Loss gives Flyers second 10-game winless streak of the season

Mike Yeo

No NHL team had put together two 10-game winless streaks in the same season since 2010-11.

Until Thursday night.

That’s when the Flyers accomplished the feat by losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-1, at the Wells Fargo Center,

That makes two 0-8-2 winless streaks in two months and it’s the kind of dubious history-making that no teams want.

The Flyers’ mysterious lack of scoring continues. They have yet to crack the three-goal mark in 11 games dating back to a 4-3 win over Ottawa on Dec. 18.

In the post-game interviews, the players and the coach were all basically asked one common question: How high is the frustration level right now and what can be done about it?

“This was a tough one tonight for us,’’ Cam Atkinson said. “We wanted to dig a little deeper, each guy. It’s definitely frustrating. Losing this many in a row is unacceptable. We just have to find a way to our way out of this. It’s not going to be pretty but we all have to dig a little deeper.’’

There are no easy answers. The Flyers continue to struugle on the power play and seem to lose momentum every time they fail,

“You just have to try to stay positive,’’ goalie Carter Hart said. “I think the last two games we definitely started to play better. We’re starting to play a more complete game; guys are buying into the system. If you stay positive it will come.’’

Columbus opened the scoring at 11:53 of the second period when Ivan Provorov attempted an ill-advised pass to Scott Laughton. The Blue Jackets intercepted and Oliver Bjorkstrand scored at 11:53 with a shot past Hart.

The Flyers, who have not won since a game at Seattle on Dec. 29, put pressure on goalie Elvis Merzlikins in the third period but couldn’t break through until Gerry Mayhew hit the net at 12:40.

Even Mayhew, a relative newcomer, senses the exasperation in the locker room.

“It’s definitely frustrating,’’ he said. “We’ve been working really hard and it’s just not going our way right now. You just have to stay positive somehow. The leadership in there is great. Once we get that first win, I think we will get on a roll.’’

Columbus made it 2-0 at 5:50 of the third when ex-Winnipeg sniper Patrik Laine beat Hart from close range.

The Flyers’ record fell to 13-19-8.

Interim head coach Mike Yeo is trying everything in the book to get this team turned around. But at the end of the day it’s a bunch of hockey players who have to play for each other.

“It (frustration level) I think is probably the highest I’ve seen at any point,’’ Yeo said. “Our job is to win and we’re not winning. There are a number of players who are taking it personally. So I can see the frustration. I didn’t see any lack of desire, lack of drive. We’re being challenged. We have to find a way to rise up to thst chsllenge and be better,’’

>Voracek honored

Jake Voracek had a pleasant return to the Wells Fargo Center. The ex-Flyer was honored with a video tribute in the first period and received a warm ovation. Also, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher presented Voracek with a crystal commemorative gift for recently playing in his 1,000th game.

>Back in action

The Flyers return to action Saturday when they visit Buffalo. . .Laughton took care of business after Columbus defenseman Gavin Bayreuther flattened Oskar Lindblom in the second period. Laughton only landed one punch but it was a beauty.

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About Wayne Fish 1801 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.