Just last month, the Flyers were the NHL's hottest team, finding different ways to win 10 straight games.

Now they can't stop losing.

The Flyers have lost seven of their last eight games, including the last five.

"It's not baffling. It's not baffling at all," coach Dave Hakstol said of a skid that has followed a winning streak that equaled the third-longest in franchise history. "That's the game sometimes. But you have to control the things that are in your control."

The Flyers, who on Saturday afternoon will host a Tampa Bay team that is on its heels as it jockeys for a playoff spot, aren't controlling anything these days. Their defense, which was so steady during their winning streak, has fallen apart. Goalie Steve Mason, who started 22 of the last 24 games, looks fatigued, despite his half-hearted claims that he feels fine. Their offense has declined. Ditto their special teams.

And they continually fall behind early in games and are playing catch-up.

As a result, the Flyers, who hold the last wild-card spot thanks to their recent winning streak, watched a nine-point playoff lead dwindle to three points heading into Thursday's action.

"I don't think anybody in the locker room is thinking about that winning streak," right winger Jake Voracek said after scoring two goals in Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the speedier New York Rangers. "We're on a slide right now. We know that. We have to find a way to win some games here because you don't want to chase the playoffs again."

Voracek said that if you spend so much late-season energy "trying to get into the playoffs, it takes a lot out of you" when the postseason begins.

Here are some comparisons between the Flyers during their 10-game winning streak and their 1-5-2 skid:

The Flyers averaged 3.5 goals per game during their winning streak. They averaged 1.5 goals per game in the last eight contests.

Mason was 8-0 with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage during the winning streak. He is 1-5-2 with a 2.92 goals-against average and an .896 save percentage during the skid. In the last five losses, he had a 4.05 GAA and an .844 save percentage.

Claude Giroux had 12 points (five goals, seven assists) and a plus-10 rating during the 10-game run. He had three points (one goal, two assists) and a minus-8 rating in the last eight games. Giroux was minus-7 in the last five games, all losses.

During the winning streak, the Flyers outscored opponents, 9-4, on the power play. They were outscored on the power play, 5-3, over the last eight games.

Trailing, 1-0, despite playing relatively well in the first two periods Wednesday, the Flyers had the life taken out of them after Chris Kreider's goal early in the third.

"From there, we didn't play the game with a real purpose," Hakstol said. "We had a winnable game . . ."

The Rangers scored three of their goals on odd-man rushes.

"When we were winning games, we were playing well defensively," Hakstol said. "At this time of year, that's what you control."

Anaheim's John Gibson and the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist were outstanding in handing the Flyers their last two losses, respectively.

"You can't control the other team's goaltending," Hakstol said. "What you do control is what you do without the puck, the way you play together without the puck and the effort you give without the puck."

Their performances in those areas will have to change or their playoff spot will be gone, and their 10-game winning streak will be a blip on the radar.


A limited number of single-seat tickets remain for the Flyers-Penguins alumni game at the Wells Fargo Center at 7 p.m. Jan. 14. Tickets are also available for the golden anniversary reception Jan. 13 at SugarHouse Casino. Ticket information is available on the Flyers' website or by calling 215-336-3000. . . . The Phantoms' Taylor Leier, Jordan Weal, and T.J. Brennan (Moorestown) will play in the AHL All-Star Game Jan. 30 at the PPL Center in Allentown.


@BroadStBull www.philly.com/flyersblog