NEWARK, N.J. -- Call it "The Nightmare in Newark."
A film directed by the Flyers and one you've already seen before.
Needing just about every game left on the regular-season slate, the Flyers walked into the Prudential Center on Thursday in favorable position, at least one would think on this specific night.
After all, the Devils had lost 10 straight games and were virtually playing for nothing, unlike the Flyers, clinging for dear life onto their playoff hopes.
In actuality, none of that meant a darn thing. The Flyers were manhandled, yet again, by New Jersey, this version a 6-2 embarrassing loss (see Instant Replay). For Dave Hakstol's team, that's now three losses in three tries against the Devils this season by a combined score of 14-3.
"For whatever reason, we don't perform to our capabilities in this arena," Brayden Schenn said. "I don’t know what it is. They were hungrier right from the start tonight and they deserve this win."
How can the Flyers fall so badly in such dire circumstances?
The scary thing is no one really had an answer.
"We were flat," Jakub Voracek said. "No idea why. We knew it was another big game for us."
The Flyers scored first with three minutes left in the opening stanza when Claude Giroux and Voracek created a wide-open shot for Michael Del Zotto.
From there, it was all downhill as the plot turned ugly.
New Jersey scored the next three goals to grab a commanding 3-1 lead in the second period. The Flyers got one back, but then allowed a bad breakaway tally to Taylor Hall early in the third that resulted in Steve Mason's exit because of an injury sustained on the play (see story).
The Flyers went quietly into the final buzzer while the Devils never let off the gas.
It was a listless finish by the Flyers, who had four shots in the third period of which their effort was questioned afterward.
"No, I don't think anybody's giving up," Giroux responded.
"That doesn't mean we're giving up. No one is going to give up here until the end of the season. We're going to keep working and keep working on our game."
Can they be angrier?
"Yeah, we're angry," Giroux said. "We know we're a better team, we know we can be in a better position. That's not the case and we need to keep working, keep working to be a better team."
Hakstol didn't see quit in the third period.
"No, the team didn't give up.
"We didn't win enough of the races and battles tonight. That's the bottom line."
When asked for reasons why that was, why the Flyers were so thoroughly outplayed and slower, Hakstol wouldn't expand.
"I'm not going to get into it," he said. "We're on the second night of a back-to-back, but at this time of year, none of us are going to make excuses for that. It's a fact of life.
"The fourth goal against early in the third period kind of took the wind out of the sails. … Not a real push once we got down by two."
The Flyers are now further down and nearly out in the Eastern Conference playoff race. On Thursday, the Maple Leafs (78 points) beat the Lightning (77) to jump them and the Islanders (77) -- who lost to the Jets -- for the current grip of the second wild-card bid.
The Flyers, at 72 points, have 12 games remaining -- including two more against these Devils.
"We're in a bad position," Voracek said. "Every game we go into, we have to win.
"We just didn't have it today, which is weird battling for the playoffs."