CHICAGO -- When this road trip began on Nov. 30, the Flyers were two points out of a playoff spot.
Nearly two weeks and six games later, they return home to Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night to face waiting Montreal three points out of a spot.
They lost ground by going 2-3-1, earning just five of a possible 12 points.
“Nobody is satisfied with it,” coach Craig Berube said. “I’m certainly not. I don’t think my players are, either. We could have done a lot better and I am sure they think so, too.”
They could have won in Dallas. They should have won in regulation at Ottawa, but lost in a shootout.
Seriously, no one gave them a snowball’s chance in hell to beat the No. 1-ranked Blackhawks, but you have to ask yourself if the 'Hawks are really that much better than the Flyers. As in five goals better after the 7-2 beating Berube’s team took at United Center on Wednesday (see story).
“We were one point away from being .500?” Scott Hartnell mused. “I think we have to be a more consistent road team. We had some good periods, at times.
“But not 60 minutes in a row. Not in the same game. We have to learn how to take care of ourselves because we have another long [trip] after Christmas.
“Tomorrow is a big game [against Montreal]. We have to have a lot of energy at home. It’s like we haven’t been in our home beds for a while. We were away in Florida for three, four days, then home for one and away for 12.
“We got to make these next couple games count. This is a big stretch for us to get back within reach of the playoffs.”
Players and coaches say the Flyers have to stop having bouts of critical mistakes, especially in their own end, where opponents seize on it and score multiple goals in a short period of time.
Dallas, Ottawa and now Chicago saw that within portions of games.
“We didn’t take care of our end, we made a few stupid mistakes and we weren’t looking behind our backs,” Wayne Simmonds said. “Play a team like that and they are going to capitalize.
“Pretty much like Dallas. We played a great first, and then the second period, a few stupid mistakes and it’s in the back of our net.”
Look for Steve Mason in goal Thursday against the Canadiens as the Flyers try to get back into the win column before heading to Washington for an afternoon matinee against the Capitals on Sunday.