Hockey / Sports

Flyers fall to Bruins at home

PHILADELPHIA -- It took one week for the Flyers to turn into the team from three months ago.

After Saturday's 6-1 home loss to the Boston Bruins extended their winless streak to four games, the Flyers were honest about a season that must be repaired before it flounders further.

"You lose a few games, and I think you get fragile," coach Craig Berube said. "Right now, the way I look at our team, we're a fragile team out there."

After going 24-12-5 during a three-month stretch that seemed to resuscitate their season, the Flyers punctuated this week's lull with a humiliating loss. They trailed by four goals before the second intermission. They committed six penalties. They did not appear to be in the same class as the Bruins, one of the NHL's elite teams.

"It has to be the most embarrassing game I've been involved with (this season)," captain Claude Giroux said.

The Flyers are 25-22-6. Their 56 points leave them on the edge of the playoff hunt with 29 games remaining.

Goalie Steve Mason said this is a bad time for a skid because teams around them in the standings are winning. Of more concern is that the Flyers are not playing like a team worthy of the postseason.

"If that loss doesn't open eyes, we don't even have to look at the standings," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "We just have to look at that game at what happened. That's one of the top teams in the league. And they showed that to us. If that's not a wake-up call for us, we're not supposed to be on this team."

Saturday's problems started early in the first period. The Flyers took a pair of penalties in the first six minutes. The Bruins used the second power play to take a 1-0 lead when Zdeno Chara's shot ricocheted off Braydon Coburn's skate and went top shelf for a 1-0 lead. Jarome Iginla added a goal 18 seconds before the first intermission to hand the Flyers a two-goal deficit.

The Flyers could not respond after the break. Reilly Smith scored an unassisted goal that banked off Mason's backside for a 3-0 lead. That was the Flyers' cue to start fighting. Scott Hartnell engaged in fisticuffs with Johnny Boychuk soon after the faceoff, which at least offered fans a brief respite from booing.

Berube pulled Mason for Ray Emery after the fourth goal. Giroux's 15th goal of the season put the Flyers on the board in the third period before the Bruins quickly added two more to continue the humiliation.

Berube thinks the team's issue is confidence, not fatigue. The psyche must quickly improve. The Flyers host the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday before a three-game West Coast trip against opponents with a combined 55-9-8 home record.

Hartnell said Sunday's Flyers Wives Carnival could give the players a chance for perspective. Thousands of fans are paying to meet them, and they're not pleasing those fans on the ice.

If they want to play meaningful spring hockey, they cannot afford more performances such as Saturday's.

"If you want to be a good team, if you want to be a playoff team, if you want to do something in the playoffs," Berube said, "you better be consistent."

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