TAMPA, Fla. - Ilya Bryzgalov was so angry that he was talking to himself.
Sitting in his stall with his skates on inside the Flyers' locker room at the St. Pete Times Forum, Bryzgalov was trying to come up with answers for his latest ebb in a season full of ups and downs.
This time, it was after perhaps his worst performance as a Flyer, when he allowed four goals on the first 10 shots he saw, en route to a 5-1 hurtin' put on by the Lightning.
He didn't know quite how to describe his performance.
"Outstanding," Bryzgalov said, dripping with sarcasm. "What do you think? We lose, 5-1. After 4-2 and 6-0. How do you think I feel about my game? What do you think?"
Now, all Bryzgalov needs is to check his iPhone Compass app, the one that helped him get out of the woods earlier in the season.
On the heels of a seven-game winning streak to start the month, the Flyers have lost four of their last five, being outscored, 18-5, in those four losses. The only game in that stretch that Bryzgalov did not start was the only game the Flyers won. Then again, Bryzgalov has had stretches of 5-0-1 and 6-0-0 this season.
Overall, Bryzgalov's save percentage has dipped to .890 and his goals-against average has climbed to 3.01. Only Michal Neuvirth, Dwayne Roloson, Steve Mason and Marty Brodeur have a worse save percentage with at least 16 games played.
When asked whether he was worried about Bryzgalov's play, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette did not exactly give his $51 million man a vote of confidence.
"In the end, I think we can all be a little bit better," Laviolette said. "We can all do a better job here."
It was just the fourth time the Flyers have lost back-to-back games this season. They have not lost three straight at any point.
With the loss, the Flyers enter tomorrow night's contest tied in points with Pittsburgh for second in the Atlantic Division. They could slide from first to third in the division - and fifth place in the Eastern Conference - in only 8 days.
"We just didn't score on our chances," Jaromir Jagr said. "We played most of the game in their zone. Everything went our way 2 weeks ago. Now it looks like nothing goes our way."
Last night, the shot count seemed to tell the story. Combining the first and third periods, the Flyers outshot Tampa Bay by a total of 29-8. In that middle frame, the Flyers managed only three shots to the Lightning's eight.
"We lost our identity a little bit in the second period," Laviolette said. "It went from what was a good period to a period where we sat back and didn't move."
Then, in the third period, with the Lightning already clinging to a 4-1 lead, the Flyers had little wiggle room in front of Mathieu Garon.
"It doesn't really matter if you outplay them or not," Jagr said. "The goal is to score more goals to win the hockey game. When they had the lead, they could do anything they want."
That shot count, instead, says more about the Flyers' own end.
"We were aware that they are a good team and if you fool around, you will get in trouble," Bryzgalov said. "I think the team played really well. Their goalie played an outstanding game. Our goaltender, me by myself, needs to be better. That's the bottom line."
Brayden Schenn returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a concussion on Dec. 3. He replaced healthy scratch Jody Shelley and skated with Zac Rinaldo and Harry Zolnierczyk . . . The Flyers have seven losses on the road this season. Four of them are to the Rangers and Lightning (two apiece) . . . The north and south sides of the Empire State Building will be lit in the Flyers' orange and white colors tonight in honor of the upcoming Winter Classic. The east and west sides of the "World's Most Famous Office Building" will be glowing in the Rangers' blue and red.