DALLAS - Give the Flyers credit. Exhausted from a stretch in which they played 15 games in 27 days, they still showed relentlessness and swarmed the net in the final period of their streak-ending loss in Dallas on Saturday afternoon.
The Flyers' 10-game winning streak - which equaled the third-longest in franchise history - catapulted them in the standings and should have a lasting effect on the rest of the season.
Ten straight wins is something for the players to recall when facing the inevitable hard times that every team experiences in a grueling, 82-game season.
"It [stinks] to be back in the loss column, but you know what, we'll take some positives from this last little while, and overall I think we've become a better team for it," goalie Steve Mason said after the Flyers were outlasted by Dallas, 3-1, at the American Airlines Center.
When the streak started, the Flyers were four points out of a playoff spot. Ten wins later, they were nine points ahead of their closest playoff pursuer.
"I think overall we found different ways to win," said Mason, who had his career-best eight-game winning streak snapped. "Different guys stepped up, and if the going is tough a little bit later on - not just individually, but as a team - this is something we can draw upon, knowing this team has the capabilities to go on a streak like this."
Saturday's final score is misleading. Before Dallas iced the win with an empty-net goal, the Flyers faced a 2-1 deficit and had numerous scoring chances in the latter part of the final period.
Twice, Ivan Provorov fired late shots that hit iron, the last with 1 minute, 18 seconds remaining and the Flyers on a power play that, up until that point, had looked disjointed.
"It happens; it's part of the game," Provorov, 19, said of his scoring chances.
Provorov came of age during the winning streak and established himself as the Flyers' No. 1 defenseman. He was asked what he learned about the team during a streak that is the longest in the NHL this season and fell three games shy of equaling the longest in franchise history.
"That we have a great team and that the guys all battle for one another," Provorov said. "It was a great team effort during the 10-game winning streak, and hopefully we'll start a new one."
If you exclude empty-net scores, eight of the Flyers' 10 wins during their streak were by one goal.
"Being in close games and knowing how to win them will definitely help us down the road," Provorov said.
The winning streak has the Flyers in a playoff spot, and it came at a much-needed time because Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Washington have also been surging.
"I don't think anyone expected us to win every game for the rest of the year," winger Jake Voracek said. "We just have to recover and get another winning streak going on Monday."
The streak started with a 5-3 win over Calgary on Nov. 27 as Anthony Stolarz won his NHL debut, and the Flyers went 21 days before suffering their next loss.
"We were getting a lot of good bounces over the last few weeks," Voracek said. "We had chances today; unfortunately, they didn't go in."
"We generated good offense in the third period, but in the second we could have played better," said captain Claude Giroux, who had a team-high four shots, including a ticketed one-timer that goalie Antti Niemi turned away.
The Flyers' big guns were silenced Saturday, but they carried the team during their 10-game run. Voracek had four goals and 16 points, Giroux had five goals and 12 points, Wayne Simmonds had six goals and 10 points, and Brayden Schenn had six goals and eight points, including three game-winning scores.
In addition, Mason, backed by an improving defense, allowed two goals or fewer in seven of his last nine starts.
"It's kind of frustrating that the streak is over with. ... There were a lot of tight games that we found a way to win," Giroux said. "But it was a good run and we should start another streak here."
"We can't let one loss dampen our spirits," Simmonds said. "We know we're playing good hockey and we just have to continue what we've been doing. We knew we were a good team even before we started this streak."