And it was all the bait the Sharks needed, as they kept Claude Giroux and a full line of Flyers forwards without a shot on their way to a 1-0 victory in front of 17,562 hungry fans at HP Pavilion.
"I don't know why that's been the case," Giroux said the other day of the Flyers' sluggish starts. "But that's something that's been killing us."
The Flyers missed out on an opportunity to close out their four-game western swing with a 3-1-0 record and more importantly, climb to fourth place in the Eastern Conference over the idle Penguins.
Instead, the Flyers flew back to Philadelphia today with a 2-2-0 record on the trip, as they were blanked on the scoreboard for the second time in three games.
If the Stanley Cup playoffs were to start today, the sixth-place Flyers would visit Florida, the current Southeast Division leader.
Giroux headlined a group of Flyers, including James van Riemsdyk and Max Talbot, who were all held without a single shot on net. In all, the Flyers ended up with 26 shots on goal, their lowest since Feb. 5.
The usual culprits in that category are the fourth line. That wasn't the case last night. Danny Briere, who has now gone 17 games without scoring since his hat trick on Jan. 7 against Ottawa, was demoted to the fourth line, where he combined with Sean Couturier and Zac Rinaldo for six shots.
Last night, even five of the Flyers' six defensemen registered a shot on net.
For Giroux, who trails Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin by six points in the Art Ross Trophy race, it marked the first time he was held without a shot in a game since March 26, 2011 - a span of 77 games, including last year's playoffs. Giroux posted 16 shots in the Flyers' previous three games during the road trip.
Even with the rough start, Bryzgalov couldn't be blamed for the loss, actually carrying the Flyers for long stretches. In his fifth straight start, Bryzgalov followed up his surprising shootout win on Saturday in Calgary with one of his best starts of the season.
It was the forwards up front who failed Bryzgalov on this night. With Sharks defensemen sprawling to make saves in place of Antti Niemi in the final minute, no third-period push at the other end was enough to deliver a point to support Bryzgalov's effort.
San Jose, skating in HP Pavilion for the first time since Feb. 10, was eager to climb back into the Pacific Division lead. And it showed.
The loss wrapped up a month to forget for the Flyers, as they faltered through February with a 5-7-1 record, their worst since they limped into the playoffs last April with a 1-2-2 mark.
The Flyers went 0-for-2 on the power play . . . Last night was the Flyers' only game of the road trip in which they did not allow a power-play goal . . . Talk about a long trip: With the additions of Pavel Kubina and Nicklas Grossman, defenseman Andreas Lilja was scratched in all four games for the Flyers out West. Jody Shelley was also a healthy scratch . . . Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Neil Young was spotted in attendance . . . In addition to head coach Todd McLellan (concussion), the Sharks were without star forward Logan Couture (lower-body injury).
Contact Frank Seravalli at email@example.com or @DNFlyers on Twitter. Read his blog at philly.com/frequentflyers.