CHICAGO - For all their faults - and there are plenty - the Flyers have been competitive in every game this season.
Until Tuesday night.
Their defense was a rumor. Their attack made emergency starter Antti Raanta, in his first start since April, look like the second coming of Tony Esposito.
Blackhawks 4, Flyers 0.
It marked the first time all season the Flyers weren't tied or ahead at some point in the third period, and Raanta (32 saves) became the first Chicago goalie to blank the Flyers since Esposito in 1976.
Chicago scored three goals in a 2:06 span of the first period and it was good-night, Gracie. (See story.)
Afterward, Flyers goalie Steve Mason, who faced 43 shots, played good soldier and tried to accept some of the blame.
"Sometimes you have to find ways to make saves you're not supposed to make," he said.
Truth be told, Mason was left hung out to dry.
The Blackhawks outshot the Flyers, 14-1, to start the game, and their 43 shots were the second-most they ever recorded against the Orange and Black.
The first period, I think we got embarrassed by how we played," captain Claude Giroux said. "We didn't win one battle. We've got to do a better job in front of Mason. The second and third, we started playing a little bit better, but we had too many mistakes that cost us."
"Mase was pretty much the only guy who played out there," defenseman Mark Streit said of the first-period onslaught.
So much for the belief that the Flyers would carry the momentum from Saturday's 6-5 comeback win over Dallas into Tuesday night.
Breakaways. Mason has a 3.83 GAA and .878 save percentage….Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, whose team is 4-0-1, called it the Blackhawks' best game of the young season. "I thought we were better in all aspects of our game," he said….Giroux and linemates Jake Voracek and Michael Raffl combined for 15 shots _ five by each player…..Voracek had his season-starting five-game points streak snapped….Ray Emery is expected to face the Penguins Wednesday in Pittsburgh….After being outshot 14-1 to start the game, the Flyers (1-3-2) outshot Chicago, 31-29, the rest of the way….Former Flyer Patrick Sharp had two assists.