Five observations from the Flyers' 3-0 loss Thursday to shorthanded New Jersey at the Wells Fargo Center:
Late in the game, it looked as if this was going to be a 1-0 Flyers loss that could be chalked up mostly to bad luck. The Flyers had hit the post or crossbar five times, and when they didn't fire a puck off iron, New Jersey goalie Keith Kinkaid was at his best.
The Flyers would lose a squeaker, but at least know they did a lot of good things. These kinds of difficult defeats happen over 82 games. Suck it up and move on. And then …
Goalie Brian Elliott appeared to injure his groin as he tried to go post-to-post and prevent Kyle Palmieri's wraparound goal with 6 minutes, 8 seconds left. Elliott was in excruciating pain and had to be helped off the ice.
Suddenly, a tough loss could be devastating if Elliott is sidelined for a while. The Flyers estimated he will be out for two weeks. We shall see.
Alex Lyon was recalled from the Phantoms and he will battle Cal Pickard for the No. 1 job. If Michal Neuvirth was healthy, he'd be the new No. 1, but the veteran isn't ready to return.
You have to feel for Elliott. The player they call "Moose" had come all the way back from February core-muscle surgery and off-season hip surgery. Lately, he was playing as well as he did at any point last season — witness the recent stretch in which he made 73 straight saves. In his last seven games, Elliott had a 1.55 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage. In addition, he was a veteran presence and a calming influence on the team.
Based on how GM Ron Hextall has preached patience with Carter Hart, it would be shocking if the 20-year-old goalie was called up from the Phantoms. Hextall gives the impression he would like Hart to play a full season (or most of it) in the AHL.
That said, if the injury situation gets bleaker and Hart continues to make strides, maybe Hextall will reconsider midway through the season.
Hart, who has played better lately, is 4-2-2 with a 3.28 goals-against average and .893 save percentage with the Phantoms.
The Flyers' power play continues to struggle. Big time.
In a game in which they trailed by 1-0 until late in the third period, a power-play goal would have drastically changed things. But the Flyers went 0-for-4 and are now just 2-for-32 over their last 11 games. They are 3-for-43 in their last 15 games, and overall are clicking at 12.7 percent, next-to-last in the NHL.
When you have weapons such as Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Jake Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, and Shayne Gostisbehere, a drought this long should never happen. The Flyers are overpassing and not shooting enough. They had just six shots, total, on their four power plays Thursday. The hope is that James van Riemsdyk, who returned Thursday after missing 16 games because of a knee injury, will help get the power play back on track.
Inexplicably, the Flyers are minus-15 in special teams. (Their penalty kill is 30th in the 31-team league.) They have scored eight power-play goals and allowed 19 goals while on the penalty kill — and have surrendered four shorthanded tallies.
Devils goalie Kinkaid looks like the second coming of Marty Brodeur against the Flyers. He has just seven career shutouts, but two are against the Flyers. The former Union College star is 7-2 against the Flyers in his career.
The Flyers are only 4-6 at the Wells Fargo Center, and if that trend continues, they will be watching the playoffs on their big-screen TVs. One of the reasons for their lack of home success: Their power play is just 3 for 33 (9.1 percent) there.