From about Thanksgiving to almost Christmas, the Flyers couldn’t lose. However, since jolly ol’ St. Nick visited, they have been unable to win.
After reeling off a 10-game winning streak, which was the third longest one in franchise history, the Flyers have dropped a season-high five straight following Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to the Rangers
They have been outscored, 21-8, in the five losses, which also included to the Devils, Blues, Sharks and Ducks.
“We are on a spiral right now,” said Jake Voracek, who netted a pair of goals against the Rangers and leads the team with 37 points. “We know that we have to find a way to win some games here, because we don’t want to chase [after a playoff berth]. We are in a spot where our team is not winning, so we have to make sure we pick up some points.”
Once tied for first in the Metropolitan Division, the Flyers now only hold the final wild-card position and have watched their double-digit lead on a playoff spot shrink to three points. They have also gone from a positive goal differential, an often overlooked but key statistic, to minus-seven.
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“When things aren’t going our way, they sort of snowball and you try to do whatever you can to try and find ways to get out of it,” Mason said. “Sometimes you can almost try too hard, but we have to find a way here.”
Mason, who has played solid during the skid and not been helped by a lackluster defense, has started a whopping 25 of the last 27 games. With backup goalie Michal Neuvirth activated from the injury list on Tuesday and rookie Anthony Stolarz returned to the Phantoms, Mason should get a much-needed mental and physical break. It will likely happen this weekend, when the Flyers have back-to-back games.
“We just have to go back to work,” Shayne Gostisbehere said. “We have to go to the dirty areas and do what we have to do. We expect too much right now, and I think we just have to go out there and play hockey.”
Unfortunately for the Flyers, it won’t get any easier this weekend.
They host the Lightning, who have played well as of late despite a rash of injuries, on Saturday before traveling to face the white-hot Blue Jackets. Columbus went into Thursday night’s game against the Capitals riding a 16-game winning streak.
“It’s not a fun time right now,” Mason said. “We have to find way to come out on top and just push through here without getting too discouraged.”