This time, the Flyers had the opposition take it to 'em.
Alain Vigneault's team never had the reins Tuesday night in a 3-1 loss to the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome.
The defeat marked the first in regulation for the Flyers (2-1-1), who must shift their focus to salvaging a game on this Western Canada road trip.
The Flames (3-3-1) had their way, outshooting the Flyers, 38-22, and putting the pressure on Brian Elliott.
• The Flyers had difficulty getting the puck ice, which gave them little chance to play Vigneault's preferred style. When you can't successfully transition the puck out of the defensive zone and through the neutral zone, there's no shot to play a possession-based game.
The issue wasn't effort. The Flyers just weren't sharp and the Flames were fast, dangerous and all over the puck.
• To make matters worse, the Flyers did not help Elliott, who was making his first start of the season. The first two goals allowed were self-inflicted products. The third was an empty-netter.
Elliott made some tough stops and finished with 35 saves. He gave the Flyers an honest chance on the road. They were problematic in front of him.
• The Flames scored what turned out to be the game-winner in the second period. Five seconds after a faceoff in the Flyers' end, Calgary made it 2-0 when Andrew Mangiapane's shot bounced off Travis Sanheim's stick and past Elliott.
• A bright spot among a not-so-bright performance from the Flyers was Matt Niskanen. He scored his first goal as a Flyer on a delayed penalty in the third period. But the 32-year-old has been even better defensively with his decisions, breaking up scoring chances and moving the puck. He has been as advertised and a major improvement on the blue line.
Niskanen with his first goal as a Flyer! pic.twitter.com/llnGxZ4Ejp
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) October 16, 2019
• Jakub Voracek opened the game on the third line with Scott Laughton and Tyler Pitlick after a third-period demotion in last Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Cannucks. Clearly Vigneault wanted to see smarter decisions - and maybe smarter effort - from Voracek, while James van Riemsdyk played on the first line following a solid performance against Vancouver.
With the Flyers trailing, 2-0, the lines were shuffled in the third period and Voracek saw time with Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux but couldn't get much cooking.
Giroux (one assist), Voracek and van Riemsdyk have combined for one point during the first four games. The early drought is uncharted territory for Voracek and van Riemsdyk, who both had previously never gone scoreless through their opening four games of a season.
The good thing is the Flyers know the offense will come from those three and the team is still 2-1-1.
• The Flyers were outmatched in the opening five minutes, when the Flames were a step ahead in every phase and set the tone.
Michael Frolik beat Elliott just 1:35 into the action on an ugly sequence by the Flyers. After Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov misconnected on a pass up ice, Justin Braun failed to clear the puck and then inadvertently tripped Elliott as Frolik blasted his shot.
The Flyers were fortunate to be trailing by only one goal at first intermission. They could have done more than just weather the storm but went 0 for 3 on the power play and finished 0 for 4 overall. They were sluggish and then sloppy.
• The Flyers finish their three-game road trip with the second half of a back-to-back set when they take on Connor McDavid and the Oilers Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP). Edmonton is 5-1-0 and McDavid has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in six games.
The Flyers are back at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday to play the Stars (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
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