A win followed by a lethargic loss.
Looking to make some kind of run after snapping an eight-game winless streak, the Flyers got back to status quo Saturday with a 3-2 loss to the Devils at the Prudential Center.
The Flyers (16-23-6), in last place since New Year's Day, have won consecutive games just once since mid-November. They've lost their last two matchups with the Devils (17-20-7) by a combined score of 6-2, a team tussling with them for the basement in the Metropolitan Division.
• The Flyers didn't have much energy at all and that's disappointing. They're coming off a win (finally), they're playing a divisional game with a chance to jump a team in the standings and they looked like they had little to give for most of the game.
They pushed hard in the third period but that has been the typical too-little, too-late theme for the Flyers this season. An early Saturday afternoon puck drop in New Jersey is no excuse — we should have seen more effort and enthusiasm.
At one point, the NBC Sports Philadelphia broadcast showed the Flyers' front office brass in attendance — president Paul Holmgren, general manager Chuck Fletcher, senior vice president Bob Clarke, senior advisor Dean Lombardi and assistant general manager Brent Flahr, just to name some. The group couldn't have been too pleased.
• The Flyers misfired and misfired all game, going 0 for 3 on the power play. They had 34 shots overall, but many weren't quality looks.
• Both Carter Hart and Mackenzie Blackwood were playing their ninth career games.
Hart, who entered 1-1-1 with a 2.00 goals-against average and .943 save percentage over his last three games, made 23 saves in the loss. The play in front was shoddy throughout and Hart was under siege from the puck drop, making five saves in the opening 1:32. On the Devils' third goal, he couldn't find a bouncing rebound to his right in the crease. He wasn't great but wasn't the problem, either.
Blackwood came in on a tear with a 3-1-0 mark, 1.65 goals-against average and .954 save percentage in his past five games. He kept things going by stopping 32 shots.
• At times, Travis Sanheim struggles away from the puck or gets outmuscled. He's typically strong with the puck because he's skilled, but he looked uncomfortable when Nico Hischier pressured him in the neutral zone.
Five minutes into the second period, the 2017 No. 1 overall pick stripped Sanheim of the puck and took it the other way for a breakaway goal, beating Hart five-hole to give the Devils a two-goal lead.
Hischier owns three goals and six points in six career games against the Flyers. He, of course, was drafted a spot ahead of the Flyers at No. 2, where the Flyers snagged Nolan Patrick. The 20-year-old has a goal in seven career games against New Jersey.
• The Flyers looked sleepy in the first period and an inexcusable failed clear resulted in the Devils' game-opening goal. After Pavel Zacha skated in easily for a shot on Hart, the puck sat behind the net and no Flyer went after it as Phil Varone drifted away.
Because of that, the Devils ended up keeping the puck in the offensive zone and Damon Severson scored 13 seconds later for a 1-0 lead.
• Back in November, Jakub Voracek raved about James van Riemsdyk's hands.
"He's got really, really soft hands and he's got a really good touch," Voracek said. "He can make the plays out of nothing, which is really important. He can raise the puck under the bar from impossible angles."
Just like Voracek said, we saw van Riemsdyk impressively raise the puck on a nifty breakaway goal, his second in as many games.
This was a glimpse of van Riemsdyk's skill.
Thanks to JVR, the Flyers are on the board! pic.twitter.com/hFRBlZtFLv— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 12, 2019
It was one of the only highlights for the Flyers as Sean Couturier scored with two seconds left in regulation.
• The Flyers return to action Monday when they face the Wild (7 p.m./NBCSP), who Fletcher general managed from 2009 to 2018.
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