It was too little, too late for the Dallas Stars Thursday night.
The Stars couldn't crack Philadelphia goaltender Carter Hart until late in the third period and then couldn't get the equalizer, falling 2-1 to the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.
Jamie Benn scored the lone goal, and Anton Khudobin made 20 saves for the Stars, who ended their three-game road trip with a 1-2-0 record and fell to 23-18-4 on the season. Hart stopped 37 shots for the Flyers, who snapped an eight-game losing streak.
Here are five things from Thursday's game.
1. Stars flat in Philly
The Stars were not sharp as they closed out their three-game road trip in Philadelphia. The Stars had 38 shots on goal in the game but didn't generate a lot of high-danger chances and did not test Hart, the 20-year-old Flyers goaltender who was making his eighth NHL start. Hart was solid and showed a lot of poise, but the Stars didn't put him under a lot of duress.
"Just not enough players having an impact either with the puck or without the puck," said Stars coach Jim Montgomery. "It was a game where you wanted somebody to step up and take it for us. We didn't have that desperation in our game until the third period We need to establish that kind of mentality earlier in the game."
After a lackluster first period, the Stars fell behind 2-0 in the second period, a frame they usually dominate and one where the Flyers tend to struggle. The Flyers scored twice by getting pucks and people to the net.
Their first goal came when James van Riemsdyk grabbed the rebound of a Radko Gudas shot and threw a no-look backhand pass to the net that Travis Konecny tipped past Khudobin 83 seconds into the period.
Goal two came during a delayed penalty call on the Stars and an extra attacker on the ice for the Flyers. Claude Giroux put a shot on net that van Riemsdyk tipped, and then it went off the skate of Stars defenseman Esa Lindell and into the net, and it was a 2-0 game.
The Stars put 18 shots on net in the third period but gave up some odd-man rushes, including a couple of shorthanded 2-on-1 opportunities, and then a 2-on-0 rush. A couple of big saves by Khudobin and the Flyers not executing kept the game from getting out of hand.
"Probably lucky we only lost 2-1," said Benn.
Benn scored with 2:51 left in the third to make it interesting, but the Stars couldn't get the equalizer, and they headed home with only two of a possible six points on the road trip.
Video: DAL@PHI: Benn scores from the slot
2. Depth struggling to score
The Stars scored five goals during the three-game road trip. Tyler Seguin (2), Alexander Radulov, and Benn scored four of them. John Klingberg scored the other.
Over the last six games, Benn, Seguin, and Radulov have scored 10 of the team's 14 goals. Three came from defensemen: Miro Heiskanen scored two and Klingberg one. The only other forward to chip in was Radek Faksa with one.
On Thursday, the line of Benn, Seguin, and Radulov saw a lot of Philadelphia's Sean Couturier until Montgomery started juggling in the second period. Couturier is one of the best defensive forwards in the game and got some quality help from the defense pair of Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim in helping keep Dallas' top players in check. Benn scored late in the game, but it wasn't enough on this night. The Stars had a couple of power-play chances, but couldn't cash in, and saw their six-game streak of scoring with the man-advantage come to an end.
This was a night where some scoring down the lineup would have helped. It's something the Stars haven't seen since they blew out the Red Wings at home on Dec. 29. Some of the Stars forwards know that their offensive numbers are lagging behind expectations.
"I'm definitely behind where I was last year (in goal scoring) at this point and so are some other guys," said Stars forward Tyler Pitlick, "but I don't know, like I said, I feel like it's a simple answer we just got to do it."
"I think the last thing we should do is think about it and worry about it," said Stars forward Devin Shore said. "You know, you can chip in, but if you start thinking about production, you get away from other things. As far as depth guys, throw me in there, we're not good enough to just try to produce, if we play the right way and battle that will take care of itself."
Video: Shore 'disappointed with result' after loss to Flyers
3. Playing to the level of the competition?
The Flyers didn't come into Thursday night's game against the Stars on a roll, at least not a positive one. The Flyers had lost eight straight games and were sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and the NHL.
But they found a way to get two points against the Stars to snap their skid.
Before the game, Seguin told NHL.com that the Stars have a habit of playing to the level of their competition.
"For big games and big teams our culture here has been we're up for it, we're going to play a good game," he said. "For the teams that aren't in the playoffs we tend to let the teams dictate the pace of the game or the style of the game, things like that. We want to start being more dictators. If there's a team we're supposed to beat, let's beat them 4-0."
So, what's the record show as far as the Stars playing good teams and not so good teams? Well, against the top ten teams in the standing this season the Stars are 10-5-2. Against the bottom ten teams in the standings the Stars are 6-6-0.
Video: Montgomery: Not enough players had an impact in loss
4. Honka returns, creates some chances
Defenseman Julius Honka came back into the lineup after getting scratched Tuesday and was noticeable on the offensive side of things. He had a couple of quality chances in the second including a wrap-around attempt that Hart made a nice stop on to keep it a 1-0 game.
Honka played 14:32, had three shots on goal, four shot attempts, and two blocked shots. The Stars were a plus-16 in shot attempts five-on-five (22-6) while he was on the ice. The Stars were also a plus-12 in shots on goal 5-on-5 (14-2) when Honka was on the ice.
Video: DAL@PHI: Khudobin robs Konecny's 2-on-0 chance
5. Goals hard to come by on road
The Stars fell to 9-13-2 on the road. ... The Stars have scored two goals or fewer in 17 of their 24 road games. ... The Stars outshot the Flyers 38-22 and had a 67-51 advantage in shot attempts. ... Radulov led the Stars with 10 shot attempts. ... The Stars were 0-for-2 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill. ... The Stars won 31 of 59 faceoffs (53 percent). Faksa won 9 of 13 faceoffs (69 percent). ... Klingberg led the Stars with 27:05 of ice time. Heiskanen was next with 24:08.
Here is the lineup the Stars used to start the game along with scratches and injuries.
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Devin Shore - Jason Spezza - Erik Condra
Valeri Nichushkin - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick
Mattias Janmark - Roope Hintz - Blake Comeau
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Roman Polak
Julius Honka - Taylor Fedun
Scratched: Connor Carrick, Brett Ritchie
Injured: Jason Dickinson (back), Martin Hanzal (back), Marc Methot (knee), Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches)
Video: Condensed Game: Stars @ Flyers
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mark Stepneski has covered the Stars for DallasStars.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.