Sean Couturier's slammed his stick in disgust as he skated off the ice after the Flyers' gut-wrenching 3-2 overtime loss in Boston on Saturday afternoon.
Couturier's turnover led to Brad Marchand's winning goal, which deflected off defenseman Michael Del Zotto, and the Bruins escaped with a comeback victory.
The Flyers' season started in Boston and, in effect, probably ended there because of a stunning late-game sequence Saturday.
As the closing seconds of regulation ticked away, the Flyers appeared to be finishing a hard-earned 2-1 win that would move them within two points of the Bruins for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Instead, it was the Bruins' Marchand who ruined the Flyers day….and maybe their season.
Marchand scored on a terrific deflection with 14.1 seconds left in regulation, knotting the score at 2-all, and then deposited the game-winner in overtime. Patrice Bergeron won a faceoff from Claude Giroux to set up Marchand's first goal.
The Flyers fell five points out of a playoff spot, and the Bruins have two games in hand.
"They found a way to win and we found a way to lose," goalie Steve Mason, whose team missed two golden scoring opportunities in overtime, told reporters. "We have to find ways to close these games out."
"We got a point, should have had two, but now we have to go to New Jersey and get two," coach Craig Berube said.
"It's crushing. We worked hard and little things hurt us," said Chris VandeVelde, who tipped in Nick Schultz' point drive with 4:30 left in regulation to put the Flyers ahead, 2-1.
Late in regulation, the Bruins were on a six-on-four because it pulled its goalie and because Wayne Simmonds was called for a controversial hooking penalty with 2:03 left.
In the overtime, the Flyers failed to connect on a three on one _ only managing a weak shot _ and on Jake Voracek's breakaway. Tuukka Rask turned aside Voracek;s attempt.
In the Flyers' most important game of the season, Mason was outstanding.
Mason has played two games since learning his goalie coach and confidante, Jeff Reese, would no longer be with the team. Reese and GM Ron Hextall announced they had mutually agreed on the split, and many wondered if it would have a negative effect on Mason.
It hasn't. First, Mason was outstanding in a 3-1 win over powerful St. Louis on Thursday, and on Saturday he was just as good, making 34 saves.
Mason has just one road win in 15 games this season. That has more to do with his lack of goal support than his play.
Mason made his best save when he flung out his stick at the last second to deny former Flyer Max Talbot on a first-period rebound. It looked like a sure goal and it kept the Flyers within 1-0.
He made a key stop on Milan Lucic with about 14 minutes left in the third, and several other big saves that enabled the Flyers to take a 2-1 lead into the closing seconds of regulation.
Voracek's power-play tally _ just his third goal in the last 23 games _ tied it in the second period, and VandeVelde's ninth goal broke the tie.
The Flyers have points in 16 of their last 19 games (10-3-6), but they have left too many points on the table. Boston, meanwhile, won for just the fifth time in its last 14 games (5-6-3).
The Flyers have 16 games left _ two fewer than Boston.
Tweeted actor David Boreanaz:
"Every shift is a Game 7 moment for @NHLFlyers from here on out. They put themselves in this position, so they will live or die by it. #letsGo "
The Flyers' next "Game 7" in Sunday in New Jersey; they then host Dallas on Tuesday.
Breakaways. Boston won all three games against the Flyers this season; the Flyers scored a total of four goals in the three losses…."We can't let Marchand stand in front of the net like that," Berube said of his game-tying goal….Voracek notched his 20th goal. "We just have to make sure we refocus and play the same way" against the Devils on Sunday, he said. After losing a late lead in such a critical game Saturday, that will not be easy....Giroux has two goals in his last 18 games.....Andrew MacDonald had four blocks, VandeVelde had four hits, and Voracek had six shots....Former Flyer Talbot had the primary assist on the OT goal....Boston was 2 for 4 on the PP, while the Flyers were 1 for 2.