The Flyers were brought back down to Earth over the weekend.
The Penguins handed them their first loss in regulation in six games with a dominating 4-1 victory on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.
Now, the question for the Flyers is how do they react? Does this loss crush all of their momentum or can they quickly bounce back?
“It’s disappointing,” said defenseman Mark Streit, whose team trails the Red Wings by three points for the final wild card spot – albeit with two games in hand – with 12 games left in the season. “As much as it [stinks] right now we got to turn the page here and have a short memory.”
The Penguins usually bring out the best in the Flyers, but they had the complete opposite effect. After Radko Gudas put the Flyers up 1-0 two minutes into the second period, the Penguins answered 61 seconds later with a goal and took control over the final 37 minutes. The Flyers were held to a season-low 17 shots.
“You are going to have games like that,” captain Claude Giroux said. “Like I have said before, we aren’t going to win every game for the rest of the season. It’s going to be how are we going to respond to this?”
They hope it’s the way they responded the last time they had a flat performance. Following a 4-0 loss at home to the Oilers on March 3, the Flyers got 11 out of a possible 12 points in their next six games until running into the Penguins.
However, a quick turnaround must occur on the road, where they are 15-14-5 this season.
The Flyers open a four-game trip on Monday with back-to-back games against the Islanders, who lead the Flyers by five points for the first wild card berth, and Blue Jackets. From there, it’s off to Colorado and Arizona.
“Obviously for us if we want to make the playoffs, we want to be successful on the road,” said Gudas, who has four goals in his last seven games. “For us, these four games are crucial and I expect nothing [but our best effort].”
They are going to have to finish the rest of the season without backup goalie Michal Neuvirth, though, who the team announced Sunday morning is out three weeks with a lower-body injury. He was scheduled to start on Saturday but Steve Mason got the nod just before warm-ups.
“That’s just the nature of the position sometimes,” Mason said on Saturday after making 31 saves. “Sometimes you get called on short notice and that is why you prepare everyday as if you were going to play. It’s going to be a tough road trip … It would be great to start it off with a win in Brooklyn.”