PHILADELPHIA – If the Flyers are intent on saving coach Dave Hakstol’s job, they’re going to need better results than the one they produced on Tuesday night.
They gave up a 3-1 lead in the third period to the lowly Ottawa Senators and wound up losing, 4-3, at the Wells Fargo Center.
It’s not the kind of performance required to keep Hakstol behind the Flyers’ bench once a new general manager is hired to replace the fired Ron Hextall.
Jake Voracek used one of the nastiest words you can apply to a team, calling the Flyers “scared’’ in this game.
He also used the term “lack of confidence,’’ which is just about as bad.
“We’re up 3-1 in the third,’’ said Voracek, perhaps aware the Flyers entered the game 9-0-1 when leading after two periods. “We had full control of the game and we just gave it away. I don’t think that has anything to do with pressure (of saving Hakstol’s job).’’
After a so-so start, the Flyers came alive for a two-goal second period to take a 3-1 lead.
But then, after giving up three goals, the WFC boo-birds were out in full volume.
Jake Voracek and Radko Gudas supplied the fireworks in the middle frame.
Later, Ottawa’s Brady Tkachuk scored twice, the second with 6:34 to play in the third for a tie.
Matt Duchene scored the winner with 2:59 to play.
Rookie goalie Anthony Stolarz from Edison, N.J. suffered the loss.
“After that second goal, we kind of got scared,’’ Voracek said. “You can’t do that. Every single team is going to jump on it.
“I still don’t know what happened. I can’t believe we lost the game. I think it’s focus, it’s the way things are going right now. Everything we touch now doesn’t work.
“Nobody gives a damn what kind of position we are in. It looks like we got scared. We started slamming pucks everywhere instead of just holding it and making the hard play. We’re just whacking on it.’’
Before the game, Hakstol was asked about his job security after team officials said there will be no changes until a new man is picked to replace Hextall.
Hakstol shrugged and said all he can do is wait until the replacement gives an evaluation.
But it certainly would help his cause if the Flyers were to turn their fortunes around in a hurry before Mr. X gets here.
Is it fair to put Hakstol under this kind of pressure?
“Well, given the scenario we’re in, that’s a pretty reasonable process,’’ he said. “They will make a hire on a new GM and whoever that is will come in and evaluate me as a head coach and whether or not he likes what he sees. . .and if I’m the right guy to work with him.
“So, like I said, that’s a pretty reasonable scenario and sensible process to go through.’’
Voracek scored while the Senators were about to be called for a penalty. He connected from the right hash marks to end a five-game skid.
Then Gudas blasted a shot from the point that found its way through a Michael Raffl (just back from injury) screen for his first goal in 47 games.
Voracek wasn’t the only Flyer to be critical of the team’s group fragility.
“It’s a tough day,’’ Scott Laughton said. “Duchene bats one out of the air. It stinks. We’re all professionals, have to come to work, can’t worry about all that other stuff and what’s going on. You have to focus on what you can do to win. If something (Hakstol’s possible firing) happens, it happens, it’s the nature of the business, there’s nothing you can do about it.’’
Gudas added: “It’s unacceptable. We’re making soft plays on our blue line. Cost us the game. I think guys just have to perform their best every game if they want to keep playing.’’
Hakstol stopped short of calling his team’s players “scared’’ but clearly there is something missing in their game.
“There are no excuses,’’ he said. “We had a job tonight to go out and get done. There are no excuses for other things.
“I don’t know about playing scared but we didn’t have the pushback. The group has to get itself back together and have that pushback and there’s only way to do that and it’s from within that room.’’
The Flyers went without a power play for a second consecutive game without a power play, making it over 145 minutes since the last one. They have only two power plays in the last four games.