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In a season full of lows, the Flyers hit rock bottom with 9-2 loss to the Washington Capitals

The Flyers have largely shown fight and pride regardless of the poor results this season. They showed neither on Tuesday as they were embarrassed, 9-2, in their worst performance of the season.

The Flyers had their worst performance of the season on Tuesday night, as they were blown out 9-2 by the Washington Capitals.
The Flyers had their worst performance of the season on Tuesday night, as they were blown out 9-2 by the Washington Capitals.Read moreAlex Brandon / AP

Every time you think it can’t get worse, the 2021-22 Flyers prove you wrong.

With the Flyers, 23-39-11, officially eliminated from playoff contention on March 29, interim coach Mike Yeo tried to turn the focus on the positives and the need for the team finish strong over the last 15 games. But in their 9-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night, positives were hard to find. In fact, even listing the negatives was hard because there were too many to count.

“You don’t give up nine goals by just one area of your game lacking,” Yeo said afterward. “So there was a number of areas tonight. But, you know what? It’s extremely disappointing.”

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Nowhere was the Flyers overall ineptitude and lack of effort on Tuesday highlighted more than on Washington’s fifth goal. As Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov cycled on the periphery of the offensive zone, all five Flyers followed the puck and drifted up past the faceoff circles. Whether it was a miscommunication, a lack of awareness, or an execution error, the result was an inexcusable goal that should have painted the Flyers players’ cheeks red with embarrassment.

Somehow, Conor Sheary was left completely alone right in front of goalie Martin Jones for 10 seconds. When Kuznetsov passed it to Sheary at the front of the net, the winger had time — five full seconds to be exact — to make three or four stick handles before backhanding one past a stranded Jones. The two Flyers defenseman on the ice, Ivan Provorov and Ronnie Attard, were the furthest away from Sheary at the time he received the puck, both near the blue line, and neither made much of an effort — see Provorov gliding into the picture late and making a weak attempt at a stick check — to get back and at least give Sheary a shove. Instead, Sheary took his sweet time making his move on Jones, who had every reason to be furious at what had transpired in front of him.

The score might as well have been 5-1 when Sheary received the puck; it was such a foregone conclusion he’d score given the comedy of errors by the Flyers.

It has been a season of lows. There was the 10-game losing streak that begin in mid-November, a franchise-record 13-game losing streak throughout January, and a six-game skid right out of the All-Star break. Even so, Yeo has been able to point out various positives, like the fight they showed in the 5-4 loss to Nashville on March 27 or the team dominating play for the majority of last week’s 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Flyers showed no fight and certainly no dominance in this loss.

Ovechkin kicked it off right away with a goal six minutes in before T.J. Oshie scored to give the Capitals a 2-0 advantage just five minutes later. It was a less than optimal start, but the deficit wasn’t insurmountable, as James van Riemsdyk proved when he cut the deficit to 2-1 just 36 seconds later. However, the Flyers quickly were down two goals again, after Washington’s Martin Fehérváry walked Attard to make it 3-1 after one period.

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It didn’t help that in between Capitals goals one and three, Carter Hart and Cam Atkinson left the game with injuries. On top of already being an injury-riddled team, those two players are critical for their skills as well as their leadership on the ice. But instead of fighting for their fallen teammates, the Flyers just let things spiral. And spiral. And spiral.

After Sheary’s goal at the end of the second, the lead had risen to 5-1. The score was 7-1 with 12 minutes left in the game.

They officially hit a new low when they gave up goal No. 8 with seven minutes remaining. Before, it could be argued the season low was a 7-1 loss on Dec. 5 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, amid the 10-game losing streak that led to Alain Vigneault’s firing. Or it could have been that 13-game losing streak that kicked off the new year. Tuesday’s game had little meaning in terms of wins and losses. Making the playoffs has not been realistic since at least January. But pride still was on the line, and the Flyers showed little of it.

“Every day you have the Flyers logo on your chest is a good day,” various players have said at points this season. “You play for that logo.”

If that was representing the Flyers logo, then they were channeling Alec Bohm vibes in honor of baseball season.

“I [expletive] hate this place,” is what that performance said.

It was the first time all season the Flyers gave up nine goals. They’ve only given up nine 20 times in the team’s 54-year history. One of those times was last season’s 9-0 loss to the New York Rangers. Before that, it had been 10 years since the Flyers had such a pitiful defensive showing in a game. And there are still nine more games, starting Wednesday at home against the Rangers, to find a new low.

To cap it off, the game was on national television with ESPN cameras preserving every moment of this calamity. Luckily, former captain Claude Giroux had his own game and probably wasn’t watching.

And maybe that’s the one positive — Giroux did not have to witness whatever that performance was from the Flyers and instead is living his best hockey life, helping the Florida Panthers make a different type of history.

Salt, meet wound.