The challenge of a long road trip finally caught up to the Flyers on Sunday night in a 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Dennis Gilbert scored at 7:29 of the third period, giving the Flames a lead they never relinquished and the Flyers’ nine-game point streak on the road came to an end.
The 7-0-2 streak was their longest since the 2005-06 season.
Goaltender Samuel Ersson could not be faulted for this defeat. He was under siege almost from the opening whistle.
Philadelphia, now 1-1-2 since going on the road on Dec. 22, came into the game with a chance to take over the NHL lead in road points this season.
Somehow the Flyers came out of a sporadic first period with a 1-0 lead. During an ice-clean timeout during the period, coach John Tortorella gave his bench a real earful about their loose defense.
If not for the work of Ersson, the score might have had the Flames up by at least a goal or two. But the Flyers’ netminder came up with several spectacular saves, including stops on Jonathan Huberdeau and Rasmus Andersson.
Both of those saves came from close-range shots, with the Flyers’ defense looking a bit confused on coverage assignments.
“Not many guys going at all,” was Tortorella’s post-game assessment.
Philadelphia’s goal came by way of a nice pass from Ryan Poehling to Rasmus Ristolainen, who was left with an easy shot past goalie Jacob Markstrom at 9:44. It was Ristolainen’s first goal of the season.
The Flyers held that lead until there was 1:39 left to play in the second period. After several failed attempts to clear the puck from their defensive zone, the Flyers watched as Mikael Backlund’s mid-range shot sailed past Ersson.
After Gilbert scored with a point-blank shot in front of the net to give the Flames the lead, Nazem Kadri scored with 5:31 to play. But Bobby Brink countered with 3:24 to play for the Flyers.
The Flames then got an empty-net goal from Blake Coleman to make it 4-2 but the Flyers rallied again when Egor Zamula scored with 1:22 to play.
Philadelphia fell to 15-2-1 when scoring the first goal of the game.
Travis Konecny played despite illness and injury issues. He missed the third period of Friday night’s 2-1 loss at Seattle. . .The Flyers return to action on Tuesday night when they visit Edmonton to play the Oilers. That game completes their western road trip. They come back to Philadelphia on Thursday to host Columbus. . .Cam Atkinson had several good chances to score, especially on a close-range shot in the second period, but he failed to hit the back of the net for a 21st straight game.