The volatility of the 2020-21 Flyers grew in magnitude and mystery Tuesday night at the Prudential Center.
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The Flyers lost to the Devils, 6-4, in another failed attempt at consecutive victories.
Since the start of March, in games after a victory, the Flyers have gone 1-10-0 and been outscored 58-25.
Just over five minutes into the second period of Tuesday night's game, the Flyers (22-20-7) were trailing by three goals. They tied the game twice in the third period but New Jersey responded each time. When the Flyers knotted things up at 4-4, they allowed the Devils to score 11 seconds later.
In five matchups with New Jersey, the Flyers have not held a second-intermission lead.
The Devils (15-27-7) snapped their 10-game losing streak. At the end of March, the Sabres ended their 18-game skid with a 6-1 win over the Flyers.
• Maybe it's not so mysterious. Maybe we're at the point where nobody should be surprised or bothered when the Flyers lose to a bottom-feeder.
It's truly getting to that point.
After all, the Flyers have five combined regulation losses to the Devils and Sabres, two clubs that are a combined 28-57-14. Despite going 5-3-0 against Buffalo, the Flyers were outscored by the Sabres, 24-22, in the eight-game regular-season series. The Flyers are 3-2-0 against New Jersey, outscoring them by only one goal, 18-17.
Against the Sabres and Devils, the Flyers have allowed four or more goals six times.
That's highly disconcerting.
The Flyers are who they are at this point and they need help in the offseason. Or they're going to require significant strides from a number of players, veterans and youngsters all included.
• New Jersey went 2 for 2 on the man advantage.
The Flyers gave up 38 power play goals in 69 games last season.
They've given up 39 in 49 games this season. Their 39 goals allowed on the power play are tied for the most in the NHL with New Jersey.
• Brian Elliott, who entered 6-2-1 in his last nine starts, was not sharp. He's 36 years old and has had to play a lot.
The Devils' two go-ahead goals in the third period were very stoppable. When Yegor Sharangovich put New Jersey up, 5-4, just 11 seconds after Couturier tied the game, Elliott made a mistake out of his crease.
Elliott finished with 21 saves on 26 shots. The Devils' final goal was an empty-netter.
New Jersey netminder Mackenzie Blackwood made 26 saves for the victory.
• Along with Couturier, Oskar Lindblom, Philippe Myers and Claude Giroux provided the Flyers' goals.
• Egor Zamula, who has gone from undrafted to one of the club's more touted prospects, became the fourth Flyer to make his NHL debut this month.
The 21-year-old defenseman is a graceful skater and sharp passer. He showed those qualities and did some good things, finishing with three shots and a plus-1 rating in 19-plus minutes.
Zamula is still on the thinner side. During training camp, the Flyers knew he needed time in the AHL. And there's a good chance he'll still need more development time with Lehigh Valley, but it's good to see him get a look at the NHL level in this lost season for the big club.
"He wasn't ready at that time and I don't know if he's still ready," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said before the game. "We're going to get an opportunity to see what he can do, we feel that he's got potential, we feel he's got upside. Is he going to be able to put it all together? We're going to find out. We're going to get a good look tonight against a team that has got a lot of speed, a good, hard forechecking team. We'll see how he does."
• It took until five and a half minutes into the second period for the Flyers to wake up when they fell down 3-0.
The fourth line got them on the board when Lindblom scored his eighth goal of the season. Jackson Cates recorded his first career NHL point with an assist, while Nolan Patrick recorded a helper, as well.
• The opening 20 minutes of a game have become rinse and repeat for the Flyers.
With a power play goal, Nico Hischier handed the Flyers a 1-0 deficit at first intermission. Once again, the Flyers were flat to start. They've been outscored 44-19 in the first period since the beginning of March.
For New Jersey, the advantage ended a stretch of 10 straight games it went without a first-intermission lead.
• Travis Sanheim, not a fighter by any stretch, dropped the gloves in defense of Couturier early during the second period. Couturier took a pretty good hit along the back boards from Michael McLeod.
Sure, the fight resulted in the Devils' second power play goal, but the message needed to be sent that the Flyers won't take lightly to their Selke Trophy winner getting knocked around.
• The Flyers will bus back to Newark, New Jersey, Thursday morning for the third matchup of four straight against the Devils (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
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