PITTSBURGH - The Flyers were hoping to build on Monday's impressive win in Boston, but the Pittsburgh Penguins would not cooperate last night.
They rarely do when they face the Flyers at Mellon Arena.
Jordan Staal scored two goals and Sidney Crosby contributed three points as the Penguins trounced the Flyers, 6-1, and sent Philadelphia to its eighth loss in the last 10 games. The Flyers have a total of seven goals in the eight defeats.
They also are 2-11 in their last 13 games in Pittsburgh - 3-16 including the playoffs.
The Flyers were outshot, 35-27, and surrendered odd-man rushes all night. Goalie Brian Boucher, playing his second game in two nights, was not sharp, but had little support.
The embarrassing performance followed a 3-1 win over Boston.
"It's really disturbing," said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, whose team is 2-5 since he replaced John Stevens. "You take a small step forward, [and then] you take a big step backward. We didn't compete. Their top players came to play. They came to skate, came to work. . . . They had more pop to the pucks, more pop to the net. They were more physical."
Captain Mike Richards called it "big-time frustrating. We come in here and say all the right words, and then we go out and don't execute and kind of have mental lapses that turn into goals. . . . Right now, we're not playing with enough heart to have success."
The Flyers were 1 for 6 on the power play.
Pittsburgh, which has eliminated the Flyers in the last two playoffs, will travel to the Wachovia Center for a rematch tomorrow night.
Staal scored a game-turning shorthanded goal with 5 minutes, 9 seconds left in the first period, putting the defending Stanley Cup champion ahead by 3-1.
"We play in spurts," said defenseman Chris Pronger, who was caught in the offensive zone on the power play, giving Staal a two-on-one he converted into the goal. "In this league, you're not going to win playing in spurts. You've got to play for 60 minutes hard."
How the Flyers could play so well Monday and look so listless last night had the players shaking their heads.
"We got back on the right track, we thought, the other night," said Dan Carcillo, who scored a power-play goal, had five hits, and supplied more energy than any Flyer. "We were just too flat tonight. It seemed like there was nothing there."
"I don't have an explanation. I'd be lying if I tried to make up stuff right now," Danny Briere said.
Briere was asked if the Flyers needed a trade to snap them out of their doldrums - they have lost 11 of their last 14 games.
"I hope it doesn't happen. Nobody wants to see that happening in the locker room," he said. "We're with these guys more than we're with our own families. You don't want to see buddies get traded and lose friendships. We know it might happen if we keep playing that way, but we don't want that."
What was that line the late, great Rodney Dangerfield used to utter? Oh, yeah: "I went to a fight the other day and a hockey game broke out."
That was fitting early in a wild first period. In a 16-second span, there were three fights.
Arron Asham and the Penguins' Michael Rupp fought to a draw. Pittsburgh's Eric Godard decisioned Riley Cote. And Carcillo pounded Craig Adams.
Sandwiched around the first and last bouts were goals that put the Penguins ahead, 2-0, after just 6:09.
Crosby scored the Penguins' first goal, on a power play, and assisted on the second one, by Bill Guerin.