PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 07: The Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate a second period goal in front of Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 7, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

How worried should Flyers be after ’embarrassing’ defeat?


The Philadelphia Flyers didn’t just cough up a three-goal lead against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.

They let another two points slip out of their fingers and suffered their second loss in a row, sapping whatever momentum they had built over the last few weeks.

With a 11-13-1 record, they are only three points shy of a playoff spot, but have played in three more games than the eighth place New York Rangers. On top of that, the surging Washington Capitals are breathing down their necks, threatening to climb above them in the standings.

In other words, the Flyers have a hole to dig themselves out of, and only 23 games left to do it in.

Thursday’s contest was perhaps a microcosm of their problems this season. They showed flashes of what the team is capable of, but they couldn’t sustain it for a full 60 minutes.

“We talked about it after the first period that the Pittsburgh Penguins weren’t going to sit back and hand over two points,” Scott Hartnell said in a CSN Philly report. “They were going to come hard.

“Low and behold, before you know it, it’s 4-4. We just can’t do that. It’s embarrassing to the fans, embarrassing to one another, and we let another two points slip away … It was a big letdown. I don’t know why we would have stopped playing.”

Hartnell’s statement echoed Flyers captain Claude Giroux’s complaints last month that his team was “just going through the motions” and not competing for the complete 60 minutes.

All the same, the Flyers are down, but certainly not out.

Injuries have been a factor, but most of their key players are back now. With that in mind, maybe they can find some measure of redemption in Boston on Saturday.

“Go into Boston with a do-or-die attitude,” Hartnell said. “We’ve been saying it but now it’s time to get out there and back up our words and get a decisive win.

“We played a great 20, but 20 doesn’t get you anything these days.”

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.

Flames release Ryan Wilson from PTO

Ryan Wilson, Sidney Crosby
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The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.

The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.

Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.

The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.

He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.

The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.

The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.

The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.