Matt Read and the Flyers unraveled in the second period of a 7-3 loss to the Sharks. (AP)
It wasn’t ugly. It was Flyer ugly.
Five goals against in the second period. Two players coming off extended injury absences to burn them for two goals.
In short, this was not how the Flyers wanted to begin their 23-game stretch drive to the playoffs -- with a stunning 7-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center.
It was also the first of 14 home games to finish the season.
After a full week of hard practices and even harder scrimmages, the Flyers lacked fight.
“Not competing around our net, that’s what it came down to,” coach Craig Berube said. “People there, not getting sticks, not boxing people out. Not being hard on people. We didn’t compete hard enough to win the hockey game. Nobody.”
The game saw Steve Mason give up four goals on the first 13 shots, leave for Ray Emery, then return late in the third period because Emery, in his own words, had something that “didn’t feel right.”
Berube himself wasn’t sure about his goalie.
“Ray had an issue. Something was bothering him,” Berube said.
Strangely, the Flyers started out well, matched the Sharks in skating, and even led 2-1 going into what Scott Hartnell called a “disastrous” second period.
San Jose found another gear that period, crashed the net and scored five unanswered goals. The Flyers gave up five in Chicago earlier this season in one period.
“A frustrating game,” Hartnell said. “We wanted to be involved in the game. Even me, I was a little too emotional, reacting to refs calls or plays I didn’t make.
“I don’t know if there was a lot of buildup for this game over two weeks, but we channeled our energy in a negative way. And when I do it, it follows through to everyone else.”
Flyers captain Claude Giroux said he thought the team was playing well before a fluky goal from Raffi Torres tied it for San Jose. Then the Flyers “started panicking.”
“We didn’t stick with the plan,” Giroux said. “We got away from what we are supposed to do and when we don’t do what we’re supposed to do, we get in trouble.”
The Flyers noticeably sagged when it became 2-2 in the second period as the Sharks scored those five unanswered goals. Both Torres and Logan Couture, coming off long injuries, had two goals in the game.
“It almost looked like we stopped competing after they tied the game up,” Berube said.
The back-breaker there was Torres scoring with 2.2 seconds left in the period to make it 5-2.
“The most important part of the ice is in front of our net,” Hartnell said. “The last goal they scored with two seconds left, I was on the ice and kind of swung away [from them], leaving guys to whack away. It’s not fair to Mase or Emery when you leave them hung to dry like that.”
The Flyers' showdown in Pittsburgh on March 16 against the Penguins has been designated an NBC national telecast and will now start at 12:30 p.m. that afternoon, instead of 7:30 p.m.