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Flyers lackluster play brings candid assessments

NEWARK, NJ --  It's amazing how quickly a team's confidence can erode in the NHL.

After Thursday's come from behind 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues, the Flyers were feeling good about themselves.

Then this weekend totally changed the vibe and for good reason. First, they squandered a 2-1 lead by allowing a tying goal in the final 14.1 seconds of regulation in Saturday's 3-2 OT loss at Boston.

And then they played one of their worst games of the season in Sunday's 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

Coach Craig Berube basically said that his team wasn't able to bounce back from the Boston loss.

"I think that defeat in Boston obviously had an effect on our team and mentally we weren't there today," Berube said.

Goalie Steve Mason and winger Wayne Simmonds both when asked, said this team has underachieved.

Others suggested the Flyers have problems putting together a full 60 minutes. In this game, the Flyers were about 40 minutes shy of that total.

Actually, none of this is a revelation.

What is has to be disconcerting to the organization is that the players are talking about having to compete harder. There is one thing with not playing well, but not playing hard is inexcusable. And it's not the media saying this. Simmonds couldn't have made himself any more clear on the subject.

"We have to compete harder and be better as a team," he said. "Each man has to go back and look in the mirror and you've got to be playing the right way yourself before judging everybody else."

The bottom line is that if Sunday's lackluster effort doesn't motivate the Flyers then nothing will. It's interesting that going into the weekend, the players were excited because they knew they had a chance to cut the playoff gap between themselves and Boston.

Just 48 hours later, the Flyers trail the Bruins by seven points for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff berth and sounded and played like a beaten team.

No doubt there will be plenty of soul searching on their day off Monday. If the Flyers don't come out with fire for Tuesday's game at the Wells Fargo Center against Dallas, then nothing the rest of this inconsistent season will be able to ignite this team.