Perhaps the Flyers were due for a dud at this point.
They came into Saturday night’s contest 4-1-1, had won the first two games of a three-game road trip, didn’t have Ryan Ellis again and were playing for the third time in four nights.
Regardless of whether the circumstances were a valid reason for the outcome, there’s no denying the Flyers looked flat and tired in a 4-0 loss to the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Their forecheck-oriented, possession-based game never got going. It’s a style driven by effort and the Flyers just didn’t have any giddyap.
As the Flyers trailed 2-0, head coach Alain Vigneault emptied his net with 4:43 minutes left in the game. Calgary answered with a goal before Johnny Gaudreau tacked on one more when Carter Hart got back between the pipes.
The Flyers went 2-1-0 on their swing through Western Canada. They come home 4-2-1 overall.
The Flames are rolling, having won six straight to improve to 6-1-1. Their streak features wins over five Metropolitan Division clubs and five road victories.
• Hart was his team’s best player and no other Flyer was even close.
He finished with 32 saves on 35 shots and gave the Flyers a chance.
His first goal allowed came on the Flames’ third power play. Rasmus Ristolainen, who has committed a penalty in four of his five games, was whistled for interference and Sean Monahan capitalized to give Calgary a 1-0 lead just about midway through the game.
The Flyers were at their poorest and most sluggish during the second period. They were outshot 16-5 but trailed only 1-0 when the middle frame was finished.
Calgary’s second goal was on another power play after fourth-liner Zack MacEwen was whistled for hooking in the offensive zone. Hart had no shot on Matthew Tkachuk’s marker as the Flames went tic-tac-toe to break down the Flyers’ penalty kill.
Calgary started cooking near the end of the first period. Hart had to make five saves in the final three and a half minutes of the opening stanza to keep the game scoreless after 20 minutes.
Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom made 20 saves for the shutout. The Flyers, who entered scoring 4.17 goals per game, had only nine shots through the first two periods.
Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux and Travis Konecny combined for 12 of the Flyers’ 20 shots.
• The Flyers’ penalty kill is 24 for 30 (80 percent) so far on the season. The club has gone on the PK 21 times over the last four games and has committed 37 penalties through seven games. That’s too many and the Flyers eventually were burned by the infractions Saturday night.
• Ellis missed his fourth straight game with a day-to-day undisclosed injury. He has been considered day to day for over a week now. Clearly, the injury has lingered or has at least been nagging Ellis.
The Flyers are likely being cautious given they’re only seven games into an 82-game season. They’ll want the all-situation defenseman as close to 100 percent as possible so he’s good for the long run. One would think Tuesday is a realistic possibility for Ellis’ return.
• The Flyers practice Monday in Voorhees, New Jersey before welcoming Shayne Gostisbehere and the Coyotes on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
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