LOS ANGELES - The Flyers' penalty-killing unit has killed them in the first two games of their West Coast trip.
Two games. Two losses. Two awful efforts by the penalty killers.
The latest occurred in Wednesday's 4-2 defeat in San Jose, which was 3 for 6 on the power play. The Sharks' other goal was scored as a power play ended and Shayne Gostisbehere left the penalty box but was not yet in the play.
In their last two games - starting with a 4-2 loss in Anaheim - the Flyers have allowed five power-play goals in nine chances.
"We're going through a tough stretch," said center Sean Couturier, whose third-period, breakaway goal briefly gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead. "We have to do video and do better."
The Flyers had 10 penalties for 31 minutes.
"We have to do a better job of handling ourselves with the refs," Couturier said. "There were some questionable calls" - including a head hit by Brent Burns on Chris VandeVelde that did not draw a penalty - "but we have to battle through it and kill the penalties and get back to five-on-five."
The Flyers' penalty kill struggled in the first six weeks, then was sensational in a seven-plus-game stretch in which it was successful on 24 straight kills.
But the Flyers have allowed power-play goals in nine of the last 11 games.
The Flyers are giving teams too much time and space when they are shorthanded.
"It's not a singular thing," coach Dave Hakstol said. "A few little things that are beating us."
Hakstol was fuming that Burns did not receive a penalty with a little more than seven minutes left and the Sharks on a power play that eventually produced the game-winning goal.
Burns' shoulder hit VandeVelde in the face, and he hit the ice hard. He had to be helped off the ice by several players and did not return. Afterward, he said he felt "OK," and he practiced Thursday.
"It's a direct contact to the head," Hakstol said. "A guy that's engaged with another player without the puck. That needs to be called."
"It's tough to see somebody get hurt, obviously. I thought it was totally clean," he said.
If VandeVelde can't play Saturday in Los Angeles, the Flyers will use Vinny Lecavalier (remember him?) or recall a forward from the Phantoms.
Mark Streit returned to the lineup Wednesday after missing 19 straight games following pubic-plate detachment surgery. Streit played 17 minutes, 24 seconds.
"To be expected, I was a little rusty," he said. "But I felt pretty good and that's a positive."
The Flyers have allowed the first goal in four straight games. . . . Radko Gudas and San Jose's Joe Thornton had several run-ins. "That's part of my game - playing hard and making it tough on their top players," Gudas said. "He didn't like it. We went at it. Just part of the game." . . . Claude Giroux's goal, scored on a faceoff, ended his streak of five games without a point. . . . The Flyers have one win in their last 19 meetings with San Jose.
- Sam Carchidi