Steve Mason turned to his left and then to his right as the goal lamp flashed behind him. It was as if the Flyers goalie could not believe Nick Foligno's second-period shot had zipped past him and into the net during a 4-1 loss to Columbus on Saturday night.
The crowd at the Wells Fargo Center booed as Foligno celebrated his second goal of the game. The Flyers four-game winning streak ended in dismal fashion. Mason allowed four goals, and the Flyers were outshot, 34-28. The team's lone score was a second-period goal by Michael Raffl. Foligno answered back less than four minutes later.
Mason's rocky times came after he stopped 80 of his previous 84 shots faced over a three-game span. The 27-year-old seemed to be distancing himself from his early-season struggles and returning to the form he displayed last season.
"It was one of those nights," Mason said. "We didn't have the overall game that we need to win a hockey game. That's why we're coming out on the losing end."
Columbus' first goal came just nine minutes into the first period. Foligno fired a one-timer from the right side, and Mason could not get in position to make the save. The goalie fell to the ice as he tried to switch sides. Jack Johnson followed five minutes later, firing a shot from the blue line that bounced off Scott Laughton's stick and skipped into the net.
The Flyers failed to amount much of an offensive threat, as they appeared fatigued following Friday night's overtime win at New Jersey.
"Let's call it what it is: We didn't play well," coach Dave Hakstol said. "Everyone has to do better. From every guy on the roster through."
"Not enough fight," Brayden Schenn said. "We weren't winning the battles. We weren't winning the races to the puck. Therefore, we spent a ton of time in our end and hung Mason out to dry a little bit. We didn't play well enough in front of him."
Luke Schenn left the game in the third period with an apparent left leg injury. Hakstol said he did not want to speculate on the injury.
Raffl scored early in the second period off assists from Schenn and Shayne Gostisbehere.
It was Gostisbehere's third straight game with a point. The 22-year-old defenseman has six points in his last seven games as he shows he could stick in the NHL.
After he scored, Raffl skated away from the net and slapped his stick at the glass. It was his first goal since Nov. 5. A month of frustration seemed to be exorcised. But the joy proved to be short-lived.
Foligno skated in on Mason less than four minutes later and launched a wrist shot that breezed past the goalie's shoulder. Columbus tacked on another as Scott Hartnell beat Mason from just outside the goal crease. It was Hartnell's 10th goal of the season as the former Flyers winger finished Saturday with a goal and an assist after being benched Friday night.
The crowd cheered as the referee announced the goal was under review; Hartnell may have kicked the puck into the net. After a brief delay, the play was declared "a good hockey goal."
The fans booed, and a sour night continued.