WASHINGTON - The bye week couldn't come at a better time for the fading Flyers.

They have lost 11 of their last 14 and have dropped eight straight on the road.

"We haven't been playing the greatest lately, and hopefully we can take this time to clear our minds and come back ready to go, have a little bit of pep in our step and be a little more focused," right winger Wayne Simmonds said Sunday after the Flyers' latest embarrassment, a 5-0 loss to the Capitals.

Because of the league-mandated bye, which teams take at different times, the Flyers are off the ice until they practice at 3 p.m. Friday in Voorhees. Their next game is Saturday against visiting New Jersey.

Simmonds called the Flyers' recent play "unacceptable. But it's over now and we just have to refocus, reset, and be ready when we get back."

Goalie Steve Mason, who allowed five goals on 17 shots and was pulled early in the third period, said the break will enable the players to "step back and get away for a few days, which I think will be good at this point in time, and come back . . . with a fresh mind-set and put this behind us."

"We're going to come back hungry and ready to go," defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said.

Ghost on benching

Gostisbehere was benched in Saturday's 6-3 loss in Boston and returned to the lineup Sunday. He was minus-2 in a team-high 21 minutes, 22 seconds.

He took the benching, his second of the season, in stride.

"You can obviously let it rattle you and let it set you back, but I'm going to go out there and do whatever it takes to help the team," he said. "If that's me being in the press box, that's me being in the press box. I'm here to help the team in any way possible."

The second-year defenseman has struggled in his own end.

"Right now, I think it's just getting back to work and doing all the little things," he said. "It's just not going to come easily, and it's something me personally and a lot [of us] have to look at."


The Flyers still hold the second wild-card spot but will probably fall out of that position by the time they play again. . . . Radko Gudas had six hits and Mark Streit had five shots.