PHILADELPHIA – It might be early in the season but a lot of these points the Flyers are giving away could come back to bite them later in the year.
The Flyers surrendered a tying goal to Calgary with 1:23 to play on Saturday and went on to lose in a shootout by a 3-2 score.
It was the eighth time in the last 12 games the Flyers were forced to play past regulation time.
The Flyers are now 3-5 in shootouts. They lead the NHL in the total number of these tiebreakers.
Matthew Tkachuk of Calgary scored the only goal of the shootout at the Wells Fargo Center.
Kevin Hayes gave the Flyers a brief 2-1 lead with 3:46 to play. Joel Farabee stripped goalie David Rittich of the puck behind the net and fed Hayes in front.
But Calgary tied it with time running out. The Flames pulled Rittich for a sixth attacker and scored when Elias Lindholm punched in the rebound of a Rasmus Andersson shot off the end boards past goalie Carter Hart.
This was a game the Flyers very easily could have won if not for that “unlucky’’ bounce at the end of the game.
Instead, they once again had to settle for a single point.
Calgary came in having lost six straight games and after two periods in this game had not scored a goal in the last 104 minutes and 16 seconds.
Defenseman Travis Sanheim acknowledged the Flyers shouldn’t be satisfied with another shootout loss.
“It’s happened a few times I guess,’’ Sanheim said. “You have to find ways to close out games. That’s a tough one at the end, the guy misses the net by five feet and it ends up right on their stick.
“We have to try to close out those games, find ways to win.’’
The Flyers are now 11-7-5, meaning they technically have more losses than wins.
Players said they thought they played a sound game but just had some misfortune in the third period.
“It (losing the lead late) stinks,’’ Scott Laughton said. “But if we continue to push the pace like that, we’re going to be OK.’’
The only goal of the first two periods was one for the history books.
It came off the stick of Jake Voracek, who had waited 12-plus games to get his 200th NHL goal.
Sanheim started the play by blasting a short shot at Rittich. The puck trickled through the netminder’s pads and Voracek only had to push the puck about a foot to get it across the goal line.
Meanwhile, Hart barely had to work in the second period as he faced only three shots.
Calgary tied it at 1:01 of the third period on a goal by Andrew Mangiapane. Morgan Frost committed a turnover (via a Mikael Backlund check) coming out of the corner and lost the puck to Mangiapane, who had an open shot from the faceoff dot.
“That’s definitely one I would like to have back,’’ Frost said. “I take the blame for that shift and that goal.’’
The puck appeared to bounce off defenseman Philippe Myers’ glove on the way to the net.
“It kind of deflected off of him and went under my arm,’’ Hart said. “It’s kind of the way these games have been going. Right now the bounces just aren’t going our way.’’
Coach Alain Vigneault was satisfied with the effort, essentially claiming his team deserved better.
“If you look at our overall game, the way we played, I thought we played extremely well,’’ he said. “We just came out on the wrong side of a shootout.’’
Vigneault raised a few eyebrows by benching defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere for this game.
Gostisbehere has struggled at times this season. An offensive-minded defenseman, he has only one goal and a total of six points in 22 games with a minus-5.
“There’s no doubt he’s a hard-working young man,’’ Vigneault said of Gostisbehere. “In my estimation, I am expecting a little bit more as far as plays with the puck. An offensive defenseman has to have the ability to beat the forecheck and to know when to jump in. I have seen some of that. . .he can play better, he will get better. Hopefully that’s what happens.’’
>Provorov keeps streak alive
Defenseman Ivan Provorov played in his 269th consecutive game (he’s never missed one in his career), although Vigneault listed him as a game-time decision with a possible injury issue.
Provorov continues to lead the NHL in shifts taken and is also among the league’s ice time leaders.
>Lines changed again
In an attempt to get his team’s offense going, Vigneault made some more line changes on Saturday.
Voracek was placed with Sean Couturier and Oskar Lindblom on what was listed as a second line behind the Claude Giroux-Frost-Travis Konecny unit.
Laughton, returning for the first time since returning from surgery to repair a fractured finger, centered the fourth line, flanked by James van Riemsdyk and Michael Raffl.
The third line was Hayes centering Farabee and Tyler Pitlick.