WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The Flyers ended a long scoring drought but not their losing streak Thursday night at Bell MTS Place.
They suffered their third straight loss, blowing a late lead and falling to Winnipeg, 3-2, in a shootout.
Bryan Little scored the winner in the shootout. Claude Giroux had a chance to win it earlier in the shootout but was denied.
Winnipeg scored three goals in four shootout shots.
“It’s a tough loss; we just have to regroup on Saturday,” said defenseman Robert Hagg, who, played 26 minutes and, along with partner Ivan Provorov (29:35) logged extra minutes because Radko Gudas was ejected in the first period.
“We’re up 2-1 with less than a minute left,” said Jake Voracek after scoring in the shootout along with teammate Jordan Weal. “We have to find a way to close it.”
With their goalie pulled for an extra attacker, Winnipeg tied it at 2-2 when Mark Scheifele took a feed from Blake Wheeler and scored on a one-timer from the slot with 48.4 seconds left in regulation. Scheifele was left alone.
The Flyers were threatening to set an unwanted record for the longest streak without a goal in franchise history, but they ended their drought early in the game.
But it didn’t matter.
After going 158 minutes, 36 seconds without a goal, the Flyers scored twice in a 2:48 span, getting goals from Voracek (rebound) and Sean Couturier (power play) as they snapped a two-game shutout streak — consecutive shutouts by Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk.
“I had to Google what a goal was,” one fan tweeted.
Goalie Brian Elliott had his fourth straight outstanding performance, and Voracek and Couturier each collected two points, helping the Flyers inch out of the Metropolitan Division basement.
But they weren’t celebrating.
The Flyers’ top line has scored 25 of the team’s 52 goals (48 percent).
Mathieau Perreault cut the Jets’ deficit to 2-1, scoring a power-play goal as he finished off a two-on-one with 6:55 left in the second. Scott Laughton was in the penalty box, serving a questionable boarding call.
Elliott robbed Scheifele on a point-blank backhander with 55 seconds left in the second period. He then made a great stop to deny Andrew Copp at the side of the net with 16:50 remaining in regulation.
With 7:47 to go, Elliott denied Kyle Connor from deep in the left circle, keeping the Flyers ahead, 2-1. A little over three minutes later, he gloved Copp’s backhander on a rebound.
Nolan Patrick returned to the lineup after missing nine games because of a concussion. The rookie center showed the effects of his long layoff. He played only 7:58, was replaced by Michael Raffl on the second power-play unit in the third period, and won only one of 11 faceoffs.
The Flyers played most of the game with five defensemen. Gudas received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for slashing Perreault in the head midway through the opening period.
“It’s hard, but we tried to help each other out, and we got pretty good help from the forwards as well,” Hagg said of the increased minutes.
If Gudas is suspended, Andrew MacDonald — provided he is ready to return from a leg injury — or Mark Alt figures to play in Saturday’s matinee against visiting Calgary.
Perreault, who missed the previous 12 games because of a leg injury, and Gudas were each originally given two-minute penalties for the scuffle. Perreault received two minutes for high sticking. About a minute later, after fans loudly booed a scoreboard video that showed Gudas slashing Perreault, the officials conferred.
They decided Gudas deserved a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said the referees told him they did not look at the replay to increase the punishment on Gudas, and the coach said he had to take them on their word.
Perreault said Gudas apologized to him in the penalty box. He didn’t exactly accept it.
“It wasn’t an accident,” said Perreault, adding Gudas’ stick caught him on the meaty part of his neck. “‘He’s been known for doing that stuff…I’m sure the league will take care of it.”
Voracek scored on a rebound 2:27 into the game, putting a point-blank wrist shot past Connor Hellebuyck. Couturier, who also excelled on the penalty kill, scored on a rebound less than three minutes later. It was his team-high 11th goal and just his second power-play tally in his last 89 games.
“We’ve been getting lots of good chances. It’s coming,” Giroux said before the game, before assisting on Voracek’s goal.
The Flyers, who have never been shut out in three consecutive games in franchise history, snapped a 1-for=18 power-play drought on Couturier’s goal. In just 19 games this season, the seventh-year center is four goals shy of his career high in goals (15).
The early outburst gave the Flyers two goals in the first 5:15.
Elliott stopped 21 of the 22 shots he faced in the first 40 minutes, including three quality saves on Little, the shootout hero. In his previous three starts, Elliott had a 1.00 goals-against average and an off-the-charts .964 save percentage.