Flyers-Capitals 10 Observations: Hey, the Bye Week Is Here – Mercifully

WASHINGTON - The bye week is here.

And, boy, do the Flyers need it.

They were beaten into oblivion at the Verizon Center on Sunday, as the Washington Capitals smacked the Flyers around and into their NHL mandated five-day break with a 5-0 decision (see Instant Replay).

Let's give you 10 observations from the game.

1. Man, the Flyers are in bad shape. The week off should be welcomed by Dave Hakstol's club, which is 3-8-3 since looking invincible over its 10-game winning streak.

2. Steve Mason completely broke - and badly - in the third period, surrendering four goals in five minutes as the Capitals turned the game into a laugher. Mason is 0-6-2 with a 4.07 goals-against average in his past eight games. His confidence has to be shot.

3. The Flyers couldn't scratch a goal across. They were 5 for their last 10 on the power play but went 0 for 5 in this one. The orange and black were outscored 11-3 over this ugly weekend.

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4. The Flyers have been brutal on the road. With this loss, they dropped to 0-6-3 in their last nine away from home, a stretch in which they've been outscored 36-12.

5. Hey, the Capitals are good. They've won nine games in a row, outscoring the opposition, 40-11, over that time. Washington is 16-2-2 in its last 20 games and has not allowed an even-strength goal since Jan. 3. The Capitals have Stanley Cup potential yet again.

6. In a contract year, Michael Del Zotto has been brutally disappointing. The third-year Flyers defenseman missed 40 straight games between the end of 2015-16 and the start of this season because of two separate injuries. Since returning, he's been a healthy scratch five times. He entered Sunday's game a minus-5 with 10 penalty minutes in his previous seven games, and things got worse. He basically whiffed on a clear attempt in the second period, leading to a wide-open look for Andre Burakovsky, who beat Mason for a 1-0 Washington lead.

7. Shayne Gostisbehere was back in the lineup after his second benching this season. It's hard to fathom the 2015-16 Calder Memorial Trophy runner-up being healthy-scratched twice through 45 games. Sure, Gostisbehere has endured his growing pains during his sophomore season, but why have others been spared of the same treatment? Has Andrew MacDonald been better than Gostisbehere? It's tough to comprehend at times.

8. Believe it or not, the Flyers came with good energy after being manhandled in Boston for a 6-3 loss. The Flyers could not afford to start sluggishly against Washington, and really, there would have been no excuse for it with the bye week up next. Despite outshooting the Capitals, 13-5, in the opening stanza, the Flyers failed to push one across. They entered the game 27th in the NHL with 26 first-period markers.

9. The Flyers even caught a break by missing the NHL's hottest goalie, Braden Holtby. Last season's Vezina Trophy winner (top goalie) is 11-2-3 with five shutouts, 1.45 goals-against average and .948 save percentage over his past 17 games. Holtby completely shut down the Flyers in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, stopping 149 of 154 shots over the six-game series. Philipp Grubauer started for the resting Holtby - and it made no difference.

10. The Flyers are barely clinging to that second wild-card spot. They hold it by one point over the Hurricanes, who have three games in hand. When the Flyers come back from the bye week, they'll be out of a playoff spot.

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