Frustration and tension continued to brew Sunday night for the Flyers in a 7-1 eyesore of a loss to the Lightning at the Wells Fargo Center.
Head coach Alain Vigneault saw his club's losing streak balloon to eight games. Three days between games did not help the well-rested Flyers against the two-time defending champs.
The Flyers (8-10-4) are 0-6-2 in their spiral and have been outscored 36-13. They were down 5-0 at second intermission Sunday night and trailed 6-0 before Cam Atkinson scored their lone goal.
"We're embarrassed — there’s no question about that," Atkinson said. "Our fans, they support us. To lay kind of a goose egg like that in front of them, it’s embarrassing. Let's take a hard look in the mirror and we have another opportunity tomorrow. Let’s get back on track.
"It's ultimately the players that are going to dig ourselves out of this. I think we had a good conversation after the game. Luckily, we have another opportunity tomorrow to just play the right way — play hard, play for each other."
The team's eight-game skid matches its worst since the 2018-19 season, when the Flyers dropped eight straight from Dec. 27 to Jan. 8. The organization underwent significant change through that tumultuous season, which led to general manager Chuck Fletcher and Vigneault being hired.
"It changes quickly — one way or the other," the Flyers' bench boss said Saturday. "I'm confident that it's going to change positively. And it has to because in this business — a success-, win-oriented business — you've got to win. Otherwise, stuff happens. We all know that."
Five days ago, while transparent about his club's shortcomings, Fletcher expressed belief in his coaches and roster. The Flyers have dealt with injuries to key pieces and have played a challenging strength of schedule, but the GM's patience has to be getting seriously tested.
"We are looking for solutions to our situation," Vigneault said postgame. "We all have a job to do — we've got to get to work and all do our part. The leader of this group, the guy that's got both his hands on the steering is me. I've got to find a way to get this group to play better. We're in a bad skid right now and we need to end this."
The Lightning (15-5-4) have handed the Flyers three of their eight consecutive defeats. They played Saturday night in Boston but had no problem dismantling the Flyers.
Both clubs are shorthanded right now. The Flyers were missing Ryan Ellis (lower body) and Joel Farabee (shoulder) among others, while Tampa Bay was without Nikita Kucherov (lower body) and Brayden Point (upper body).
"We have a lot of guys in there that really care, we want to do well, we're working hard at it," James van Riemsdyk said. "We know it's a results-based thing and we need better results right now."
• Since Oct. 30, the Flyers have scored only 1.63 goals per game, the fewest in the NHL over that span. They've gone 4-9-3 in that stretch.
Offense was still a perplexing issue Sunday night but so was goaltending and goal prevention. A perfect storm.
"Personally, I've been on a team here where we lost 10 in a row and made the playoffs (2017-18)," Claude Giroux said. "We do have confidence in each other, we know we can be a dangerous team, we know we can win some hockey games. We need to find our swagger, we need to compete and play 60 minutes. Right now, we're just not doing that."
Tampa Bay sucked the air out of the building in the first period when it scored two goals within the span of a minute, pinning the Flyers in a 2-0 hole.
At that point, the pressing Flyers had a real uphill climb that never got better.
"At the end of the day, nobody's going to feel sorry for us," Vigneault said. "We had two good practice days and I thought we came out hard, but obviously everything that unfolded after their second goal wasn’t very good.
"We'll get back at it here tomorrow, we'll have a couple quick meetings there, get our guys focused on what we need to do on the ice. Hopefully tomorrow we can bring the energy and have better execution and a better game against a real solid team."
• Carter Hart was yanked by Vigneault for the first time this season after a poor pass from the netminder led to a 5-0 deficit.
It was an ugly, icing-on-the-cake sequence in the second period that elicited boos from frustrated fans. With the Flyers on a power play, Hart left his crease to play a cleared puck. His pass hit Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph, who then backhanded a shot past the retreating Hart.
The 23-year-old goalie surrendered the five goals on 15 shots. He dropped to 0-4-1 in his last five games.
Hart got off to a promising, turn-the-corner type of start to this season, but he has suddenly fallen into a funk as the Flyers' skid has prolonged.
Martin Jones stopped 10 of 12 shots in relief.
On Sunday night, Hart was squaring off with his former tandem partner and mentor Brian Elliott.
Elliott, who spent the previous four seasons with the Flyers before joining Tampa Bay in the offseason, made 38 saves for the win.
• The woeful power play, which has been arguably the biggest culprit for the team's current state, got on the board with Atkinson's third-period goal. It finished 1 for 3.
The Flyers' man advantage entered Sunday 31st in the NHL at 12.5 percent.
• In remembrance of the late Phil Weinberg, a behind-the-scenes warrior for the organization over the last 30-plus years, the Flyers played a video tribute and held a moment of silence prior to puck drop.
Weinberg died unexpectedly on Wednesday at the age of 66. He was the alternate governor of the Flyers and executive vice president and chief legal counsel for Comcast Spectacor.
The Flyers placed orange roses on Weinberg's regular seat in the executive suite. Lauren Hart wore a No. 90 Weinberg jersey while singing the national anthem to recognize the year in which Weinberg joined the company.
On the corner boards, the Flyers displayed Weinberg's initials with a message below: "Always a part of the Flyers family."
• The Flyers are right back at it Monday night in Philadelphia when they welcome Nicolas Aube-Kubel and the Avalanche (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).
"Sometimes when you have a game like this, when you lose 7-1, it's good to get a game the next day. Get a little fire in you and get going," Giroux said. "I expect us to answer tomorrow."
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