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Flyers' worst loss of season — their 8th straight — brings more questions

Tortorella's club gave up a season-high nine goals

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The season's longest losing streak met the season's most embarrassing loss Tuesday night for the Flyers.

They were demolished by the Canadiens, 9-3, at Bell Centre in Montreal.

The nine goals were the most allowed by the Flyers this season and the most allowed in the John Tortorella era.

The blowout ballooned the club's season-worst skid to eight games.

It felt like all but the final nail in the Flyers' dwindling playoff hopes.

The Flyers (36-32-11) have been outscored an unsightly 42-18 in this spiral. They've fallen behind 2-0 in five of the eight losses. Half of the losses have come against teams in the bottom six of the NHL standings.

They've dropped 18 of their last 25 games (7-13-5).

The Canadiens (30-36-12) led 1:05 minutes into the game. They put up seven goals over the final 29:14 minutes of the game. All nine of their goals came at even strength.

Tortorella's club went 1-2-0 against Montreal this season. The two losses came in the last 13 days.

• For most of this season, the rebuilding Flyers steered away from the theme of the previous three seasons.

There were more positives than negatives. They avoided mind-boggling losses that made everyone question everything. They had played so well for such a large sample size that there was actual talk of the playoffs and the rebuild being expedited.

But right now, this is a collapse that resembles all too much of the Flyers that bottomed out at 81-107-32 over the last three years and created this new era of orange.

In under two and a half years, the Flyers have had the following losing streaks:

13 games — 0-10-3 from Dec. 30, 2021-Jan. 25, 2022
10 games — 0-8-2 from Nov. 18-Dec. 8, 2021
10 games — 0-7-3 from Nov. 10-26, 2022
8 games — 0-6-2 from March 24-April 9, 2024 (current)

The Flyers lost badly to the Canadiens, 9-3, Tuesday night.

• Samuel Ersson was pulled for the fourth time in his last 12 starts.

The 24-year-old rookie has appeared in 29 of the Flyers' last 35 games.

"I've played the hell out of him," Tortorella said Monday. "And he's tired."

Ersson yielded five goals on 17 shots Tuesday night and was yanked a little over midway through the game. Shots from distance with traffic in front have seemed to plague him.

Ivan Fedotov gave up four goals on 13 shots in relief. It was the 27-year-old rookie's third appearance.

The Flyers were down 6-0 heading into the third period. Ryan Poehling, Joel Farabee and Erik Johnson scored goals in the final 20 minutes.

• The Flyers entered Tuesday with a 10.5 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to's probabilities report.

Now, with three games remaining, the Flyers are two points back of the Capitals, who hold the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot. Washington has played one fewer game. The clubs meet in a week at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers are also a point back of the Penguins and Red Wings in the wild-card race. Those teams have a game in hand on the Flyers, as well.

The Flyers had held down third place in the Metropolitan Division for over two months before stumbling into this skid.

It's fair to wonder what this all means for Tortorella. Yes, the Flyers are rebuilding and had overachieved up to this point, but these blowout losses hold weight and often put a coach under the microscope.

"I guess now the narrative out there is, because I've heard from other people, 'They're young, they're not supposed to be here.' Bulls--t, we're here. We're here. Face it. And let's be better," Tortorella said a week ago. "And I don't think we're ready to be better and that's my problem with us right now. And it is my job. I have not done a good enough job to get them over the hump."

• The Flyers head to Madison Square Garden for their final road game Thursday against the Rangers (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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