PITTSBURGH - The Flyers showed Saturday night they can lose just as easily outdoors as they can inside.

They continued their slide - from one of the NHL's top four teams in mid-December to a playoff pretender two-plus months later - with a 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at frigid Heinz Field.

The Flyers outshot the Penguins, 38-29, won 59 percent of the faceoffs, and had a territorial advantage before a sellout crowd of 67,318.

But it didn't matter.

Pittsburgh's Matt Murray (36 saves) badly outplayed his goalie counterpart, Michal Neuvirth, as the Flyers' skid continued.

"It's a tough result," coach Dave Hakstol said. "I thought our team played well and did a lot of good things, but we walk away with the wrong result."

Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel secured the win by whipping a long shot past a shaky Neuvirth with 5 minutes, 54 seconds left. At that point, Pittsburgh had four goals on 26 shots.

It was the seventh defeat in the last nine games for the Flyers, who have lost all three of their outdoor games (0-2-1) in franchise history.

The Flyers have a total of eight goals in their last seven losses.

"The bottom line: If we want to get into the playoffs, we have to score goals," Jake Voracek said. "We're not scoring. It's simple

". . . It's getting old."

Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere scored his first goal in 34 games, a power-play blast from the point to get the Flyers within 3-2 with 13 minutes, 12 seconds to go. Wayne Simmonds set a screen in front.

Later in the period, the Flyers couldn't get the equalizer during another power-play opportunity.

The Penguins had taken a 3-1 lead with 18:10 left as 40-year-old Matt Cullen scored on a wrap-around against the slow-to-react Neuvirth.

About nine minutes into the second period, Voracek made a pretty move behind the net to elude defenseman Justin Schultz, came out in front, and got the Flyers to within 2-1 by scoring his 16th goal and second in 12 games.

Twenty-four seconds before Voracek's four-on-four goal, Dale Weise and Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz got into a shoving match and went to the penalty box for roughing, and it seemed to energize the Flyers.

The period included a jarring hit by Brandon Manning on rookie Jake Guentzel - the Flyers defenseman could be disciplined by the league - and a disallowed goal by Sidney Crosby.

Crosby scored with 51 seconds left in the second, but the goal was disallowed because Neuvirth had knocked the net off its moorings before the puck crossed the goal line.

Heading into the third period, the Flyers faced a 2-1 deficit despite a 28-18 shots advantage.

"We had a lot of time in their zone," Voracek said.

With Gostisbhere in the penalty box for interference, Pittsburgh took a 2-0 lead as Nick Bonino scored on a one-timer from the right circle with 13:16 left in the second.

Bonino fired his shot past a sprawling Neuvirth for his ninth goal of the season and first in his last nine games.

There were intermittent snow flurries during the game, and the temperature was 36 degrees when the contest started. The cold conditions didn't bother the Flyers in the first period.

Murray did.

Murray stopped all 16 shots he faced in the first. The Flyers played a solid opening period, but left the ice facing a deficit. Again.

They have been outscored, 52-31, in the first period this season.

Crosby, alone in front, converted a slick pass from Guentzel (two assists) and gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead with 8:42 remaining in the first period. Sean Couturier broke his stick and couldn't prevent Guentzel's pass from finding Crosby.

It was Crosby's 34th goal of the season and his 36th in 57 career games against the Flyers.

The Flyers had a 16-7 shots advantage in the opening 20 minutes.

"The energy was good and we had a good first period," captain Claude Giroux said. "Same story; it wouldn't go in."

Murray made a handful of quality saves, including one on Voracek's point-blank shot early in the first.

Before the opening faceoff, Voracek called it the Flyers' "biggest game of the year."

They remained five points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot with 21 games left.

"This one's going to sting a little bit, but we have to move on," Gostisbehere said.

scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull