It's a good bet Flyers coach Dave Hakstol told his players to go into their Christmas break looking at the big picture - and not their clunker in Newark on Thursday, a 4-0 loss to a New Jersey team that had lost seven straight.

The big picture: The Flyers, thanks to an 11-2-1 run, are the Eastern Conference's second wild-card team.

They are 20-12-4 overall, including an admirable 12-5-1 record in nine sets of back-to-back games.

The listless loss in New Jersey - right winger Wayne Simmonds called it "probably the worst game we played all year" - made them 6-2-1 in the second end of back-to-back games this season.

"It was the first time it caught up to us just a little bit," Hakstol said of playing on consecutive nights. "That's going to happen. . . . If we get one somewhere, make it a two-goal game in the first 10-plus minutes of the third period, we've got ourselves a ballgame. But we couldn't do that. We just couldn't get rolling."

The Flyers were off Friday and will not be back on the ice until they practice in Voorhees on Tuesday before a difficult three-game road trip. They resume playing Wednesday in St. Louis (18-12-5), then meet San Jose (20-12-1 entering Friday) on Dec. 30, and Anaheim (17-12-6) on Jan. 1.

When the Flyers face Ken Hitchcock's Blues, center Sean Couturier will likely return to the lineup, which might push Nick Cousins from center to left wing. Couturier could go back to centering the second line, with Brayden Schenn returning as the top-line left winger, replacing the injured Michael Raffl.

Raffl, who has seven goals in 27 games, will be out a week or two with an apparent knee injury suffered in Thursday's loss. The Flyers are 11-2-1 since Raffl joined Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek on the top line.

Hakstol might decide to leave Schenn as the second-line center and juggle the left wingers, perhaps moving Travis Konecny to the top line to get him going. Konecny is goalless in his last 21 games.

The Flyers are also 11-2-1 since Schenn was shifted from left wing to center; he spent the first two games on the fourth line, then was moved to the second line.

If Couturier is inserted as the third-line center, Cousins might be shifted from center to left wing.

Couturier, who has been skating regularly with the team at recent practices, hasn't played since Nov. 22. He has five goals and eight points in 20 games.

If Couturier isn't ready Wednesday, Boyd Gordon is another option. There's also a chance Matt Read might be ready to return from an oblique injury.

The Flyers have 44 points in 36 games and are on a 100-point pace. They were 15-14-7 (37 points) at a corresponding point last season.

Breakaways. The Flyers are 9-4-2 against the Western Conference. . . . The Flyers power play is 0 for 15 in the last six games. The penalty kill had been successful on 16 straight kills over six games before allowing two power-play goals Wednesday. . . . The Flyers will have nine of their prospects competing in the World Junior Championships, including goalie Carter Hart and defenseman Phil Myers, for Team Canada. The tourney starts Monday. . . . Voracek leads the Flyers with 35 points, while Simmonds has a team-high 16 goals. . . . The Flyers are 4-3 against the Metropolitan Division; they play 23 of their final 46 games against Metro teams. . . . The Flyers' next home game is Jan. 4 against the New York Rangers. . . . Former Flyers Sam Gagner, Scott Hartnell, and Sergei Bobrovsky have helped spark Columbus' resurgence. The Flyers face the Blue Jackets for the first time Jan. 8 in Columbus.

@BroadStBull philly.com/flyersblog