An ongoing inability to score goals is bad enough, but when it comes against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, you might as well warm up the bus early.
The Flyers looked like they hadn’t quite woken up from their afternoon naps in a one-sided 4-0 loss on Tuesday night at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
Time was when the Flyers headed to Florida, it figured to be a few days in the sun and a couple fairly easy games against the Lightning and the Panthers.
Those days are over.
Both Tampa and Florida are powerhouses now, and a trip down south is no mini-vacation.
About the only two Flyers who showed up to play were goaltender Carter Hart and fourth-line right wing Zack MacEwen.
It made for the Flyers’ season-high three-game losing streak. And the loss extended the Flyers’ winless streak vs. the Lightning to 0-5-4. Their last win over Tampa came back in December, 2017. It’s the longest winless streak the Flyers have against any NHL team.
Wednesday night’s game at Florida promises to be a tough challenge as well.
Tampa pretty much dominated this game from start to finish. Flyers goalie Carter Hart did his best but Tampa just had too much t firepower, even without stars Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point.
Zach Bogosian scored the only goal of the first period when his shot went through an accidental screen by Flyer defenseman Nick Seeler.
“The first period was competitive,’’ Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “Unfortunately, they snuck one through there. Our guys battled hard but in the second, their power play gave them momentum. For the last 30 minutes of the game, we weren’t very good. Our passing game was off and that created a number of grade-A opportunities for them. They were the better team.’’
In the second period, a Joel Farabee turnover started a sequence which led to Tampa’s second goal. The Flyers stopped Tampa’s initial entry but Bogosian tracked down the puck behind the net and found Stamkos open for the goal at 6:43.
Corey Perry made it 3-0 at 16:17 with his first goal as a Lightning player. Alex Barre-Boulet scored in the third period to account for the four-goal margin.
The Flyers’ power play failed in one attempt and is now just three for its last 41 attempts.
MacEwen had several strong moves to the net and that was about the only offense the Flyers could muster.
“Zack was one of the positive notes tonight,’’ Vignealt said. “He made some plays with the puck. He seemed to have a lot of jump in his game. He definitely had quite a few opportunities. Hopefully the next opportunity he can capitalize on it.’’
Added MacEwen: “Obviously it’s not the result we were looking for but I think I can build off that. The guys made good plays to me. You want to finish some of those. It’s one thing to get the chances but when they start going in that’s a different story. This wasn’t our best tonight, I think we’ve got more.’’
Hart has been dealing with this lack of support on numerous nights.
“They did a good job of keeping us to the outside,’’ he said, “and not giving us second looks. They’re solid in their D-zone and when pucks got through (goalie Andrei) Vasilevskiy saw them.’’
>Brassard leaves early
Center Derick Brassard left the game at 2:42 of the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return to action.
>Atkinson among leaders
Entering the game, Cam Atkinson led the Flyers and ranked among the NHL’s top 20 with a plus-11 plus-minus rating. Through Monday action, 17 of the other 19 players in that group with Atkinson were from either Carolina, Calgary, Florida or Washington, which were the top four teams in the NHL in terms of goal differential, all holding a plus-20 or better. Atkinson held his plus-11 despite the Flyers having a team goal differential of plus-1; the others were Vladislav Gavrikov (plus-12) from Columbus (plus-4) and Josh Morrissey (plus-11) from Winnipeg (plus-8).
>Giroux gets closer
Claude Giroux began Tuesday night’s game just 10 points behind Bill Barber (883) for second place on the Flyers’ alltime scoring list. Giroux still has quite a way to go to catch Bob Clarke’s record 1,244 points for the franchise record.
Oskar Lindblom played his 200th game as a Flyer. . .Martin Jones is expected to start in goal for the Flyers in the Florida game. . .Stamkos’ goal was his 25th in 36 career games vs. the Flyers. . .The Flyers failed to reach the four-goal mark for the 12th straight game.