Ten things I think, I think after the Flyers' complete meltdown at Prudential Center at the hands of the New Jersey Devils, 6-2 (see game recap).
Obviously, the Flyers' wild-card hopes took a major hit when goalie Steve Mason exited with cramps after trying to make a save on Taylor Hall's breakaway goal in the third period.
Yet the effort in front of him even before the injury was appalling for a team that claims it wants to win the wild card.
Dave Hakstol's club showed more fight after the game than during regulation. That's inexcusable, even considering it was on the second night of back-to-back games.
1. This was a classic case of the Flyers' playing down to the competition a night after they kicked the Pittsburgh Penguins around the rink. The Devils, who aren't playoff-bound, were the hungrier team while the Flyers were too docile. New Jersey played with the kind of desperation that the Flyers should have shown given their place in the wild-card standings. Simply put, it's inexcusable and it's a reason why they won't make the playoff cut with 12 games left.
2. What is it about the Devils' penalty kill that simply frustrates the hell out of the Flyers? Hakstol's bunch is now 0 for 12 against New Jersey this season. After all, the Devils' PK units are just barely better than the Flyers' – 19th in the NHL. There's no rationale for the Flyers not scoring against them.
3. Hard to believe Harry, but John Hynes' Devils came into play having lost 10 consecutive games (0-8-2) and yet they came out challenging the Flyers. Truth is, this is a rivalry going back to the Meadowlands where New Jersey always showed up against the Flyers on home ice, regardless of where either team was in the standings.
4. The Flyers have had some issues this season with teams scoring off the faceoff against them. It happened recently at home against Columbus and it reoccurred against the Devils late in the first period when Travis Zajac won a faceoff from Valtteri Filppula. Kyle Palmieri came out of a pile in the high slot for a screen shot that Mason had trouble finding. That tied the game 1-1 when the Flyers should have gone into the intermission with a lead. Between the time the Flyers scored first and got their next shot, 11 minutes had elapsed.
5. Rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov has been the club's best defenseman this season. Like all young D-men, he makes mistakes. Most of them are turnovers. He had a bad one in the opening minutes against Pittsburgh on Wednesday and Mason had to make a save on Conor Sheary. Provorov made an uncharacteristic lazy-stick play in the second period behind his own net in New Jersey and the Devils' Adam Henrique jumped all over it for a go-ahead goal, 2-1.
6. The Devils' Joseph Blandisi scored a power-play goal for a 3-1 lead. New Jersey has 10 power-play goals against the Flyers' sagging penalty-kill units this season. Ten!
7. Zajac's line with Hall and Palmieri had a dominant game against the Flyers with two goals and two assists. The six goals by Jersey were a season-high.
8. The Flyers came back in the second half of the middle stanza to play better. Yet the fact that the Devils were outplaying them from the get-go is disconcerting given New Jersey is going nowhere and the Flyers are still mathematically alive in the wild-card chase. The Flyers had no shots through the first eight minutes of the third period. Where's the urgency?
9. Michal Neuvirth came off the bench when Mason got hurt and immediately was tested. This is where you need a save badly. Instead, Henrique put the game away at 5-2.
10. The total inconsistency of the Flyers with a brilliant effort against their most hated rival, followed by a tepid one against a team that is far below them, says volumes about their playoff aspirations or lack thereof.