ST. LOUIS - If the enigmatic Flyers could figure out a way to play only NHL heavyweights, they probably would be entrenched in a playoff spot.

The Flyers picked up at least a point for their eighth straight game against one of the league's heavyweights Thursday.

But they came up short despite a sensational, acrobatic performance by goalie Steve Mason, who made 35 saves.

The Blues won it in a shootout, 1-0, at the Scottrade Center, and Ken Hitchcock became the fourth coach in NHL history to reach the 700-win mark.

T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in the shootout for St. Louis, while Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds were denied by Brian Elliott.

The offense-challenged Flyers have lost four straight overall and are 3-8 in shootouts. St. Louis is 9-3 in shootouts.

The Flyers are 4-0-4 in their last eight games against teams in playoff spots; they are 0-5-1 in their last six games against teams out of playoff position.

Go figure.

Despite another shootout loss, it was, by far, the Flyers' best effort in the last three games.

"I think it's going in the right direction," defenseman Mark Streit said. "We skated, we initiated the play, played better defensively, and supported the puck."

"It's not an easy building to play in; they're a big, heavy team," said Mason, who sharply criticized his team's effort after a 2-1 loss to Dallas on Tuesday. "The guys responded well . . . and were working hard tonight."

With about 91/2 minutes left in regulation, Tarasenko set up Jori Lehtera in front and he appeared to have a wide open net. But Mason, moving quickly from right to left, did a split and made one of his best saves of the season, keeping the game scoreless.

Mason has just one win in 17 road decisions. But it had nothing to do with his goaltending and everything to do with the Flyers' offensive problems. They have scored two goals or fewer in 15 of those 17 games.

It marked the second straight year the teams had played to a 0-0 tie and went to a shootout. St. Louis won last season, 1-0, against Ray Emery.

The last time a team scored a non-shootout goal in a Flyers-Blues matchup here was in 2010, when Carlo Colaiacovo won it in overtime for St. Louis. He now plays for the Flyers, and he nearly won Thursday's game in OT.

Hitchcock, a former Flyers coach, has a 700-424-183 career record.

The loss pushed the Flyers 10 points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with 13 games left, and general manager Ron Hextall could be close to promoting some players from the AHL's Phantoms to get a glimpse at the future.

That future will include prospects from a deep draft. The Flyers have the league's eighth-worst record, and that would give them a 6 percent chance of winning the lottery for the No. 1 overall pick.

The Flyers squandered four power plays, and they have a total of five goals in their last four games. They have excelled on the power play for most of the season, but they are 1 for 19 in their last seven games.

St. Louis nearly broke the scoreless tie midway through the second period, but Mason made a sprawling save on Dmitrij Jaskin's rebound attempt.

@BroadStBull