WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- They were facing an injury-ravaged team that is essentially playing out the string with a blue line being held together by a Band-Aid.
However, the Flyers could still muster little fight on Tuesday night, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Winnipeg Jets that puts a massive dagger in their faint playoff hopes.
The Flyers didn't exactly test a Winnipeg team that was without five regulars on defense. In fact, the Jets dressed a blue line corps that included three players just called up in the past few weeks from the American Hockey League team - including one making his NHL debut and another playing in his second game of the year.
As well, Winnipeg started goalie Michael Hutchinson for the first time since mid-January and just the 16th time all year.
The Flyers had just seven shots in each of the first two periods and five more in the final frame.
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Jordan Weal opened the scoring early in the second period when he knocked home a loose puck during a goalmouth scramble.
Winnipeg tied it up a few minutes later when Mathieu Perreault deflected a shot past goalie Steve Mason on the power play.
Both teams settled into a defensive shell that certainly didn't resemble some of the high-flying games of the past between them.
Blake Wheeler scored the winner for Winnipeg midway through the third period. Mark Scheifele added some insurance with just over five minutes left.
Michael Del Zotto scored with two seconds left in the game as the Flyers kicked off a four-game road trip in disappointing fashion.
It hasn't happened much lately, but coach Dave Hakstol went with the exact same lineup - including forward lines and defense pairs - as he did in last Sunday's 4-3 overtime win over Carolina. Some changes may be coming after Tuesday's performance.
Weal of misfortune
Weal will certainly be feeling this one. He took a couple of big, bruising hits in the first period from mammoth Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien but managed to shake them off.
They won't be sending video of the first period to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Both teams came out of the gate sluggish, with the Jets and Flyers going nearly seven minutes of play before the first shot of the game was registered. It was, to put it mildly, a snoozer.
A weird play in the second period. Ivan Provorov caught Jets defenseman Mark Stuart with an inadvertent high stick, which both referees missed. But following a whistle, the linesman filled them in and a double-minor was called - against Travis Konecny. After some further debate, they once again realized the error and put Provorov in the box instead.
Mason made the save of the game late in the second period when he got the shaft of his stick on a rocket fired by Winnipeg sniper Patrik Laine, preventing the rookie from what appeared to be his 34th goal of the season.
The Flyers had a couple good looks on their first power play of the game to start the second period, but couldn't beat Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson. They'd come up empty on three more chances, including one midway through the third period, with them desperately needing a goal.
They certainly got a workout, killing off 6 of 7 minors on the night.
Defenseman Brandon Manning (right shoulder) and forwards Nick Cousins (concussion) and Roman Lyubimov (healthy).
The Flyers continue their four-game road trip by heading to Minnesota, where they'll face the Wild on Thursday.