Flyers analysis

‘It's stubbornness, it's a lesson that we learned' — Flyers' 9-game point streak ends

With the 4-2 loss to the Predators, the Flyers fell in regulation for the first time since Nov. 28

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The Flyers saw their nine-game point streak come to a halt Thursday night with a 4-2 loss to the Predators at the Wells Fargo Center.

Philip Tomasino did damage to the Flyers, scoring the game-tying goal in the second period and the winner with 4:01 minutes left in the action.

Nashville added an emtpy-netter in the final second.

Morgan Frost and Sean Couturier scored for the Flyers, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.

The Flyers (18-11-3) went 7-0-2 in their point streak. This marked their first loss in regulation since Nov. 28.

They've lived on the edge a bit, playing a ton of close games during their run. Seven of the nine games in their point streak were decided by one goal.

John Tortorella's club is in second place of a jam-packed Metropolitan Division with one more game to go before the NHL-mandated three-day holiday break.

The head coach didn't want to hear the word playoffs at morning skate. Too early.

"We're in the end of December," he said. "You don't know what your team is until the end of January, you really don't."

The Flyers were swept in their two-game regular-season series with the Predators (19-14-0). They lost to Nashville nine days ago in overtime at Bridgestone Arena, the first of Samuel Ersson's five consecutive starts.

• Tortorella's overarching focus last season was building a foundation, having the Flyers play a smart and structured game.

In Year 2, with those concepts understood, an emphasis has been pushing for more offense.

"I want us to take chances," Tortorella said in early November. "I didn't say that much last year because I felt it was so naked in front of Carter [Hart], how we played, the tape I watched when I first came here. It needed to be straightened out. They bought into that, they worked hard at that last year. Now we're trying to get the other part of the game to come into it."

But Tortorella knows the Flyers can't forget when to grind and simplify things as the games get tighter down the stretch.

On Tomasino's game-winning goal, Sean Walker was stripped at the offensive blue line, which sent the play the other way.

"Nashville, they checked, they gave us a clinic on checking," Tortorella said. "We were talking about it, all of us were talking about it all game long — we have to get it in deep, we’re not getting through clean, they’re not opening up.

"We’re hanging on, but we just can’t keep it simple. We have to try to beat people. It’s basically a 1-on-4. It’s stubbornness, it’s a lesson that we learned.

"This team is going to have to forecheck. When this league gets going at the end of Christmas, after the holiday, that’s when the grind start’s coming in. If we think we’re going to be this high-flying transition team — spreading, stretching and not forecheck — we’re in for a rude awakening. We found that out tonight."

• Ersson came in 8-1-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average and .929 save percentage over his last 10 starts.

The 24-year-old finished with 27 saves. He won three of his five straight starts.

"Sam has played very well, played well again tonight," Tortorella said. "He has grown as a goalie. A very important position for us on this team."

Hart felt well enough to back up Ersson after not dressing for Tuesday's game. The 25-year-old is adjusting to an undisclosed illness that has plagued him "for a while."

Tortorella didn't sound overly concerned about the severity of Hart's illness or status moving forward.

"We're not running around with our heads cut off, no," he said at morning skate.

The Flyers' No. 1 goalie hasn't made a start in 12 days. We'll see if he's able to return to the net Friday.

Nashville netminder Juuse Saros stopped 29 of the Flyers' 31 shots.

• With 7:23 minutes left in the second period, Frost was boarded by Predators winger Yakov Trenin. Frost stayed down on the ice after his head slammed into the boards. Under the watchful eye of head athletic trainer Tommy Alva, Frost was able to get up and leave the ice before returning to the game during the Flyers' ensuing power play.

Trenin was handed a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct.

The Flyers' power play failed to capitalize on the opportunity. It finished 1 for 4 and is 11 for 102 on the season.

Just 1:05 minutes into the second period, the Flyers' power play lost a 1-0 lead when it gave up a shorthanded goal to Cole Smith.

Three and a half minutes later, Couturier got the man advantage off the schneid to regain the Flyers' lead at 2-1.

But Tomasino took the goal right back 38 seconds later when he drew Nashville even.

The Flyers' penalty kill was its reliable self, going 5 for 5.

• Frost couldn't help but smile after scoring his goal just 1:31 minutes into the action.

It might go down as one of the flukier goals in the NHL this season.

With Frost behind the net, the puck ricocheted off his skate, over the crossbar and off the back shoulder of Saros.

"I think we've been on a nice little run here and want to go into the break with a good mindset," Frost said. "I think we've bounced back all year and this team has a lot resiliency and mental toughness. I don't think a loss is going to hold us down."

Morgan Frost scored on the oddest bounce you'll ever see, putting the Flyers up 1-0 over the Predators.

• Tortorella and Cam Atkinson chatted in the morning about the winger's goal-scoring drought, which is now at 17 straight games.

"Sometimes having a talk like that kind of sets you back in a good way," the 34-year-old winger said after morning skate. "Kind of reflect and I've got to look in the mirror. I just have to get back to my old way."

In a 2-2 game during the third period, Atkinson had a breakaway but Saros denied him with an acrobatic save.

Atkinson played with more of that buzzing energy that Tortorella wanted to see return to his game. He finished as a minus-1 in 16:27 minutes.

• The Flyers are right back at it Friday when they visit the Red Wings for their final game before the holiday break (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP+). The NHL goes on hiatus from Sunday to Tuesday.

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