With offense drying up, Flyers shut out for 2nd time this season


The Flyers are starting to have difficulty putting the puck in the net.

The difficulties were evident Wednesday night as the Flyers were blanked by the Maple Leafs, 3-0, at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers (6-3-2) have scored 1.40 goals per game over their last five games, a stretch in which they've been shut out twice. Defensively, the club has been good — light years better than last season — but offensively, the Flyers have hit some recent roadblocks.

The Maple Leafs (8-5-1) have won six of their last seven games. They found a way to beat the Flyers without star center John Tavares (undisclosed injury).

The Flyers were without top-pair defenseman Ryan Ellis (lower body) for an eighth straight game.

"He says he's turning the corner," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said after his team's morning skate. "Hope the corner arrives soon."

There appears to be a conceivable chance Ellis returns during the club's upcoming back-to-back road set.

The Flyers have gone 4-3-1 in Ellis' absence. The earliest second-line center Kevin Hayes (abdominal) might make his season debut is Tuesday.

• William Nylander scored his sixth and seventh goals in 13 career games against the Flyers to provide the offense Toronto needed.

In the second period, officials originally ruled off Nylander's first goal for an illegal kicking motion. However, after video review, the call was overturned as it was determined the puck deflected off of Nylander.

The 25-year-old's second tally put the Maple Leafs squarely in the driver's seat. It came on the power play just over five minutes into the third period as Toronto took a 2-0 advantage.

"It was a tight match, tight game,” Sean Couturier said. "They got a lucky bounce there, the first one, and then the kill doesn't get the job done and we’re chasing the game. It was tight out there, not really much both ways, but we've got to find a way to win those games."

• Carter Hart, who entered with a 2.41 goals-against average and .926 save percentage, wasn't a problem. In fact, he was the Flyers' best player for much of the game and finished with 30 saves.

Ondrej Kase sealed the Maple Leafs' win when he beat Hart with 6:27 minutes left.

Toronto netminder Jack Campbell made 36 saves in his 11th start of the season for the shutout.

• The Flyers' power play went 0 for 4 with four shots. Its entries were sloppy and it struggled to get settled for any type of sustained threat.

After the man advantage went 0 for 2 in the first period, Keith Yandle returned to his first-unit quarterback role and Ivan Provorov slid back onto the second unit. That was the personnel decision the club opened the season with and going back to it didn't change the Flyers' luck.

"We tried in-game to make some changes on the power play," Vigneault said postgame when asked about possibly changing up his forward lines. "I want to take a look again at this game. Our group has been pretty good here so far. It won’t be perfect all the time and obviously we weren’t perfect tonight."

• Beloved former Flyer Wayne Simmonds was back in Philadelphia with Toronto.

The 33-year-old is in his second season with the Maple Leafs, a homecoming for the Scarborough, Ontario native.

"His attitude, his work ethic, the way he battled and went out there and played the game hard," Couturier said Tuesday when asked why Simmonds fit so well in a city like Philadelphia. "He was one of the best teammates you could ask for, he was always there for you, on and off the ice. Those are great leadership qualities that I've learned from. I appreciate having him around for so long in my career. I just feel lucky to call him my friend."

Simmonds and Oskar Lindblom shared a brief hello in warmups.

"He's a great guy, a hard-working guy," Lindblom said before the game. "He's been in the league for so long and put up points. I have nothing bad to say about him."

The power forward went scoreless Wednesday in 12:48 minutes.

• The Flyers practice Thursday in Voorhees, New Jersey before heading to Raleigh, North Carolina for the start of their back-to-back road set. The club faces the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes on Friday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Stars on Saturday (8 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).

Carolina is off to a 10-1-0 start.

"They've been a really good team the last four, five years," Yandle said. "Going in there, it's a tough building to play in. I think what's nice for us is we get on the road, get back on it and go play some hockey."

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