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Mistakes costly as Flyers’ winless streak reaches 8 with loss to Capitals

Here’s what happens when bad teams do bad things: The puck winds up in the back of their net.

Proof of this was on display at the Capital One Arena on Tuesday night in the nation’s capital.

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The Flyers made periodic mistakes against the defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals and nearly all of them proved costly.

Typifying this mess was a botched handoff play between Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux in the second period.

Couturier made too soft a pass at the Philly blue line, Jakub Vrana intercepted and raced the length of the ice to score his first of two goals in the game, handing the Capitals a 3-1 lead on the way to a 5-3 defeat of Philadelphia.

That loss extended the Flyers’ winless streak to eight games (0-6-2). They have not won a game since defeating the New York Rangers two days before Christmas.

The Flyers managed to hold the Capitals to a 1-1 tie in the first period, mainly because they allowed only four shots on newly acquired (off waivers) goalie Mike McKenna.

Tom Wilson’s first of two goals at 4:21 gave Washington a 1-0 lead but Jake Voracek responded with a goal at 9:28 to tie the score.

On the play, defenseman Michal Kempny’s ill-advised cross-ice pass was picked off by Oskar Lindblom. He set up Voracek for a shot past goaltender Pheonix Copley.

It was a much different story in the second period as the Capitals scored three unanswered goals, including the pair by Vrana.

T.J. Oshie scored at 9:19 to make it 2-1 Washington. Oshie stood in the slot and tipped Lars Eller’s shot past McKenna.

After the first Vrana goal at 11:22, he struck again at 15:55. This time, his shot from just along the goal line found its way through McKenna’s pads and the outcome was essentially decided.

Wayne Simmonds scored in the closing minutes to close the deficit to two goals, then Claude Giroux scored with 6.7 seconds to play. But it wasn't enough as Washington scored with 2.1 seconds to play into an empty Flyers' net.

Once again, the lack of a consistent push on an opponent’s net made it easy for the goaltender to stop Philadelphia’s sporadic offense.

Before the game, coach Scott Gordon indicated the Flyers might be thinking a little too much and not just playing by natural instinct.

“There’s a lot of things going on in a lot of heads,’’ Gordan said. “Sometimes it’s their own personal successes and failures. Sometimes it can be contracts, sometimes it can be who you are playing on any given night.

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“To me, it’s not so much about systems. That’s one thing I didn’t want to do when I came here, I didn’t want to overload them with a bunch of changes. We haven’t been getting scored on off defensive coverages. Our biggest failure has been off the rush. That’s an area we need to get better at.’’

Short shots

The Flyers scratched Jordan Weal as Phil Varone returned to the lineup. … Radko Gudas and Devante Smith-Pelly got into it in the third period after Gudas flattened Nic Dowd.

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