ST. LOUIS - The Flyers missed a chance to move into second place last night as they stumbled against the Western Conference's weakest team, the St. Louis Blues, 4-0, at the sold-out Scottrade Center.
Chris Mason made 36 saves to help the lowly but improving Blues defeat the Flyers in St. Louis for the first time since 2000. It was his second shutout in his last three starts.
The Flyers apparently don't like facing goalies named Mason. Columbus rookie Steve Mason (no relation) was the only other goalie to blank the Flyers this season.
In last night's penalty-filled loss, the Flyers' power play, which entered the night No. 2 in the NHL, was out of sync and finished 0 for 11.
The Flyers lacked urgency on the power play, center Mike Richards said.
"Everyone was kind of trying to make plays standing still and not getting the puck to the net," he said. "Give them credit. They did a good job killing and blocking a lot of shots. and their goaltender made some big saves when he needed to."
St. Louis was 2 for 8 on the power play, but actually had more time (12:39) than the Flyers (12:03) with extra skaters.
"We've got to find a way to get more five-on-five time here because when you see [Jeff] Carter and Richards playing more special teams than they are five-on-five, it's not a good equation to win hockey games," coach John Stevens said.
The Flyers, who remained one point behind the second-place New York Rangers in the Atlantic Division, played without defensemen Braydon Coburn and Randy Jones, who were sidelined with the flu. St. Louis had several of its best players missing because of injuries, including high-scoring forwards Andy McDonald and Paul Kariya.
The Flyers, traveling from Florida, didn't get to their St. Louis hotel until 2 a.m. (Central time) yesterday and canceled their morning skate.
A hockey rarity - a two-minute five-on-three advantage - somehow worked to the Flyers'
early in the game. They failed to score after minor penalties to St. Louis' Brad Winchester and T.J. Oshie.
"That was a real key part of the game," Stevens said. "We didn't put the puck in the net, and the worst-case scenario is they come out and score right after that. So not only do we not score - and that's momentum enough for them - but they score after that. Certainly special teams . . . were the difference in the end."
Just as the penalties expired, the two Blues came out of the box and charged into the Flyers' end after a turnover. Oshie fed Winchester, who went in on a two on one with Jay McClement. Antero Niittymaki stopped Winchester's shot, but McClement knocked in the rebound with 15 minutes, 55 seconds left in the first period.
It was the first time in eight games that the Flyers did not score first. In the second period, goals by Carlo Colaiacovo and David Backes (power play) gave St. Louis a 3-0 lead.