NEWARK, N.J. - A weekend that began with so much optimism has ended with the Flyers desperately clinging to their fading playoff hopes.
After a dispirited 5-2 loss Sunday to the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center, coach Craig Berube and his players were questioning the team's fortitude and competitive level.
"Today I thought mentally we weren't there in this game," Berube said. "I think that defeat in Boston obviously had an effect on our team and mentally we weren't there today."
Berube referred to Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss in Boston, when the Bruins scored the equalizer with 14.1 seconds left in regulation.
The bad aftertaste of earning just one point carried into New Jersey.
Entering the weekend four points behind Boston for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot, the Flyers, who have 15 games remaining, now trail the Bruins by seven points. Boston has two games in hand.
So with that in mind, let the indictments begin.
"We don't come to play every night," winger Wayne Simmonds said.
This was one of those nights.
"I think we are thinking too much and everybody is pretty frustrated and we compete but maybe we don't compete the right way," captain Claude Giroux said. "We have to stop thinking too much and play the game."
When asked if the Flyers are underachieving this season, goalie Steve Mason pulled no punches.
"Yeah, I believe so," Mason said. "That is the frustrating thing. You can see what type of team we can be and it is just not there on a consistent basis and that has been a problem all year long: the consistency."
For one night the Devils played like the team they honored before the game, their 1995 Stanley Cup championship squad, entertaining the sellout crowd of 16,592.
Mason stopped a breakaway by Stephen Gionta early in the first three minutes but wasn't as fortunate moments later, or for that matter the rest of the game.
The Devils' Adam Henrique opened the scoring, taking advantage when Flyers defenseman Mark Streit failed to clear the puck. Henrique sent a backhand past Mason just 4 minutes, 49 seconds into the game.
Flyers center Ryan White tied the score when he tipped in a Luke Schenn shot with 12:15 left in the first period. White was the Flyers' best player in the team's drab performance.
The Devils took a 2-1 lead early in the second period when Jacob Josefson scored a shorthanded goal. Mason blocked Gionta's initial shot but allowed a bad rebound and couldn't stop Josefson from tapping it in on the short side.
Before that goal, the Flyers were dominating play. That goal seemed to sap their emotion.
New Jersey boosted the lead to 3-1 when Eric Gelinas scored on the power play, a shot from the point with 1:51 left in the second period.
Henrique earned his second goal of the game, scoring on a two-on-zero break, taking a pass from Steve Bernier early in the third period.
The Flyers made it 4-2 on Michael Raffl's first career shorthanded goal with 8:16 left. He walked in on goal after receiving a pass from White.
Gionta added a goal on a break to end the scoring and put the final dagger in the Flyers' floundering weekend.
"We have to regroup here and have a game Tuesday," Berube said, referring to a home matchup with Dallas. "I've got to refocus them and get them dialed back in for the game Tuesday."
At this point, there is lot of dialing to do for the Flyers coach.