The Philadelphia Flyers made a surge into the wild-card race over the past two months but, sitting eight points back of the final playoff spot with six games remaining, it appears the team will fall short of the postseason.
The Flyers missed out on another chance to try to gain ground Sunday in a 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals and forward Jakub Voracek said that's been a familiar feeling for the team.
“We had a good push, but unfortunately, anytime we got close - three points, five points - and we played those big teams in front of us [in] those four-point games, we choked,” Voracek told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We couldn’t find a way to win those big games, and that’s why we are where we are right now.”
The Flyers, who fired head coach Dave Hakstol 31 games into the season, have posted a 17-9-2 record since the all-star break under Scott Gordon, but failed to overcome their slow start.
“We put ourselves in that situation. We couldn’t dig ourselves out," Voracek added. “There’s no one else to blame but us.”
The Flyers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last year and have reached the second round just once since Voracek joined the team in 2011. He secured his third straight 20-goal season with the lone tally in Sunday's loss but was struggling to find the positives post-game.
“I don’t want to take anything out of this season, to be honest," Voracek said. “I had way higher expectations. I think everybody did before we walked into the locker room in training camp. It’s really disappointing. We have to have a good look in the mirror and straighten some things out before we come in next year.”
Hakstol was fired shortly after Chuck Fletcher was named general manager of the team in December. Fletcher is expected to be aggressive in his first off-season with the team this summer, though Voracek shied away from giving his advice on what changes are needed.
“Tough to say. It’s not my decision,” Voracek said. “I’ve got to prepare myself in the summer and come in here in shape and be a better player, more experienced. Hopefully, we won’t have to focus on digging ourselves out of a hole by December.”