NHL

Flyers sliding into standings free fall

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It was a bit chilly inside the Philadelphia Flyers locker room following their lethargic 3-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Friday afternoon, and it had nothing to do with the bitter temperature outside of the building.

Following their seventh loss in the last eight games, the Flyers chose some harsh words to describe their effort that day and the state of the team.

“Coming from the heart, from what I see I think it’s true (the effort has to better),” Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossmann said. “Everyone needs to play at another level. Some nights guys do it but it comes back to consistency. Every shift matters. That is the mentality we need.”

And it has been missing since the team returned from a five-day break in the middle of November. The fans expressed their dissatisfaction in the form of long and loud boos throughout Friday’s contest.

“It’s a team game and we need a lot more from everybody,” Grossmann added. “And we are not playing a full game hard enough. We can’t play 20 minutes and take 40 off. It’s not going to work in this league. We need to clean that up and we aren’t going to be successful until we do.”

It didn’t get any better the next day on the back end of a home-and-home with New York. The Flyers were outplayed and outshot (35-22) during a 5-2 loss – for the 10 straight time in the regular season – at Madison Square Garden.

The effort was only slightly better than the previous afternoon.

“I think all in all we’re not working hard enough,” Wayne Simmonds said. “We don’t have everyone going. If you don’t have everyone going you’re not going to win games and we don’t have everyone going.”

Captain Claude Giroux said players are trying to do too much on their own instead of relying on their teammates.

“We aren’t playing as a team,” he said. “We are not playing the right way right now.”

Defenseman Mark Streit called it a confidence issue.

“It’s tough to find the reasons (why we are struggling) right now but you have to stay positive,” he said. “We are a good team.”

However, the standings don’t back him up. The Flyers have fallen to sixth place in the Metropolitan Division and are 13th in the Eastern Conference in front of Carolina, Columbus and Buffalo. Only Edmonton has fewer points than the Flyers in the Western Conference.

“I am not happy at this point,” GM Ron Hextall said after Friday’s performance. “I am not happy with our record.”

If they are going to a find their confidence, a consistent 60-minute effort and play as a team, it’s going to happen away from the Wells Fargo Center, where they are 2-7-1. They head out West to San Jose, Anaheim, L.A. and then Columbus for their next four games.

“We’re definitely in a rut here,” said goalie Steve Mason, who has played solid despite not getting results. “There is still a lot of time to make up room, but you can’t let this keep sliding like this. It’s unacceptable, it’s embarrassing and we have to get going on a roll here.”

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