PHILADELPHIA – Someone should disable the snooze button on the Flyers’ alarm clock.
They’re late getting to work and the boss, Alain Vigneault, isn’t too happy about it.
In the last three games alone, the Flyers have been on an extended sleepwalk in the first period or so.
They did manage a rather miraculous comeback after falling behind 4-2 to the lowly Sabres on Tuesday night.
But that sort of groggy effort doesn’t work against the Washington Capitals, as they found out in losses on Sunday night and again on Thursday night, the latter by a 5-3 margin at the Wells Fargo Center.
Once again, the Flyers looked hung over in a disaster of a first period, committing by unofficial count seven turnovers, two of them leading to goals and a 3-1 deficit.
That margin would expand to 4-1 before the Flyers woke up and scored a pair of goals in the third to draw within one before an empty-netter sent about 3,000 fans home unhappy.
Vigneault tried to put some of the blame on himself but ultimately the players play the game and there’s not much you can do when No. 1 defenseman Ivan Provorov turns the puck over to superstar Alex Ovechkin just 8:37 into the proceedings for the opening goal of the game.
“There’s no doubt we have to be better and that’s on me,’’ Vigneault said in a media Zoom call after the game. “My job is to prepare the team, to make sure they know what to expect. We went through the different phases. I’m going to have to do a better job.
“At the end of the day, though, the players have a responsibility to get themselves ready to execute.’’
As for the sleepy look, Vigneault was more worried about Xs and Os.
“I was more concerned with our execution than our energy,’’ Vigneault said. “They’re a team that can put hard pressure, they play a real tight game. They make the lines real hard, they play man on man.
“Unfortunately in their end, we made some costly mistakes that led to rush opportunities that they were able to put in the back of our net.’’
Boston beat the Rangers on Thursday night, so the Flyers slipped three points out of a playoff spot, the largest deficit this season.
“We had a push in the third,’’ Vigneault said, mindful of goals by Provorov and Scott Laughton, “but it was obviously too late.’’
The Flyers do get another shot on home ice against the Capitals on Saturday night and it goes without saying a third straight loss to Washington at the WFC would be a real blow to the ego, not to mention in the standings.
>Konecny addresses turnover problem
Travis Konecny did give the Flyers a brief tie in the first period but he, like a number of his teammates, played a bit fast and easy with the puck.
“There were definitely a lot of turnovers (13 for the Flyers for the game),’’ Konecny said. “Me being definitely guilty of a few of those, just not making the right plays. That kind of kills momentum when you don’t get it in deep on their ‘D’. It kind of frees them up to go the other way.’’
>Do Flyers need to worry about standings already?
The Flyers have been sliding in the standings and in a short season, it’s not a good idea to get too far out of the playoff picture.
“I think we’re just going to look at us, not pay attention not who is in front of us,’’ Konecny said. “All that matters is us, it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. We have to focus on getting better as a team.’’
>Power play clicks
One of the few bright spots for the Flyers was their ability to get a pair of goals on the power play (Konecny, Provorov). It marks only the second time in the past 17 games they have scored multiple power-play goals.
>Comebacks nice, but not long-term solution
Laughton said coming back late in a game can be inspirational but not a recipe for consistent success.
“It’s tough coming back in this league,’’ he said. “When you are down 4-1, it’s tough to come back, especially in the third. When you’re pushing the game (and opening up defensively) it’s tough to come back.
“The good thing is we have these guys coming up (Saturday). . .they’ve come into our building and taken four points so we have to be prepared and make it harder on them.’’