For the Flyers, the unthinkable has happened: Almost every player has gone into a scoring slump simultaneously.
"Everybody goes through ups and downs during the season, but very rarely does it happen that everybody gets hit at the same time," said forward Danny Briere, a 13-year veteran. "We're in that funk right now. For me, this is a first time that it's gone this long. I've seen where you go six, seven, eight games without scoring too many goals, but I've stopped counting here. This is a lot, and it's frustrating."
The Flyers have a total of eight goals in their last nine losses.
"With this team, this lineup, we should be better," said defenseman Kimmo Timonen, whose team hosts Florida tonight. "We should be a desperate hockey team. We have it one game and don't have it the next game. That's not the sign of a good team."
On Nov. 18, the Flyers were 12-5-1 and fifth in the Eastern Conference. But they have lost 13 of their last 16, fallen to 14th in the conference, gotten one coach fired, and raised the blood pressure of his replacement.
Since Peter Laviolette replaced John Stevens, the Flyers are 2-6-1 and they have struggled to score goals.
With the exception of Claude Giroux (four goals in last seven games), the players on the top three lines are all struggling. Consider:
Goalless streaks for Arron Asham, Scott Hartnell, Briere, and Mike Richards have reached 22, eight, seven, and six games, respectively.
James van Riemsdyk has one goal in the last 16 games.
Jeff Carter, a 46-goal scorer last year, continues to get lots of shots but has scored in just three of the last 18 games.
Dan Carcillo, who has supplied consistent energy, has one goal in his last 17 games.
The Legion of Gloom managed 37 shots in Saturday's 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers, but was stymied by Henrik Lundvquist's brilliant goaltending. The Flyers got off to such a poor start that Laviolette exhausted his time-out after just 5 minutes, 16 seconds, with his team trailing, 1-0.
When they were 12-5-1, the Flyers scored the first goal in 14 of 18 games.
During their current skid - 13 losses in 16 games - they have scored first just four times.
Yes, there is a correlation.
"I don't know why it's been an issue," Timonen said of the slow starts. "It comes down to the same thing I've been saying for three years now - it's individual preparation. . . . Bad starts I think are mental. It's a mind-set; making sure you're ready to go. Don't wait for Richie or Carts to score a hat trick every game. Make sure you do your own job."
Only Carolina has fewer points than the Flyers in the 30-team NHL.
Timonen was asked what the Flyers were doing differently during their early-season hot streak than they are now.
"If I knew the answer to that, we wouldn't be here," he said. "I think we probably thought it was going to be too easy. We won games playing average, and now we haven't been able to do that. Even playing average, we lose games. That's not good enough. Obviously the scoring hasn't been there lately, but then we have to go out and play tight defense."
Breakaways. The Flyers (15-17-2) were 20-10-4 at a corresponding point last season. . .. In plus-minus stats, Matt Carle (plus-10) and Chris Pronger (plus-8) are the team's leaders, while Briere (minus-9) and Oskars Bartulis (minus-8 in just 20 games) are the trailers. . . . About 2,000 tickets remain for tonight. . . . Brian Boucher is four wins shy of 100 in his career. . . . Minor-league update: Right winger Stefan Legein has 14 goals, including 12 in the 22 games he has played for the AHL Adirondack Phantoms.