PHILADELPHIA -- Another game, another low point for the scoring-challenged Flyers.
They fell to 1-7 -- their worst record at this point of a season in franchise history -- as they lost, 4-1, to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night before a restless crowd at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers have lost four straight and are at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division; the Penguins (6-1) have won three in a row and sit atop the division.
In arguably their worst 20 minutes of the young season, the Flyers watched the Penguins set up a shooting gallery for most of the second period. Pittsburgh outshot the Flyers in the period, 17-5, and got goals from Jussi Jokinen (after the Flyers had four chances to clear it) and Chris Kunitz (off a rebound).
But with two seconds left in the second, Wayne Simmonds tipped in Claude Giroux's floater -- the Flyers captain looked up at the clock before shooting from the left circle -- to cut the Penguins' lead to 2-1.
That snapped a funk in which the Flyers had failed on their last 18 power-play attempts.
At that point, Pittsburgh's 2-1 lead felt more like 7-1. The Penguins were "that overpowering, but only the brilliant goaltending of Steve Mason kept the Flyers close.
Simmonds' goal, his first of the year, jump-started the Flyers and they dominated the third period, but couldn't score the equalizer. Sidney Crosby locked it up by tipping in a shot with 2:32 left, giving him points in all seven games.
Evgeni Malkin added an empty-net goal.
For all their shortcomings, it's remarkable that the Flyers could have a winning record if they had played better in the third period of their games. They have been outscored, 12-2, in the third period.
In each of their first eight games, they have either been tied, had a lead, or trailed by one goal entering the third period.
They entered the third period Thursday facing a 2-1 deficit and failed on two power plays early in the period. On one of them, Marc-Andre Fleury made a sensational glove save to rob Simmonds from point-blank range. Simmonds rolled his eyes and looked up at the rafters in disbelief.
About 31/2 minutes later, with the Flyers on another power play and 15:13 remaining, Brayden Schenn pounced on a rebound but fired wide with an empty net in front of him.
Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen left the game with an undisclosed lower-body injury late in the second period and did not return. Timonen was minus-2 in 13 minutes of action.
Earlier in the day, Giroux said the game was critical for the home team.
"Tonight's going to be a game to bring the fans back on our side and show them that we're a good team and can win games," Giroux said after the morning skate.
The Flyers don't play again until Thursday. They wanted to have some positive reinforcement during their break. Maybe that's why Giroux called the game an early-season "turning point."
Instead, it turned into another hard-fought loss.
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