Flyers leave fans with 1-3-0 homestand; will they find results in New York?


The Flyers have some serious work to do next week in New York.

They did damage to themselves this week in their own building, a rocky week that ended with a thud: a 5-4 loss Saturday night to the Capitals.

The Flyers played from behind almost all week. On Saturday night, they were trailing by three goals and made things interesting in the final seven minutes of regulation with markers from Shayne Gostisbehere (power play) and Claude Giroux (6-on-5).

The Flyers have held a lead at an intermission only once in their last seven games, a stretch in which they've gone 2-5-0. Too much catchup for the Flyers, who have noted how difficult it is to come back in this league.

Twenty-five games into this 56-game regular season, the Flyers (13-9-3) are on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. They do have three games in hand on the Islanders and two in hand on the Capitals and Penguins, but five regulation losses in the last seven games has caused the Flyers to slide. They had only four regulation losses over their first 18 games. They're currently three points behind the Bruins, who hold the fourth and final playoff spot in the realigned East Division.

The Flyers had a better 25-game start last season in Year 1 under head coach Alain Vigneault. They were 13-7-5 for 31 points and had allowed 2.76 goals per game. Through 25 games this season, the Flyers have 29 points and are surrendering 3.24 goals per game.

With the long-awaited return of fans to the stands, the Flyers went 1-3-0 over their four-game homestand and yielded 4.25 goals per game. The club is 7-5-2 at the Wells Fargo Center after going an NHL-best 25-6-4 on home ice last season.

The Capitals (17-6-4) handed the Flyers all three losses on the homestand and outscored them 13-8.

"Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us right now because we’re going through a tough time," Vigneault said. "We all have to battle together and continue to strive to get our game better. I do like a lot of parts of our game at this moment, I do think we’re trending in the right way. Results-wise, maybe not, but as far as playing the game the way it should permit you to win, I do think we’re trending in the right direction."

• With Vigneault wanting to get the struggling Carter Hart "a couple more days" of non-game work, Brian Elliott appeared in his fifth game over the last 10 days. The veteran has been exceptionally reliable but the Flyers have to watch his workload; he turns 36 years old in April.

Elliott was pulled Saturday night in the second period after allowing his third goal on 10 shots. It came off the stick of third-pair defenseman Nick Jensen, who entered with seven career goals.

The Flyers fell behind 2-0 in the first period and have been outscored 7-2 in the opening stanza over the last three games.

Washington's first goal was a tough one to stomach for Elliott, who failed to corral his rebound and then had the puck popped up over his shoulder.

The Capitals' second goal was on another rebound. Nicolas Aube-Kubel appeared to be late onto the ice for his shift as Washington forced the four-man Flyers into a miscue and Carl Hagelin finished in front.

Another costly poor start.

Hart converted 11 saves on 13 shots in relief. Alex Ovechkin got him on the power play and Nic Dowd deflected a shot that barely squeaked through Hart for the Capitals' fifth goal.

Washington goalie Ilya Samsonov won all three games in Philadelphia with 94 saves on 102 shots.

• Ovechkin's 716th career goal was a big one in this game. Climbing the NHL's all-time goals list, Ovechkin quelled the Flyers' momentum in the second period by inflating the Capitals' lead back to two.

After the Flyers held him to without a point in five games last season (including the round-robin contest), Ovechkin has gotten back to business. He has seven points (five goals, two assists) in four matchups with the Flyers this season.

• Nolan Patrick must've felt like the weight of the world came off his shoulders when he trimmed the Flyers' deficit to 3-2 with a second-period goal. It was the 22-year-old center's first marker and point in the last 18 games.

Unfortunately for Patrick and the Flyers, Ovechkin got it back fewer than eight minutes later.

• Travis Sanheim and Jakub Voracek had two assists apiece. James van Riemsdyk, who scored the Flyers' first goal, leads the club in goals (12) and points (28).

• The Flyers rocked the St. Patrick's Day sweaters in warmups.

• The Flyers head on a four-game New York road trip. They play the Rangers on Monday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN), followed by matchups with the Islanders on Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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