PHILADELPHIA – That’s not exactly the way the Flyers wanted to cap the Mark Recchi/Flyers Hall of Fame induction weekend.
After a stirring Flyers-Bruins Alumni Game (won by the Flyers, 6-2) on Friday night and an emotional pre-game ceremony enshrining Recchi, the Flyers promptly went out and laid an egg.
Basically it was over after one period. Boston wound up winning, 6-2.
About the only highlight for the Flyers was a pair of goals by Tyson Foerster.
The Bruins scored four goals near the end of the opening frame in a span of just four minutes and 14 seconds, the Flyers none and Philadelphia coach John Tortorella pulled starting goaltender Samuel Ersson after 20 minutes of work.
In came backup Cal Petersen and the Bruins needed less than two minutes to get a puck past him.
From there it was pretty much back and forth skating with no real intensity and when it was over the Flyers had lost their fifth straight game.
The five losses come on the heels of five straight wins so the Flyers do manage to remain in third place in the Metropolitan Division.
Now they get a week off for the winter break/NHL All-Star weekend and do the Flyers ever seem to need it.
“Probably a good time for it,” said Travis Sanheim, who has no goals and just two assists in his last 15 games. He went minus-4 on Saturday and is now minus-17. “Kind of get that reset. Guys get healthy, feeling better, come back. A lot of teams are going through tough stretches. We just can’t let it get out of hand. We need to get back to the style we’ve been playing all season long.
“I feel confident in this group that we’re going to get back to it.”
Added Foerster: “This break will be good for us. Hopefully we can come back and start winning some games again.”
A week off might be the answer.
“We’ve lost ourselves a little bit here,” Tortorella said. “I think we’ve lost confidence offensively, although I thought we generated some offense today. That’s how the league works, you have some good weeks and you have some struggles. We’re having struggles. We just need to put our heads down and see if we can get better.”
Since coming off a sweep of three Western Conference teams (Minnesota, Winnipeg, St. Louis) on the road, the Flyers were set to play five of their next six at home. But the Flyers wound up going 1-4 in those games at the Wells Fargo Center and didn’t really look competitive much of that time.
While it’s true the Flyers have been getting their share of bad bounces, the team looks a bit off in its timing. That could help explain why they have scored just 12 goals in the five losses.
“You look at today, we got off to a pretty good start,” Sanheim said. “Maybe if you get one early, get some confidence. . .but for a four-, five-minute stretch there they seemed to have a couple Grade-A chances, they have a ton of skill on that side and they make you pay. The game kind of got away from us after that point.”
The Flyers were pretty much out of it just after Recchi took a bow at center ice.
David Pastrnak, who seems to save some of his best work for the Flyers, scored twice in the first period.
He fired a short-range shot past Ersson at 14:09 to start the scoring parade.
At 15:46, defenseman Charlie McAvoy decided to go deep in the zone and it paid off with a flip shot into the net. Just a minute and one second later, Danton Heinen connected to make it 3-0.
But the Bruins still had one shot left in the period and they took it. Pastrnak scored his 33rd of the season, unassisted, at 18:23.
After the goaltender change, ex-Flyer James van Riemsdyk greeted Petersen with a difficult shot at the 1:15 mark.
The Flyers finally broke through at 15:23. Foerster made a nice move in the right circle, skated into the slot and beat goalie Linus Ullmark.
Foerster scored from the right hash marks at 11:24 of the third period to make the score a bit more respectable.
The two goals were at least an encouraging sign for the rookie.
“It was really tough going down 4-0, that’s not the way you want to start,” he said. “We never quit. We tried our best.
“It feels good to score. I’d give away those goals for a win every time.”
The Flyers just have to avoid those slight lapses in their play.
“I thought we played a pretty good first, to be honest,” said Travis Konecny, who now has only one goal in his last 11 games. “They got a few bounces there and they all went in.
“Those four minutes (in the first) we kind of collapsed. Other than that, we’re playing pretty good. There were little breakdowns and they capitalized.”
Konecny doesn’t concerned about his current dry spell.
“I’m just going to stick with trying to play the right way,” said Konecny, who is a commendable plus-9 despite Saturday’s minus-4. “Hopefully find my way back to where I was.”
The Flyers resume action after the NHL All-Star break with a road game at Florida on Feb. 6. They then start a three-game home stand against Winnipeg, Seattle, Arizona. . .Flyers defenseman Egor Zamula missed Saturday’s game due to illness. . .The Flyers entered the game fourth in the NHL in blocked shots with 875.