NEWARK, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers, desperate for points, say every game they play until the end of the regular season is like a playoff matchup.
Truth be told, they may be the only "playoff" games they play this year.
The Flyers, appearing disinterested at times, continued their march to nowhere Wednesday night as they dropped a 5-2 decision to the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.
That left the Flyers (12-15-1) with the most regulation losses in the NHL.
With their fourth defeat in the last five games, the 11th-place Flyers slipped six points behind New Jersey in the Eastern Conference. The Devils, who began the night in seventh place in the East, are 3-0 against the Flyers this season, and they have won the last six meetings between the teams in Newark.
The teams will meet again Friday at the Wells Fargo Center.
"We have to get our swagger back, our mojo back," said winger Scott Hartnell, adding that the blame for the underachieving season should not be placed on coach Peter Laviolette.
"I'm confident we can dig ourselves ... out of this hole," captain Claude Giroux said. "We're a team that should make the playoffs, and we're going to battle to the end of the season to make it."
Adam Henrique (three points) scored a pair of goals, and Flyers-killer Patrik Elias had a goal and an assist for New Jersey (13-9-5), giving him 35 goals and 80 points in 79 career games against Philadelphia.
Never mind that the Devils started a struggling backup goalie, 39-year-old Johan Hedberg, who entered the game with an .879 save percentage and 2.97 goals-against average while filling in for the injured Martin Brodeur.
Never mind that the Devils had not won in regulation in their last nine games since Feb. 21.
Never mind that the Flyers, their backs against the proverbial wall, should have played with unbent urgency.
The Flyers, playing without flu-ridden defenseman Luke Schenn, fell into a 3-1 first-period hole despite having a 3-1 edge in power plays.
A turnover by Andrej Meszaros led to Elias' rebound goal just 2 minutes, 2 seconds into the game.
The Flyers tied it on Jake Voracek's power-play goal -- a one-timer from the right circle after a slick feed from Wayne Simmonds -- midway through the first period.
But just 36 seconds later, disaster struck as Henrique's drive from above the right circle deflected off the Flyers' Matt Read and past goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
Late in the period, Read failed to keep the puck in the zone at the blue line. Ilya Kovalchuk burst past him and scored on a shorthanded breakaway -- firing a shot high and to the short side -- to put the Devils ahead, 3-1, with 2:42 left in the session.
New Jersey made it 4-1 -- its highest goal total in the last 13 games -- when Andrei Loktionov used a toe drag to get around Braydon Coburn and scored from the slot with 13:29 remaining in the second period.
"I'm just tired of losing," Bryzgalov said after his goals-against average climbed to 2.86 and his save percentage dipped to .896. " ... I don't have the answers."
After Tuesday's practice, Bryzgalov, trying to stress the importance of the home-and-home series with the Devils, said the Flyers were "done" if they lost both games.
If he's right, the season -- and perhaps some jobs -- may be hanging in the balance on Friday night.
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