holiday break, those bounces appeared to have arrived. The Flyers had won two straight games before losing a tightly played contest to Columbus. They rebounded the following day with a victory over the Rangers, but now have lost five in a row.
And with it, any hint of momentum.