Flyers' Winning Streak a Distant Memory as Playoff, Division Races Tighten

VOORHEES, N.J. – When they won their 10th consecutive game on Dec. 14 at Colorado, the Flyers were tied for second place in the Metropolitan Division with the New York Rangers, who visit Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday.
Back then, Dave Hakstol's club had a one-point lead over Columbus and two-point edge on Washington.
The Carolina Hurricanes were a very distant memory – 11 points behind them.
Since then, the Flyers have fallen into an abyss, going 1-4-2. Columbus has won 15 straight to catapult the entire division, and is now 11 points ahead of the Flyers, who have played 39 games, tied with the Rangers for most in the division.
Washington? The Caps are now fourth, four points ahead of the Flyers. Plus, they have three games in hand to pad that margin.
Carolina? The Hurricanes are suddenly six points behind the Flyers but have three games in hand and could conceivably tie them on that alone.
So much has changed during the Flyers' current tailspin. None of it is of a positive nature, which makes the final seven divisional games this month rather crucial.
Right now, the Flyers are fifth in the Metro, sixth overall in the Eastern Conference, and have somehow retained that second wild with a three-point lead on the Tampa Bay Lightning, who happen to visit the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.
"We realize that," Brayden Schenn said of the divisional shift. "We still have a half-season of hockey left. A lot of division games [22] left to play. The past [seven] games haven't gone the way we wanted to.
"I feel like the last game, we got a point out of it, played some good hockey and hope it's a step in the right direction."
The immediate threat for the Flyers emanates from clubs behind them. The gap has narrowed with two teams already moving past them.
"I don't think anyone looked at the standings until they put them up today," Shayne Gostisbehere said. "There's [43] games left still. We have a lot of hockey. We're worried more about ourselves right now.
"You don't want too hard of a free fall. You're going to lose games. It's gonna happen. But we're looking to stop the bleeding. We've had some unfortunate bounces not go our way. We can take a lot of positives from the road trip and put it into the next game."
The biggest positive is that the Flyers played a solid, two-way at Anaheim with a season-high 55 shots on net. Remarkably, they lost 4-3 in a shootout in a game they clearly deserved to win.
That's a major positive to build upon.
"We would have gotten six or seven goals a month ago and we got three," Jakub Voracek said, referring to the goal ratio the Flyers could have expected with 55 shots. "Sometimes, you get those bounces and sometimes you don't.
"You just keep pushing. We played one of the best all season long and got a point out of it. We got to build on it against a tough team in our building, which is a positive sign."
Here's another: as much as Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers have dominated the Flyers in recent years, the log shows both teams are 2-2-2 against each other over the past six games, and nearly all decided by one goal.
"We seem to have more aggressiveness and assertiveness when we play them," said Michael Del Zotto, a former Ranger.
"It's a huge rivalry that went for years. Hopefully, we will have that same energy and mindset tomorrow."

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