GLENDALE, Ariz. - Facing an Arizona team with the third-fewest points in the NHL, the Flyers had a chance to regain momentum on their eight-game road trip Monday night.
Instead, they played an awful second period and failed to generate much of an attack until the final 10 minutes of regulation.
A 4-2 loss that left them eight points out of a playoff spot.
The road trip, which started so promisingly with three straight wins, has hit a few potholes since the Flyers returned from their three-day holiday break.
The Flyers are now 3-2 on the trip, which resumes in Denver on Wednesday.
"I think we played a good 30 minutes…It's got to be a better 60 minutes," said captain Claude Giroux, who, like linemate Jake Voracek, was minus-3 in the game.
Giroux and Voracek failed to collect a point, marking just the second time they have both been off the score sheet this season in a non-shutout.
The Flyers managed just five shots in a listless second period and fell behind, 2-0.
"It seems to be a common theme throughout the whole season," said winger R.J. Umberger, referring to the Flyers' poor second period. "Our second periods have gotten away from us….We don't sustain the pressure and we get off the gas."
The Flyers dominated the first period, outshooting the Coyotes, 14-6, but left the ice trailing, 1-0.
"We controlled the whole first period, and the second period we were completely flat and they took it to us," added Umberger, who scored a pair of late goals to get the Flyers within 3-2. "I'm not sure why. The second period is huge; it sets up your whole game and what you're going to do in the third. We can't continue to be down two goals going into the third."
The Flyers (14-16-6) have lost two straight since returning from the break, beginning with Saturday's 4-1 loss in Nashville.
"These are two points that were critical to us at this time of the season," Umberger said. "We fought to get to .500, and we needed to get rolling. These points are a lot easier to get now than they are in March or April. This one hurts because you had to find a way to get two points."
Steve Mason, who had missed the previous four games because of a back injury, slipped to 6-11-5 with the loss.
"I felt really good, actually," he said. "It was a tough game to play; it wasn't exactly the cleanest (because) there were a lot of bounces out there, but I felt really good."
Two of Arizona's goals were on deflections off Flyers (Nick Grossmann and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare) and another was on an empty-net tally.
"We came out and had a really strong first period, then fell back a little in the second," Mason said. "When we see the type of team we can be when we're firing on all cylinders, we're a dangerous team. We just have to have that consistency, and not a period here and a period there."
Thirty-six games into the season, the Flyers aren't consistent from period to period, let alone game to game.
That trait is the main reason they have won just six of 20 road games (6-11-3) and are buried in the standings.
Zepp returns to Phantoms. With Mason healthy,the much-traveled Rob Zepp is heading back to the AHL Phantoms. Zepp, 33, recorded a 4-3 OT win in Winnipeg last week to become the oldest goalie to win his debut since 1926.
"I had a good showing, but at the end of the day, it was one game," Zepp said. "Careers aren't made on one game. I want it to be a stepping stone to more opportunities. I came over here to try to establish myself and show I belong in the league full-time.I waited a long time for that first game, and I'm happy to wait a little while longer for another one."
Zepp said the win over Winnipeg was a huge confidence boost.
"I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing all along, keep working hard and be ready if the call comes again," he said.