Through three games, the Blackhawks refused to be boxed in. That is, they had the fewest penalty minutes per game of any team in the NHL.
And before Wednesday's game coach Joel Quenneville discussed the virtues of hockey cleanliness.
"You want to make sure in today's game you don't want to change momentum by taking penalties, careless penalties," Quenneville said. "In playoff time, we talk about staying out of the box and don't give the team momentum off their power play and you're vulnerable as well. Every game is different."
Wednesday's game couldn't have been more different. The Hawks committed six penalties in their 3-0 loss to the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center and looked nothing like the disciplined, efficient unit that had its best outing of the young season Saturday night.
Captain Jonathan Toews said the penalties were a result of "insufficient" five-on-five play.
"Sometimes when you don't come out with the work ethic you need, we weren't winning the puck races, we weren't winning the battles, all those little details you hear us talk about," Toews said. "You don't get the bounces if you don't do that."
Quenneville and Toews did not like what they saw on the ice Wednesday night outside of the tribute the Flyers had for retired defenseman Kimmo Timonen. For Toews, who seemed perplexed by the Hawks' lack of energy, the best explanation was that the Hawks are still in feeling-out mode this early in the season.
"It's making sure we're all prepared, we're all ready to go before the game, and we're all on the same page," Toews said. "It starts with the guys who have been here for a number of years, guys who know what it takes, especially early on."
Give an opponent that many opportunities on the power play and it is bound to cash in on one of them, as the Flyers did in the second period with a goal from Sam Gagner. Although the same could not be said for the Hawks, who could not convert on five Flyers penalties.
When the Hawks did get strong chances, they could not score on Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who finished with 30 saves.
The Philadelphia crowd greeted winger Patrick Kane with its usual collective booing but some pockets of the crowd took to chanting "She said no," in reference to the sexual assault investigation Kane faces for an incident at his home in Western New York. It was Kane's second road game of the season. On Friday, a smattering of fans at the Barclays Center in New York chanted "No means no" at various points of the game.
Kane has been able to keep up his production on the ice, but didn't have as many scoring chances Wednesday as he did in previous games. The Hawks being on the penalty kill throughout the first two periods had something to do with that.
Coming into the game, the Hawks were hoping to stay out of the penalty box but there was one trend they were hoping to reverse. Through three games, one line —center Artem Anisimov and wingers Artemi Panarin and Kane — accounted for six goals. Other Hawks forwards had scored just one entering Wednesday night. That streak extended into Thursday.
"It wasn't about trying different things," Quenneville said. "We were brutal."
There was no getting around that Wednesday.
Chris Hine's three stars
1. Michal Neuvirth, Flyers: Goaltender made 30 saves and had a strong third period.
2. Claude Giroux, Flyers: Scored one goal and hit the post with another shot.
3. Mark Streit, Flyers: Defenseman had four blocked shots, was a plus-2 in 22:22 of ice time.