This is not the debut new Flyers coach Peter Laviolette had envisioned.
The Flyers allowed three goals during a nine-minute power play as they were leveled by the Washington Capitals, 8-2, before a restless crowd at the Wachovia Center last night. Washington was without suspended superstar Alex Ovechkin, but it didn't matter as it scored on five of its first 17 shots against fading goalie Ray Emery.
Left winger Tomas Fleischmann and defenseman Mike Green each scored twice for the Caps, who sent the Flyers to their seventh loss in their last eight games.
Welcome to Philadelphia, Coach.
"To me, it looked like our team was not into the game," general manager Paul Holmgren said. "I know a lot of stuff has happened in the last 24 hours . . . and we just didn't have a lot going."
Emery had his worst outing of the season, surrendering five goals before being replaced by Brian Boucher with 8 minutes, 46 seconds left in the second period. Emery has a 5.36 goals-against average and .814 save percentage in his last five starts.
Washington pulled away from a 1-1 tie, scoring three power-play goals on a nine-minute penalty assessed to Dan Carcillo.
Defenseman Chris Pronger called the loss "pretty damn embarrassing" and said the team needed to be accountable.
"We need to play for each other. It starts with discipline, penalty-wise. Discipline to the system and to the structure that the coaching staff put into place," said Pronger, whose team yielded a season-worst four power-play goals. "Until we start understanding that, this is what you're going to get, and it's not pretty and it's not fun."
The Flyers "look like a team that's struggling with some confidence right now," Laviolette said. "I thought we started to take [over] a little bit prior to killing the nine minutes, and once they scored, it seemed like it zapped us of confidence. There's good players in that room. They will shine here."
After the game, Emery was in the trainer's room getting treatment. Asked if he was healthy, Emery said: "Good enough to play the game."
The firing of coach John Stevens was supposed to be a wake-up call.
Yet, it was the Capitals who were energized in the first period after referee Stephane Auger handed Carcillo a set of penalties that gave Washington the nine-minute power play.
About 2½ minutes after Mika Pyorala tied the game, 1-1, by knocking in a fat first-period rebound - a goal that ended the Flyers' eight-period scoreless drought - Carcillo was hit by Matt Bradley's high stick near the sideboards.
Carcillo retaliated with a cross-check and dropped his gloves. Just as Bradley dropped his gloves, Carcillo decked the Caps' right winger with a right to his face.
As Carcillo threw the punch, Bradley appeared to throw off his right glove as if he wanted to fight.
Auger gave Carcillo two minutes for cross-checking, two minutes for instigation, five minutes for fighting, a 10-minute misconduct, and a game misconduct.
Bradley got zero minutes.
During the nine-minute power play, the Capitals got three goals, from Fleischmann, Green, and Brooks Laich, to take a 4-1 lead against a shellshocked Emery.
Mike Richards said he asked the referees for an explanation of the penalties and didn't get one. After the game, Richards talked to Carcillo about showing more discipline.
"All I can do is hold people accountable here," Richards said, "and I don't think it's going to be a problem anymore."