Rowdy fans were decked in orange giveaway shirts and multicolored light-up bracelets, setting the perfect stage for the Flyers on Monday night.
It ended with those bracelets being thrown onto the ice and fans streaming for the exits before the final buzzer even sounded.
After sending the Wells Fargo Center into an uproar with a goal 57 seconds following puck drop, the Flyers slowly uncoiled en route to a 6-1 loss to the Capitals in Game 3 of their best-of-seven first-round playoff series in which they now trail 3-0.
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The Flyers surrendered six unanswered goals — four of which came in the third — to push their season to the brink of elimination in embarrassing fashion.
The Flyers are 1-7 all-time when falling behind 3-0 in a best-of-seven playoff series. The only comeback came in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals when the Flyers overcame the Bruins in seven games.
For the first time in franchise history, the Capitals took a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven playoff series.
After scoring one goal over the series’ first 120 minutes, the Flyers netted one 57 seconds into Game 3.
The Flyers did what they promised, getting the puck and bodies to the net as Brandon Manning ripped a shot off Michael Raffl, who corralled the loose puck and put it past Braden Holtby for the orange and black’s first lead of the series.
It was short-lived.
Marcus Johansson deflected home a power-play shot less than four minutes later to draw Washington even.
The Capitals took the lead 8:50 into the second period when Alex Ovechkin, shielded by a referee along his bench, came out of nowhere to collect the puck and lace it past Steve Mason.
Washington then poured it on with four goals in the third period — one more from Ovechkin and one apiece by Evgeny Kuznetsov, John Carlson and Jay Beagle.
Mason was not good, allowing a season-worst six goals.
After the Capitals scored on their first power play courtesy of a deflection, Ovechkin beat Mason with his quick shot. Mason was slow to react, almost as if he didn’t expect Ovechkin to fire.
Mason then struggled to glove a tough bounce, setting up an easy rebound and goal for Kuznetsov 1:58 into the final stanza.
Then the wheels came off.
Holtby was once again excellent, making 31 saves.
The Flyers’ man advantage looked its most out of sync in quite sometime.
The Flyers registered just one shot over their first three power plays of the game and finished 0 for 5. At times, it didn’t look like the Flyers had an extra man.
They’re now 0 for 13 in the series and three for their last 30, including the regular season.
The Capitals went 5 for 9 and have scored at least one power-play goal in each game of the series. Washington got another on its first man-advantage shot.
The Flyers allowed five more power-play goals as the Capitals improved to 7 for 11 on the man advantage over the last two games.
The Capitals continued doing yeoman’s work on the PK. Washington has successfully killed 67 of its last 74 opportunities.
Wow, just an incredible job by the Flyers in commemorating the late Ed Snider. Watch it here (see video).
As a scrum unfolded in the final 10 minutes of the third period, fans began throwing their bracelets onto the ice, causing a minor delay and forcing public address announcer Lou Nolan to plead fans for “class” and to stop.
Prior to the game, the Flyers called up eight players from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley (see story).
For the Flyers: Forwards R.J. Umberger and Jordan Weal, along with defenseman Evgeny Medvedev and the eight call-ups.
The same as Games 1 and 2 for the Capitals: Forwards Michael Latta and Stanislav Galiev and defensemen Taylor Chorney and Mike Weber.
Game 4 on Wednesday (7 p.m./CSN) at the Wells Fargo Center.