For the Flyers, it was a classic "trap" game Monday night against the lowly Florida Panthers.
It was their last game before a long holiday break, and human nature suggested they would be looking ahead to their mini-vacation.
Maybe that explains why they looked so flat, so listless, in their stunning 5-0 loss to the Panthers at the Wells Fargo Center.
"Obviously it was our worst game of the year - by far," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "I think there's a lesson to be learned. Every game you have to be focused, prepared. Today it looked like we didn't focus on the game and we were already on the break."
Florida entered the night 27th out of 30 NHL teams in points.
"I think we thought it would be a cakewalk before Christmas and they'd give us an early Christmas present with two points," winger Scott Hartnell said. "But obviously they were hungry."
It was just the Flyers' second regulation defeat in their last 15 games (10-2-3), and it ended their five-game winning streak, one that included victories over Eastern Conference contenders Boston, Pittsburgh, Montreal and the New York Rangers.
"We got outworked," said defenseman Sean O'Donnell, who slipped and gave the puck away to set up Florida's fourth goal. "You'd like to think as professional athletes, you come and play hard for 82 nights, but there are some nights where it's just [not there]. It's no excuse, but we had some real tough games lately . . . and we weren't able to get up for this game."
The Flyers will practice Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center and then won't be on the ice until Sunday. They will not play another game until next Tuesday in Vancouver.
"You want to go into the break feeling good about yourself and this will leave a bitter taste," captain Mike Richards said. "It's tough, but we're going to have some time to get some rest and recover and heal up some bumps and bruises.
Tomas Vokoun had to make just 26 saves as he notched his fourth shutout of the season.
Flyers rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, superb during most of the season, has a 4.20 goals-against average in his last three starts. He allowed four goals and was replaced by Brian Boucher late in the second period.
The Flyers were trying to go into their Christmas break with seven regulation losses. You have to go back to 1979, the year of The Streak, to find a season in which they had fewer regulation defeats at the holiday break.
In the 1979-80 season, the Flyers put together an incredible 35-game unbeaten streak; they were 22-1-9 (53 points) at Christmas.
The Flyers, now 22-8-5, had their 6-0-1 run snapped by a Florida team that took control with two late goals in the first period.
The first goal was a fluke. Bill Thomas fired a shot from along the right goal line that bounced off defenseman Oskars Bartulis' leg and past Bobrovsky with 2:33 left in the first.
Evgeny Dadonov made a sensational play to make it 2-0, beating Matt Carle (minus-3) to a puck that bounced off the side boards in the Flyers' end, darting past the defenseman, and tucking a shot past a sprawling Bobrovsky with 44 seconds to go in the first period.
Florida made it 3-0 when Shawn Matthias pounced on a second-period rebound that bounced off the right post and knocked it into a mostly vacant net. Boos echoed around the arena. The boos continued as Mike Santorelli tapped in a Steve Bernier crossing pass to make it 4-0 with 6:48 to go in the second, sending Bobrovsky to the bench.