The Flyers got down big and could never fully recover as they suffered a 5-3 loss Thursday night to the Capitals at the Wells Fargo Center.
Alain Vigneault's club has lost four of its last six games, with all four defeats coming in regulation. The Flyers had only four regulation losses in their first 18 games.
In this six-game stretch, the Flyers (13-8-3) have held a lead at an intermission only once. They're currently out of a playoff spot, but the Flyers have three games in hand on the Islanders and two on the Capitals and Penguins.
"There’s no doubt that we have to be better and that’s on me," Vigneault said postgame. "My job is to prepare the team and obviously to make sure they know what to expect. I went through the different phases. I'm going to have to obviously do a better job next game and at the end of the day, players have the responsibility to get themselves ready to execute and compete. Our execution was off."
The Capitals (16-6-4) are starting to roll. They improved to 10-2-1 in their last 13 games.
• The Flyers held the Capitals to seven goals last season in four regular-season matchups. They held them to eight in five games if you include the round-robin contest in the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament.
The Flyers worked Washington last season.
This season, the Capitals already have 12 goals against the Flyers in three meetings.
The Flyers miss Matt Niskanen. Plain and simple.
• The team's power play went 1 for 2 but couldn't generate much on a third-period opportunity when the Flyers were looking for the equalizer.
On a first-period man advantage, birthday boy Travis Konecny drew the Flyers even at 1-1. Ivan Provorov started the Flyers' comeback bid with a third-period goal at 4-on-4. Scott Laughton brought the Flyers within one about midway through the final stanza.
Not enough, though, as the Flyers were down 4-1 at the start of the third period. Washington scored an empty-netter the length of the ice to seal the game.
Konecny (one goal, one assist) and Kevin Hayes (two assists) finished with multi-point performances.
"I think everyone prepares the right way," Hayes said. "Everyone wants to play the right way. I didn't think we executed early on and they ended up in the back of our net. You can call it urgency, you can call it execution — we just have to be better."
• Brian Elliott, who has been massive to the Flyers, made 17 saves on 21 shots. The Flyers were leaky and sloppy in front of him.
John Carlson, who led all NHL defensemen in points last season, was not picked up on his second-period goal as the Flyers fell behind 3-1.
Later in the period, Nic Dowd and the Capitals made it 4-1 when the puck took a fluky bounce off Shayne Gostisbehere. Dowd got around Travis Sanheim to make it possible.
Elliott has appeared in four games over the last eight days. Carter Hart very well could get his chance to bounce back Saturday in a big one for the club.
• The Flyers were careless with the puck in the first period and played a ton in the defensive zone. They had seven giveaways in the opening frame and it felt like they were fortunate to be trailing only 2-1 at first intermission.
Alex Ovechkin pounced on one of the giveaways and turned it into a 1-0 lead for the Capitals. Elliott tried playing the puck to Provorov, who couldn't handle it off the boards and Ovechkin blasted it home. Provorov misplayed it and Elliott could have made an easier decision by giving it to Sean Couturier.
Conor Sheary regained Washington its lead on a breakaway that was the byproduct of the Flyers' sloppiness. The play went the other way when Nicolas Aube-Kubel was charged with a giveaway. He tried slipping a quick pass to Sanheim near the blue line and the defenseman failed to corral it.
Two turnovers that directly resulted in goals.
"Their first goal, it’s a pass to [Provorov] that I think he should pick up and he doesn’t. One of the best, if not the best all-time NHL scorer, is out there just one-timing it. That’s a tough play," Vigneault said. "And the second, we lost it in an area where you can’t lose the puck and they came right back and got a breakaway off that. Mistakes that you can’t do and we did. We’ll reenergize tomorrow, regroup and get ready for our next game."
• Andy Andreoff dropped the gloves with Garnet Hathaway in the first period for the Flyers' second fight of the season.
In place of Michael Raffl (swollen right hand), Andreoff played on the fourth line with Nolan Patrick and Aube-Kubel. Patrick played only 9:31 and has been held to without a point in 17 straight games. He scored in the shootout Tuesday night.
• The Flyers' penalty kill is 5 for 5 on the homestand.
• Philippe Myers sat as a healthy scratch for the second time in the last eight games. Vigneault said the Flyers "expect him to be better than what he has shown so far."
The team's blueliners weren't very good Thursday night.
• The Flyers will get a chance to earn what would be a much-needed split of their four-game homestand when they face the Capitals again Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
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