Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter | Wednesday, 03.13.2013 / 11:34 PM

NEWARK, N.J. – Claude Giroux said it wasn’t supposed to go this way.

He said this game was a must-win game. This was supposed to be the game that catapulted the Flyers back into the thick of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.

This was supposed to be the turning point.

And yet, it wasn’t.

The Flyers gave up three first period goals – one on the power play, one even strength and one shorthanded – and never rebounded, losing a game they wanted to win so badly 5-2 to the New Jersey Devils.

The first period was a downer for a team that seems to play based on their emotional level, and the Flyers never recovered.

And to be honest, it’s become somewhat commonplace against the Devils, who seem to know how to knock the Flyers completely off their game.

“This one hurts,” said Scott Hartnell, who scored the second of the Flyers goals in the waning minutes of the game, with the outcome all but determined. “ It stings. You can use any adjective you want. But, tomorrow is a new day and we have to come to the rink with a working attitude. We’ll get through this.

“It seems the Devils have just stymied us the last couple years and it’s frustrating when you can’t figure it out. It’s not like we’re not trying. It’s just that everything we do… you pick your head up and there’s a defender right there, right in your face. That’s frustrating hockey.”

And it started on the first shift.

“Usually the first shift of the game sets the tone and we had the puck in our end and after 40 seconds I iced the puck,” Hartnell said. “It was a brain cramp, but it kind of started from there.”

Patrik Elias scored first for the Devils, banging a rebound past Ilya Bryzgalov after an Andrej Meszaros turnover allowed the Devils to get chances at the Flyers net.

The Flyers briefly tied it on a power play goal by Jake Voracek courtesy of a sick feed from Wayne Simmonds, but the era of good feeling lasted all of 36 seconds, as Adam Henrique scored on an easy wrister that went off of Bryzgalov’s blocker pad and then caromed off of the backchecking Matt Read’s leg and into the net.

“To be honest, I don’t know what to say,” said Bryzgalov, who was visibly exasperated after the game. “I’m just tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. I have nothing to say. It’s another disappointing loss. “

The Devils really put the Flyers in a bind later in the period when Read was unable to keep the puck in the offensive zone at the point on the power play, and was caught flat-footed by Ilya Kovalchuk who then scored top shelf over Bryzgalov’s glove on a shorthanded breakaway.

It was the eventual game-winner and it zapped the Flyers energy.

“It was a little dead inside the room here,” Hartnell said. “But we’re all professionals and we know what we have to do. We have to go out and skate… It just seemed like there were some mental breakdowns by everybody.”

The second period was better, as the Flyer limited mistakes, but another odd-man rush ended with a dazzling dangle by Andrei Loktionov that forced Braydon Coburn to slide out of the way and then beat Bryzgalov under his pad for 4-1.

Henrique scored a second goal on a power play to start the third period, and that put a nail in the coffin for the Flyers.

“There’s things that we’re doing where we make mistakes and chances come back in our direction and they end up in the back of our net,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “They’re mistakes that we shouldn’t be making.”

And yet they have, and it’s a pattern that is aggravating the team more than anything.

“It’s not fun losing, that’s for sure,” Hartnell said. “We get that a big win and then we lose a couple then we win a couple and then it’s three or four losses. That’s not fun hockey when you’re like that.

“We have to get our swagger back and get our mojo back somehow. It’s not just [Giroux]. It’s not just Danny [Briere]. It’s 20 guys that need to compete every night.”

To contact Anthony SanFilippo email or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37

Scoring Summary
1st Period
02:02NJD Patrik Elias (9) ASST: Adam Henrique (4), Steve Bernier (2) 1 - 0 NJD
09:45PHI PPG - Jakub Voracek (13) ASST: Wayne Simmonds (10), Claude Giroux (18) 1 - 1 Tie
10:21NJD Adam Henrique (8) ASST: Patrik Elias (18), Johan Hedberg (1) 2 - 1 NJD
17:18NJD SHG - Ilya Kovalchuk (10) ASST: Stephen Gionta (6) 3 - 1 NJD
2nd Period
06:31NJD Andrei Loktionov (4) ASST: Alexei Ponikarovsky (4) 4 - 1 NJD
3rd Period
01:16NJD PPG - Adam Henrique (9) ASST: Andrei Loktionov (3), Marek Zidlicky (9) 5 - 1 NJD
16:08PHI Scott Hartnell (2) ASST: Jakub Voracek (18) 5 - 2 NJD
Three Stars of the Game
Adam Henrique
Adam Henrique
G: 2Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 21:41
Johan Hedberg
Johan Hedberg
SA: 25TOI: 60:00
GA: 2EV: 16-17
PIM: 0PP: 5-6
SV%: .920SH: 2-2
Andrei Loktionov
Andrei Loktionov
G: 1Shots: 1
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 15:47
Penalty Summary
1st Period
02:34NJD Tom Kostopoulos  Tripping against  Zac Rinaldo
09:13NJD Ryan Carter  Tripping against  Zac Rinaldo
15:57NJD Bryce Salvador  Interference against  Wayne Simmonds
17:47PHI Wayne Simmonds  Interference against  Johan Hedberg
2nd Period
08:02NJD Anton Volchenkov  Hooking against  Claude Giroux
12:09PHI Daniel Briere  Too many men/ice - bench
19:39PHI Bruno Gervais  Closing hand on puck
3rd Period
03:09PHI Scott Hartnell  Boarding against  Ilya Kovalchuk
09:20PHI Scott Hartnell  Unsportsmanlike conduct
09:20PHI Scott Hartnell  Slashing against  Tom Kostopoulos
09:20NJD Tom Kostopoulos  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Scott Hartnell
18:13PHI Scott Hartnell  Slashing against  Andy Greene
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/41/6
Faceoff Wins2630
Blocked Shots158
Penalty Minutes1410
3K. FosterD0000010:46
5B. CoburnD00-20022:01
8N. GrossmannD00-10022:20
10B. SchennC00-23014:56
12S. GagneL00-33010:29
14S. CouturierC00-20011:25
17W. SimmondsR01-10216:12
19S. HartnellL1011816:12
24M. ReadR00-24021:12
25M. TalbotC0000015:03
26R. FedotenkoL0001013:27
27B. GervaisD00-12215:52
28C. GirouxC0112019:42
36Z. RinaldoC000007:35
41A. MeszarosD00-22020:24
44K. TimonenD0012022:49
48D. BriereC00-32010:34
93J. VoracekR1113017:44
30I. Bryzgalov2732.84459:53
2M. ZidlickyD0100023:39
5A. LarssonD0020018:26
6A. GreeneD0012018:08
10P. HarroldD0012015:55
11S. GiontaC0111010:54
12A. PonikarovskyL0111011:52
14A. HenriqueC2122021:41
17I. KovalchukR1024024:18
18S. BernierR0122013:30
19T. ZajacC00-12017:53
20R. CarterL00-16213:02
21A. LoktionovC1111015:47
22K. BarchR000109:32
23D. ClarksonR00-13020:59
24B. SalvadorD0000220:27
25T. KostopoulosR000148:33
26P. EliasC1123016:18
28A. VolchenkovD0021212:34
1J. Hedberg2325.92060:00