Flyers lay a huge egg with loss to Devils, can only hope it doesn't haunt them in NHL playoff race



This one might haunt the Flyers.

They can only hope they got it out of their system before it’s too late.

Fighting a deep and busy playoff race in which every game counts, the Flyers fell flat on their face for a troubling 5-0 loss Thursday night to the Devils at the Wells Fargo Center.

After going 7-2-1 in their previous 10 games, the Flyers (29-18-7) suffered a brutal clunker against the fourth-worst team in the NHL. They came into the game clinging to the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot by two points (see standings).

The Flyers have five regulation losses to the NHL's bottom eight clubs. Meanwhile, they’re 5-1-2 against the Bruins, Capitals, Blues and Penguins, the league’s top four teams entering Thursday’s action.

Seen this movie before?

Before coming to Philly, the Devils (19-24-10) had lost nine of their last 12 games.

• The Flyers had a terrible start and it snowballed into a mess.

They lacked structure and discipline from the onset, allowing a goal 13 seconds into the game.

New Jersey was allowing the NHL’s second-most goals per game at 3.54 but found a way to blank the Flyers, who were shut out for only the second time.

Just an ugly, ill-timed loss for the Flyers, who now have seven straight games against the NHL’s top 13 teams.

• Jakub Voracek missed a huge opportunity on a delayed penalty when he tried slamming home a puck on the doorstep with an empty net. He clanged it off the post and the Flyers ended up not scoring on the power play as they were trailing 2-0 in the middle period.

It was that kind of night. The Flyers weren’t good and hurt themselves to compound the problem.

The Flyers' power play was a disaster, going 0 for 4. It had six shots, while the Devils' penalty kill had four shots. 

• Brian Elliott was hung out to dry by the Flyers, who gave up numerous shorthanded scoring chances, one of which resulted in a goal that handed New Jersey a 3-0 lead only 1:10 into the third period.

The wheels then completely fell off when Miles Wood scored a breakaway goal just over three minutes later, sending Elliott to the showers after four goals on 17 shots.

Elliott was 4-0-1 with a 1.58 goals-against average in Carter Hart’s absence before this nightmare.

Hart could be in line to return Saturday from an abdominal strain injury.

• Since his rookie year as a 19-year-old in 2016-17, Ivan Provorov has not missed a game as he played his 300th consecutive contest Thursday night.

Over that span, Provorov has led the Flyers in ice time with just under 24 minutes per game.

“I grew up playing a lot at home,” Provorov said after morning skate. “When I was in Wilkes-Barre, we had five [defensemen] all year. I played a lot my rookie season in the USHL, and the same thing when I got to Brandon [in the WHL]. Kind of my whole life I’ve played a lot. … It’s what I love doing.”

Only one NHL defenseman has ever played more games in succession with the same team to start their career — Dan Girardi at 330 for the Rangers from 2007 to 2011.

• Here’s the latest on 21-year-old center Nolan Patrick, who took part in morning skate Thursday (see story). Patrick has not played this season because of a migraine disorder.

• The Flyers had a few lineup changes (see story).

• Former Flyer Wayne Simmonds was back in the house. The 31-year-old power forward is on a one-year, $5 million deal with the Devils.

• The Flyers practice Friday at noon in Voorhees, New Jersey, before traveling to Washington, D.C., to take on the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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