BOSTON – You can argue all you want about an absurd five-minute major as a game-changer, yet the bottom line to Saturday's numbing 6-3 loss to the Bruins at TD Garden is team defense.
That means the forwards on the backcheck, the defense behind them and timely saves from the goalies, too.
All of that was missing. That's why the Flyers were blown out.
"We need to clean our game up," said general manager Ron Hextall. "We got some good players who aren't playing the way they can play. They need to turn it around. We need to be better."
Boston scored four goals on Michal Neuvirth off just 14 shots in the second period. The six goals against gives the Flyers 143 goals against – most in the NHL. They are also 0-6-2 in their last eight road games.
"We need to be better on the road, we need to start better," Hextall said. "We need to play a smarter game. There's times when we get the big breakdown and it ends up in our net."
In this one, the Flyers gave up a shorthanded goal, two power play goals, and a terrible goal off the rush to hand the game over.
"We got to shore it up," said coach Dave Hakstol "Three areas are obvious. Spending too much time killing penalties. Turning pucks over in succession at a critical time in the game to pass on momentum.
"And then mistakes we are making this time of year, especially, on the rush coverage where it's been the last two or three games. Those are areas that get you in trouble …"
Ironically, you couldn't have asked for a better start. The Flyers actually scored first, somewhat of a rarity for this bunch.
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare redirected Ivan Provorov's shot off the post and past Tuukka Rask.
"Good start and then we fell apart afterwards – no excuses," Wayne Simmonds said.
Turnovers have been the Flyers' bane. Weise's bouncing pass to Sean Couturier eluded him at the point during a power play. Brad Marchand turned it into his 15th shorthanded goal over the past five years to make it a 1-1 game.
That's eight shorthanded goals against by the Flyers – worst in the NHL.
Boston then scored twice more in the opening six minutes of the second period to make it 3-1. First David Krejci roofed a wrister from the circle under the crossbar on Michal Neuvirth, then Torey Krug beat the defense off the rush for a tip-in, from Marchand, who had a five-point game.
"Too many penalties, after that first goal I gave which I gotta have but a tough game, in general," Neuvirth said. "They threw so many pucks  at the net and they are so good as screening and tipping. I don't know how many goal they scored by tips."
Brayden Schenn, who only scores on the power play, nailed his lead-leading 11th power play goal to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Then Jakub Voracek was hit with a five-minute major for boarding Kevin Miller in a play where he turned his body to avoid the hit, going butt cheek-to-butt cheek with Miller stumbling on his own.
A terrible call. It turned the tide dramatically as Patrice Bergeron's shot from the circle off Andrew MacDonald's stick regained the two-goal lead. The Flyers were within 24 seconds of killing it off, too.
"I didn't want to smash him into the boards," Voracek said. "I felt we were in the same lane and would collide to battle for a puck. I got him a little bit. An unfortunate play.
"I don't think it's a suspendable play … I tried to go butt-to-butt with him then battle … It changed the momentum. We had scored that second goal."
Even he admitted though, what followed was worse.
"It's a tough break, but we gave up six goals," Voracek said. "It's hard to win on the road when you give up six goals."
Zdeno Chara finished them off with a goal near period's end to make it 5-2.
"We've got to look in the mirror … we have given up way to many goals," Simmonds said. "Way too many. We got to lock it down."
Since winning 10 straight, the Flyers have fallen to 3-7-3.
"It's extremely frustrating," Simmonds said. "We got everyone in the dressing room and we got to support one another and come out of this together."