NEW YORK - The Flyers were given two early power plays and had a chance to take the lead, seize the momentum, and change the makeup of Game 5 of their playoff series at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon.
Instead, they struggled mightily on both opportunities - managing a total of two shots - and soon allowed the opening goal for the fourth time in the five games of the series, paving the way for a 4-2 Rangers victory.
"If the power play executes in the first period . . . it might be a different game," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "It's not like we're getting outplayed; it's a tight series. It's two good teams, and it's right there."
The Flyers now are hanging from the proverbial ledge by their fingertips, their roller-coaster ride of a season one loss away from ending.
"We needed to be better, obviously," winger Scott Hartnell said of the squandered early power plays. "You kind of had the feeling it would come bite us in the butt after the game. Our first unit's been struggling. Kind of one-and-done - and not even that. We've lost some key battles in the corners."
Hartnell paused. "But we have to hit the delete button on this one. We've got to refocus. I think everyone knew at the beginning of the series it was probably going to go seven games."
To get to a Game 7, the Flyers have to defeat the Rangers on Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers were 1 for 5 on the power play, but by the time Vinny Lecavalier scored with the man advantage - a deflection off a Ranger - they were in a 3-0 hole.
Flyers captain Claude Giroux didn't guarantee a victory in Game 6, but he expects one.
"We aren't looking at it like it's our last game of the season," he said. "We've come back all season long when it matters."
Giroux said the players were "obviously a little frustrated now, but we'll have to get jacked up again. And our fans always give us a little boost."
Even though he had a game-high six shots and his first goal of the series, Giroux said, "it was the last minute that I scored; it's got to be better."