What happened to the Flyers on Tuesday night is what happens to all teams throughout a season. Every now and then, you just can't seem to do much of anything right.
After jumping out a 1-0 lead and an 11-1 advantage in shots, everything stopped for the Flyers. The Toronto Maple Leafs, sitting well below the Flyers in the standings, starting taking it to the Flyers from there.
In the end, the Flyers didn't deserve to have their points streak reach seven games. The disappointment in all of it is that through 59 minutes of play, the Flyers were in position to steal a point and go for another one in overtime. With 7.5 seconds left, Toronto scored to get a 3-2 lead, giving the Flyers what they really deserved.
The question now for the Flyers is how they will respond to the loss that, though deserved, essentially ripped one point away.
"It wasn’t a good game," Steve Mason said. "It would’ve been great to get into overtime but at the end of the game there, we got what we deserved for the effort that we had tonight."
"We didn’t play well tonight. We got away from our game and we couldn’t regain our composure for a long enough stretch to be able to get back on our game," head coach Dave Hakstol said. "I didn’t think we were great even in that first 10 minutes. I mean the shot clock was what it was but I just didn’t think in little areas we were very sharp right from the start of the night."
It will be marked as another game against a lesser team where the Flyers struggled. In reality, it was probably a game the Flyers were due to have.
The Flyers had played consistently well for nearly a month. Excluding the 0-3-0 West coast road trip, the Flyers had gone 8-1-2 in all other games since Dec. 15.
"The way we came out tonight, we are not a playoff team if we come out like that," Gostisbehere said. "That’s just not good for us. We have to prepare for everyone no matter who they are."
Given the Flyers will next take the ice against the arch-rival Pittsburgh Penguins, there is no guarantees the Flyers will make any changes to the lineup. The Flyers are likely in for the usual muck-and-grind physical game that comes with facing the Penguins. That's probably not the best time for Jordan Weal to make his debut.
That said, you could really take your pick from the Flyers lines. The top line, particularly Claude Giroux, struggled to get space, certainly not for lack of will, just tremendous defense from Toronto. The rest of the lines struggled with puck control and turnovers. Ryan White, R.J. Umberger, Scott Laughton, they all struggled mightily.
"The last seven games, we have been playing some good hockey. We are going to have games like this," Giroux said. "It is not time to hit the panic button. I think obviously we need to look at some video and see what we did wrong. We can’t change the way we are playing. We have been successful playing this way. We just need to touch up some things. Obviously it’s frustrating to play a game like this."
Defensively, the Flyers really bailed out Mason a couple of times. Evgeny Medvedev made a brilliant save with Toronto facing an open net. Another potential Toronto goal was waved off for an offside call.
Mason did more than his fair share of bailing out too, stopping 24 of 26 shots through two periods. The Flyers were lucky that the game was still in striking distance then. They nearly turned it into a point in the standings.
Even in the third, the Flyers only started to improve the play after a highlight-reel goal for Shayne Gostisbehere tied the game. But even then, the Flyers rhythm was not there.
The response will be crucial in two ways. It's a hard way to lose a game you didn't deserve to win. It's harder to break the habits that can start with one loss and snowball into a losing streak.
In one sense, it's perfect timing for the Flyers to face the Penguins. But the mistakes that were constant on Tuesday won't fly in Pittsburgh on Thursday. That's the next challenge for the Flyers to face.
"We are obviously not happy with the way we played," Giroux said. "There is a lot of frustration right now, but we can’t let that frustration creep into our game. We need to keep rolling here.”
"You’re going to have those nights," Hakstol said, "we obviously have to and we will deal with this performance tonight but we're going to have to do that and we're going to have to do it quickly. We’re going to have to put it behind us and move forward."
Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.