In a TV commercial shown this week, Flyers coach Alain Vigneault saluted the fans who were allowed back in the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday night.

“You’re the piece we’ve been missing,” he said.

Well, maybe not.

Despite having some (very animated) fans in the building for the first time since the pre-pandemic days last March 10, the Flyers fell to the Washington Capitals, 3-1, and suffered their third loss in the last four games.

» READ MORE: At long last, Flyers fans return to the Wells Fargo Center

After an impressive first period in which the fans were roaring, the Flyers faded and were outplayed the rest of the way, drawing boos with about 13 minutes left. More boos followed when the Flyers failed to click on a third-period power play.

Welcome back, guys.

“We came out here with the best intentions, playing in front of fans,” Vigneault said. “We came out with good jump, but we couldn’t finish the job.”

The Flyers, who had a 37-27 shots advantage but could solve goalie Ilya Samsonov just once, suffered consecutive regulation losses for the first time since Dec. 31, 2019-Jan. 4, 2020.

With no Flyers on the right side of the defensive zone, Caps defenseman Nick Jensen was allowed to skate in all alone and he scored with a blast from the right circle with 15:45 left in regulation, increasing Washington’s lead to 3-1. It was his first goal since 2018.

The Caps dominated the second period and tied it, 1-1, when Alex Ovechkin, taking advantage of a defensive breakdown, took a cross-the-slot pass and put a point-blank shot high into the net with 4:49 to go in the stanza. Carter Hart had no chance.

With 15.8 seconds left in the second, after a controversial icing call that James van Riemsdyk protested, the Caps won a faceoff and it led to John Carlson finding an all-alone Dmitry Orlov in the left circle. Orlov, a defenseman who moved up from the left point and got inside Joel Farabee, put a shot through Hart’s legs as the goalie was moving from left to right.

Earlier in the period, the Flyers failed to connect on three golden chances in the second, including a three-on-one and a two-on-none. On the two-on-none, Travis Konecny fired high and wide.

“Carter gave us a chance to win this game and that’s what you want your goaltender to do,” Vigneault said. “Before they scored their tying goal, we had three great looks … We bury one of those, we’re in a real good spot.”

In the second period, the Caps outshot the Flyers, 13-8, and outhit them, 10-2.

The Flyers, playing their sixth game in nine days, fell out of a playoff spot in the East Division.

Defenseman Ivan Provorov didn’t blame the team’s latest loss on fatigue.

“I’m pretty sure all the teams have the same schedule, so that can’t be an excuse,” he said.

Before the game, Vigneault said there was “no doubt having fans and feeling their emotion and their energy is going to be a boost for us. To be able to come home under these circumstances and be able to see a number of fans in the stands is very positive for us. I hope we’re going to give them a good game, so they can cheer and be 100% behind us.”

They gave them lots of good moments in a first period in which they built a 1-0 lead and outshot the Capitals, 14-7.

Farabee, using van Riemsdyk as a decoy on a two-on-one, whipped a right-circle shot through the legs of Samsonov to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead with 9:56 left in the first.

It was Farabee’s team-leading 11th goal, three more than he scored in his entire rookie season in 2019-20. Sean Couturier started the play in the defensive end.

“It was a really good play by Coots in the D-zone just to bank it up to me, and great play by Reemer [van Riemsdyk], allowed me to get to the middle and find an open lane,” Farabee said.

It was the Flyers’ first home game with fans in 362 days. The state and city lifted restrictions, allowing 15% of the seating capacity -- about 3,100 -- into the arena. They sounded as loud as a crowd five times that size in the first period. Their “Ref you [stink]” chants echoed around the building after Konecny was given an undeserved goaltender interference penalty when he was pushed into Samsonov by the Caps’ Carlson.

The fans gave Oskar Lindblom a standing ovation and the players tapped their sticks on the ice and sideboards during a scoreboard tribute late in the second period. It was Lindblom’s first game before fans at the Wells Fargo Center since he overcame a rare bone cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma.