The Flyers stood toe-to-toe with the hottest team in the NHL on Saturday night, but a rare bit of bad luck at home was the difference in a 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay.
Pat Maroon jammed a bouncing puck past Matt Niskanen and Carter Harter for the game’s only goal. For all the firepower on the Lightning, it was Maroon, a rugged forward who scored his first goal in 24 games, who accounted for all of the offense.
Hart made 27 saves but lost at home in regulation (12-2-2) for the first time in three months.
Niskanen took the blame for the play, in which he was unable to bat the floating puck out of harm’s way.
“I should’ve stopped it too,” Hart said. “I’m pretty sure it went along the ice. It was a weird bounce, kind of a broken goal. Sometimes it just happens."
The cosmetics aside, Tampa Bay created its luck. The Flyers could not.
“It was one of those games there wasn’t a whole lot of room on the ice,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “You look at the goal that they got, a bounce. We needed to get one of those greasy-type goals tonight. There was no room to execute a lot of plays."
The Flyers had 23 shots on goal but no sustained pressure. They also failed to capitalize on three power-play chances and are 0-for-11 in the last four games.
“We don’t score much. ... We got to start scoring,” Jake Voracek said afterward, visibly frustrated. “I’m not going to make any comments about the power play, sorry. Sorry about that.”
Their last sterling chance was a two-minute advantage with less than six minutes left on a questionable high-sticking call on Tampa Bay defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk against Travis Konecny. Shattenkirk was following through on a clearing pass.
But Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped a pair of shots as the Flyers were shut out for the first time all season.
Vasilevskiy, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, made his best save on Michael Raffl in the first period while the Flyers were shorthanded.
Tampa Bay won its team-record 10th straight game.
The Flyers killed all four penalties against them, including a four-minute minor on Konecny. They have killed 12 in a row, including five against high-powered Washington on Wednesday.
Konecny was whistled for a double minor when his stick got loose and raked Victor Hedman in the face. Tampa Bay went into the night second for the season at 29% on the power play. In their previous nine wins, the Lightning clicked at 33.3%.
That was little consolation to Sean Couturier. The Flyers had a chance to follow up the win against Washington, the league’s best team, with another statement victory against the league’s hottest club.
“We’re not finishing [on the power play]. I think we’re one-and-done a lot of times,” said Couturier, who played nearly 22 minutes, most among all forwards. “We’re getting a little more control in the zone, something to build on. But we’ve got to find a way to score some goals.”
Flyers’ players have Sunday off and will host Boston on Monday. ... The demotion of Misha Vorobyev in favor of David Kase moved Scott Laughton off the wing to fourth-line center between Kase and Joel Farabee. ... Justin Braun (groin), Nolan Patrick (migraines), and Chris Stewart (flu) skated on Saturday morning. Braun is out until after the All-Star break. Patrick remains out indefinitely, and Stewart did not play Saturday.