Flyers on their slow start against the Rangers
The Flyers were outscored 10-4 in losses to the Lightning and Rangers this past weekend. (USA Today Images)
NEW YORK -- They talked about using the weekend as a bit of a barometer on their season.
Flying high, 10 wins in a row at home, a 9-2 record in their previous 11 games going into Saturday’s matinee against Tampa Bay.
Then ... a collapse. A stunning, 6-3 loss to a very, very fast club at Wells Fargo Center, followed by a bad 4-1 loss Sunday night to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Just like that, the Flyers went from second in the Metropolitan Division to fourth. Just like that, they looked very average against two very good clubs.
The bubble burst on Craig Berube’s team.
“We allowed 10 goals,” Jakub Voracek said. “We didn’t play very well defensively. I wouldn’t say we lost the games in the first period but we were half a step slower than them. They came out with some jam.”
You could almost sense the Flyers were toast after that first period, too.
“You’ve got to work really hard without the puck in this league, especially in this building,” Mark Streit said. “We didn’t do that. Once you’re behind by two or three goals, it’s tough to catch up. The last period obviously was better.
“You can’t turn around every game in this league. It doesn’t work like that. You can do it a few times but we have to make sure we’re ready to go on Tuesday and shake this one off and learn from our mistakes.”
This marked the first time since mid-October that the Flyers lost back-to-back games. That it came to really good teams, including one that has been a thorn in the Flyers' side for a long time now -- the Rangers -- is disconcerting.
“It hasn’t cost us anything yet,” Kimmo Timonen said. “We still have  games left. But every game matters. Obviously, it’s been a tough stretch. It feels like eight weeks we’ve been on the road.
“That’s not an excuse but sometimes you find these moments when the energy is not there and it wasn’t there tonight for whatever reason.”
Timonen continued to say that the Flyers aren’t skating enough against quick teams.
“It’s all about skating energy,” he said. “They came out hard and we didn’t. That’s what happens when they do a good job coming at you and hanging onto the puck. And skating.
“This game these days is all about skating. It’s not about what kind of defense you have or who you have on defense. It’s all about skating, putting the puck behind the other D and go get it.
“The last two games, against Tampa Bay we skated but didn’t play any defense. Today, we didn’t do any of that.”
As Wayne Simmonds said, “Ray [Emery] was under siege at the start. A slow start.”
And when it became 3-0, it was over.
Three wins in succession in early January give way to two bad losses in a row. The mood has quickly shifted in Flyerdom.
“You don’t want to lose two in a row but we still have a lot of hockey left,” Brayden Schenn said. “What’s left is a lot of division games to make up ground.”