PHILADELPHIA – Another night, another close-but-no-cigar performance.
The Flyers kept Tuesday night’s game close, finally earning a tie with a goal midway through the third period against the St. Louis Blues.
But the Flyers needed only 42 seconds to give that one right back and went on to a 4-1 loss at the Wells Fargo Center, extending their winless streak to six games.
The Flyers probably played a sounder all-around game than it had over the past week. In some respects, the Blues might be a more dangerous team than the Pens, Caps and ‘Canes of recent confrontations.
Oskar Lindblom’s goal at 8:09 of the third period brought the Flyers even at 1-1. Lindblom fired a shot through a Scott Laughton screen and past goalie Jordan Binnington for his eighth goal of the season.
But the Blues came right back at 8:51 with a short-range goal from Vladimir Tarasenko to put the Blues ahead for good. Later, the Blues scored twice into an empty net to account for the final margin.
Flyers captain Claude Giroux said the Flyers are very frustrated because they put in these good efforts and have nothing to show for them.
“I think we’re very frustrated,’’ he said. “Played a good game tonight most of the time. Again, in the third, we just couldn’t get it done.’’
The way the Flyers crumble late in games is cause for concern. It’s humiliating to score a big goal to tie a game, then surrender a goal in a matter of seconds to decide the outcome.
“You just have to keep your emotions tight,’’ Giroux said. “Be composed and just do your job out there. I think tonight that (lack of composure) hurt us.’’
This habit of giving up a goal right after scoring one is the definition of frustration.
“I think that’s a good word,’’ Laughton said. “I don’t know if it’s confidence. Definitely in other games when we’re up a couple goals I would say that would be confidence. It’s tough.’’
Interim head coach Mike Yeo confirmed those give-one-back junctures are crucial in the game.
“Those are critical moments,’’ he said. “You’ve got the momentum, you have to re-establish it right away. Get back on your horse, get back on the attack. We got on our heels right away and it ended up in the back of our net. That game was a winnable game for us. We have to find a way to do it.’’
For the 30th time this season the Flyers allowed an opponent to score first and as the record (now 3-23-4) shows, the numbers were not in their favor.
The Blues struck at 11:50 of the first period with that old Flyer favorite, Brayden Schenn, doing the honors. His shot eluded Martin Jones, once again filling in for regular starter Carter Hart (eye infection).
Yeo said Hart took part in Tuesday morning’s skate but there was too much swelling around his eye to allow him to play. He remains a possibility for Saturday afternoon’s game against Washington.
The Flyers were still on the verge of scoring as time ran out in the second period. Philadelphia had a Grade-A chance to score on the power play but Giroux’s point-bank shot from the left circle flew high and wide.
In the third period, the Flyers kept it interesting. Only a great save by Binnington prevented a goal by Lindblom off a Laughton feed. Later Justin Braun rattled a shot off the crossbar. Then Lindblom finally broke through for the Flyers.
“I think we played two good games against Pittsburgh and Washington,’’ Giroux said. “And Carolina, too. Right now we need to play a perfect game to win. It’s not happening and it’s very frustrating. It’s very hard not to let frustration in your game. But we’re playing for one another here. We’re definitely not far.’’
Connor Bunnaman, who was put on waivers (and cleared) several days ago, was recalled under emergency conditions from the AHL Lehigh Valley Phantoms but did not play against the Blues.
The Flyers entered Tuesday night’s game with 287 man-games lost to injury. That’s the most for a Flyers team since the 2014-15 season when the injury list totaled 322. . .Cam Atkinson (three shorthanded goals) is one of only five NHL players with three or more shorthanded goals this season.