Offense vanishes as Flyers fall

      When your backup goalie allows just one goal _ as Brian Boucher did Saturday night _ you should skate off the ice with two points.

    Instead, the Flyers got zero in a 1-0 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers at the Philips Arena.

    It was the fifth loss in the last six games for the Flyers, who dearly miss the offense usually provided by Simon Gagne (abdominal/hernia surgery) and Danny Briere (flu).

    The Flyers have scored a total of four goals in their last three games.

    The loss snapped the Flyers' 14-game winning streak against Atlanta, which got superb goaltending from Johan Hedberg. The veteran made 34 saves as he notched his first shutout of the season and 12th of his career.

   The Flyers outshot the hosts, 34-18, but they were 0 for 4 on the power play.

    Missing four injured or ill forwards, the Flyers have squandered many opportunities around the net lately.

    "Obviously when you have guys like Briere and Gagne in the lineup, it makes a difference, but guys like me and James (van Riemsdyk) have an opportunity to play a lot and I think we just have to step up," Claude Giroux said.

    In their previous loss, a 4-2 setback to Buffalo Friday, the Flyers were beaten by an outstanding effort by goalie Ryan Miller. Hedberg, a backup, was even sharper than Miller.

   "We had a lot of good chances tonight, but we have to ...bear down around the net and go back to getting some ugly goals around the net," captain Mike Richards said.

   As he tried to make a move on Hedberg, Richards was pulled down with 8:49 to go by Maxim Afinogenov. Afinogenov received a tripping call, but, for some reason, Richards was called for holding.

    "It baffled me, too," Richards said.

    Buffalo's Rich Peverly scored just as a five-on-three power play was going to become a five-on-four in the second period.

     That proved to be the difference.

   The Flyers have lost five of their last six.

   "We're playing well enough to keep it close," defenseman Chris Pronger said. "We're not getting it to the finish line. Tonight, we had too many passengers. We need everybody on the same page for 60 minutes for us to win. Right now, we don't and that's costing us games.

   "I'm sure down the road, these points are going to be important. We have to get our head screwed on real fast and with these three or four days (between games) get sharp and tighten up some areas and get everybody on the same page. You don't want to fall too far behind the pack. You want to make sure you're continually improving, and not taking two steps back and one forward."