Flyers Enter Bye Week With ‘unacceptable' Loss to Capitals as Slide Continues

WASHINGTON - They got blitzed.

That second wild card spot the Flyers have been clinging to for weeks now?

Forget it. It will be gone by the time they get back on the ice again, because the Flyers have a five-day bye week now.

Which might be ideal, given the 5-0 beatdown they suffered Sunday afternoon to the Capitals at Verizon Center (see Instant Replay).

"This was pretty bad," Wayne Simmonds said. "I don't know how much worse it can get. It's a combination of things but I don't think it's effort. It's execution. We have plays there and not executing as we have in the past. It's hurting us."

The mood? Frustration? Anger?

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"It's all the above," Simmonds replied "It's unacceptable. We got to refocus, reset when we get back. It's already urgency and desperation. We have that in our minds."

If you were a tad late getting back to your seat between the second and third period, you missed a smorgasbord of scoring in what was a very competitive, 1-0 game to that point.

As in four Capitals' goals in five minutes that that left the Flyers 0-7-2 in their last nine road games.

"Kinda snowball effect," Simmonds said. "Come out in the third, and everything kinda bouncing their way, it gets away from us. No excuses. We have to be better, plain and simple.

"It's unacceptable, but it's over now. We've got to refocus, reset and make sure we're ready when we come back."

Since winning 10 straight, the Flyers have gone, 3-8-3 to slip into the great abyss.

"You lose your spot in the standings pretty quickly when other teams are playing well and winning games," Michael Del Zotto said. "We keep declining."

General manager Ron Hextall was tip-lipped, but promised he would not overreact.

"You can't let a little adversity become a lot of adversity," Hextall warned about what happened in a 1-0 third when things quickly unraveled.

"When things are going wrong, all of a sudden, something happens and things tend to really go wrong. That's where we have to be better mentally. … Right now, negative energy seems like a landslide."

After Saturday's shot festival in Boston, holding the Caps to just three shots through 16 minutes was impressive. Despite five shots on two power plays, the Flyers could not score on backup Philippe Graubauer, which was disconcerting given he's not Braden Holtby.

Also concerning was that of the 13 shots that Flyers had that stanza, none came from their top line. Streit led them with three.

Claude Giroux (minus-3), whose game has vanished, didn't have a shot in the entire game. Coach Dave Hakstol has tried to get him going, changing up his line several times without any effect.

How do you get him and his line going?

"I don't know," Giroux said. "I don't know."

The Flyers had four power plays early and kept doing nothing with them. So when Washington got its second of the game in the middle stanza, those wasted chances stood out.

Del Zotto inadvertently directed a puck directly onto Andre Burakovsky's stick and he buried it on Mason.

"Broken play, it went off a guy's skate and I went to clear it," Del Zotto said. "It hopped over my stick right into his tape, coming down Broadway. An unfortunate bounce. Seems the way things are going right now."

It stayed 1-0 through two periods.

The third period onslaught began with a nifty Marcus Johansson backhand pass to Justin Williams, who beat Mason shortside. Then a bouncing puck past Ivan Provorov became a rush with Alex Ovechkin faking a shot, passing to Matt Niskanen to make it 3-0.

Two more goals and Mason departed for Neuvirth.  

"The floodgates opened," Del Zotto said.

Hakstol admitted he should have used his timeout before the game out away from him.

"First two, we played excellent road periods and didn't give up much," Hakstol said. "It got away from us in five minutes to start the third period … we didn't stop their momentum."

Mason seemed shell-shocked.

"I don't know what to tell you," he said. "A complete 180. It's not how we wanted to come out in the third. We've got to be a good third-period team. It wasn't good.

"We're struggling to find that consistency. I think everybody just has to come back from this four-day break here with a fresh mindset, fresh outlook and put this behind us. It's not very good."

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