Scott Hartnell and Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk dropped the gloves during the Flyers' 6-1 loss on Saturday. (AP)
If the Flyers needed a wake-up call to jolt them back to the reality that they have begun a crucial part of the schedule, it was delivered during Saturday’s Boston Massacre.
In a matter of five games, they have slipped from second in the Metropolitan Division and fifth overall in the Eastern Conference to fourth and ninth, respectively -- out of the playoff picture.
“If that loss doesn’t open eyes ... you don’t even have to look at the standings,” Kimmo Timonen said. “We have to look at that game and what happened.
“That’s one of the top teams in the league, and they showed that to us. So if that’s not a wake-up call for us, you’re not supposed to be on this team.”
It doesn’t get easier from here for Craig Berube’s team, either.
The Flyers host Detroit on Tuesday, before heading to the West Coast to meet three pretty good teams that figure to give them fits -- Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.
“You play all year to get in the playoffs,” Scott Hartnell said. “Right now, we don’t deserve to be in the playoffs, the way we’ve been playing the last three to four games and if we match up against Boston and play like that, we’re four-and-out again if it’s a playoff match.
“Guys need to get themselves ready. Guys need to be ready to work harder, ready to battle. It seems like we’re just going to try to cruise through games and win them and that’s losing hockey for sure.”
There’s no question the Flyers have been a bit of a streaky team this season that goes on winning and losing stretches.
For the most part, they’ve played very well under Berube, who feels the team is lacking confidence right now in several aspect of its game.
“It shows that we are [lacking confidence] from what we've done, but that’s something that we have to correct because that doesn’t get you anywhere,” Berube said.
“We need to be a consistent team and that’s what we strive to be so that’s what we are going to work towards. If you want to be a good team, want to be a playoff team and you want to do something in the playoffs, you better be consistent.”
Hartnell said the team went into Sunday’s Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival feeling rather embarrassed about themselves.
“You go through some ups and downs, obviously,” he said. “We started off on a big downer and I think we showed a lot of character to get back to where we are right now. If we let things slide like we have been ... we’re on the outside looking in right now. We have to realize that.
“We get to see the fans and realize who we’re playing for. We’re playing for these 15,000 fans, that are paying $20 to get a picture with us. Efforts like that, it’s a knock against them and it’s definitely a wake-up call for us.”