MONTREAL - Frustration, in hockey, usually ends in fisticuffs. Not goals.
For the Flyers, it was easy to become frustrated at the boisterous Bell Centre in Montreal.
Last night, it wasn't the "Ole, Ole" chant or the "Nah, Nah, Hey Hey Goodbye" taunt or any of the 21,273 rabid, red-clad fans packed into the NHL's most electric building that caused the Flyers to unravel at center ice.
It was, however, the two untimely penalties that led to Canadiens goals, the lack of any urgency in the third period, an 0-for-6 night on the power play, and the brick wall that mysteriously replaced Carey Price - a goaltender the Flyers usually own.
Even Chris Pronger didn't get to keep the puck this time.
Undoubtedly, the Flyers put in a winning effort, firing 41 shots on goal with another 15 blocked.
But on a night when you outshoot your opponent 18-1 in the final 13:27 of the second period and are still outscored 1-0 in that time, it probably just wasn't your night to win.
Alas, all superb runs must come to an end at some point.
For the Flyers, that point was last night, in their 3-0 shutout loss to the Northeast Division-leading Canadiens, the first meeting of the teams this season. Michael Cammalleri's 5-on-3 power-play goal less than 10 minutes into the game ended up being the game-winner, snapping the Flyers' undefeated-in-regulation streak at 9-0-1.
It was the Flyers' longest 10-game run without a loss in regulation since Dec. 17, 2005, to Jan. 6, 2006.
"I thought we owned the second period," coach Peter Laviolette said. "The ice was tilted, I thought. We were down in their end the whole time. They got a goal. We wanted to come out with the same zip in the third [period], but that didn't happen."
Instead, after rolling over the Canadiens in the second period but failing to solve Price, it took the Flyers 8 minutes and 8 seconds to get their first shot of the period. They had just four in the first 16:08 of the third period.
Their 41 shots on goal were the most by the Flyers in a game in which they were shutout since Jan. 26, 1989, when Clint Malarchuk and the Washington Capitals turned aside 42 shots in a 1-0 win at the Spectrum.
"It was kind of frustrating at that point," Laviolette said. "The shots were heavily in our favor, the chances were heavily in our favor, but we're down on the scoreboard. It was one of those games where you're trying to dig out of a hole but you can't get there. Their goaltender played pretty well.
"I think the frustration kind of built through the third period. Seriously, I thought we played hard. The third period, we didn't play the same way, I think we just got frustrated that we couldn't get on the board."
It ended, instead, with hooking, slashing and cross-checking penalties to go along with two 10-minute misconducts for grappling. It was Price's second shutout against the Flyers, the same team that eliminated him and former Montreal savior Jaroslav Halak on two different playoff occasions in 3 years.
For 30 seconds, while down 1-0, the Flyers had their own 5-on-3 opportunity to knot the game. They worked the puck around for 19 seconds before Pronger's blast hit Price right in the chest.
"They capitalized on their 5-on-3 chance and we didn't," Pronger said.
Montreal added their own goal 2:38 later to put the Flyers down 2-0 when Tomas Plekanec's wide-angle shot beat Sergei Bobrovsky, who was not as sharp in his 11th straight start.
Brian Gionta's power-play tally in the third period - on a weak James van Riemsdyk interference penalty after he was tripped into Price by Hal Gill - cemented Montreal's stretch-silencing victory.
Laviolette said after the game it was too early to put their 19-out-of-20-point run in perspective.
"It's hard to talk about that right now," Laviolette said. "We're here to win hockey games. We didn't do that. I think the one thing you want to always look for is the work ethic. It was there. We just couldn't do it tonight."
As the siren sounded to end the game, Pronger scooped up the puck - as he did to the ire of Montreal and Chicago in the playoffs last year - before being chased down by Gionta and Scott Gomez. He was forced to fork it over.
"I was going to give it to a precious kid in the stands," Pronger said with a devilish grin. "I wanted him to look at the puck and enjoy the moment he got to see. I guess I didn't get that opportunity."
After all, it isn't often that you can't win to lose.
Dan Carcillo will miss approximately 3 weeks of action, as an MRI confirmed yesterday that the King City, Ontario, native has an MCL sprain in his left knee, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.
Carcillo, who has averaged just 7:35 of ice time and added one goal and one assist in 15 games, was replaced by Andreas Nodl, who returned after missing one game with a toe injury.
James van Riemsdyk also remained in the lineup for the second straight game.
It is possible that Carcillo, who will miss approximately 10 games, could be added to the long-term injured reserve, which would allow the Flyers to recall Eric Wellwood from AHL Adirondack. Wellwood impressed earlier this month with one assist in three games, his first NHL action. As it stood last night, the Flyers do not have an extra forward available.
Andreas Nodl, Mike Richards, Kimmo Timonen, Chris Pronger and Claude Giroux all had their point streaks halted . . . The Flyers iced the puck at 11:56 of the first period last night for the first time since 16:40 of the second period in Carolina on Nov. 11, an impressive span of 151:24 . . . The Flyers were 3-0-1 in the second game of back-to-backs before last night's loss.