If the Flyers miss the playoffs by a point, they will look back at Tuesday night's 3-2 shootout loss to Ottawa as Exhibit A.
A poor play by goalie Steve Mason allowed Ottawa to tie the score late in regulation, and the Senators won it in the fifth round of the shootout at the Wells Fargo Center.
Mason was brilliant in the shootout as he stopped the first four shooters before Erik Karlsson deposited the winner.
"We have to learn from it and figure out a way to put teams away," said winger Michael Raffl, whose team was 0 for 4 on the power play. "I think we were in control of that hockey game."
"That's definitely another point we should have had," center Nick Cousins said..
Cousins, Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek, Travis Konecny, and Brayden Schenn failed to connect against Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson (37 saves) in the shootout.
Kyle Turris went around defenseman Brandon Manning and scored on a wraparound with 1 minute, 59 seconds left to tie the score at 1-1. Mason, who had played a strong game up to that point, was slow to react.
"Turris made a heck of a play," coach Dave Hakstol said. "Overall, I think it was probably Mase's best 65 minutes of the year."
Manning said the defense "tried to protect the middle and keep him outside and he wrapped it around."
Mason, upset with the loss, left the locker room and declined to talk to reporters. It was his first start since Michal Neuvirth suffered a knee injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for at least a month.
"He's always hard on himself," Manning said. "I think he expects a lot of himself, and with probably a majority of the workload going forward, he's a guy who wants to step up and help us out, and like most guys, when you have a game you should win, it's tough on everyone."
A few minutes before Turris' goal, the Flyers killed their second penalty in as many tries. That left Ottawa 1 for 28 on the power play in its last 10 games.
The Flyers outshot the Senators, 39-30.
Raffl snapped a 1-1 tie by scoring on a rebound of a shot by Dale Weise with 6:42 remaining in the second period. The sequence started on a faceoff win by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, and Raffl got behind defenseman Karlsson and put the Flyers ahead by scoring on a backhander.
"I was able to beat my guy to the front of the net and get the rebound," Raffl said after scoring his second goal of the season.
Mark Stone, taking advantage of Mark Streit's turnover, had tied the game at 1-1 by scoring on a wrist shot from the slot with 12:51 left in the second.
That offset Cousins' first-period goal.
Cousins got the glory with a breakaway score, but Manning put the play in motion.
Cousins intercepted Derick Brassard's pass at the Flyers' defensive blue line and headed up ice. Manning was by his side and he screened off Brassard, enabling Cousins to go in on a breakaway and beat Craig Anderson for his second goal of the season, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead with 14:46 to play in the opening period.
Cousins anticipated Brassard's pass.
"He's a pretty skilled player, so I just thought I'd sort of cheat and it worked out for me," Cousins said.
But Ottawa (10-5-1) rallied and handed the Flyers (7-7-3) their fourth loss in the last five games.
"We felt like we played a pretty good game for 50 minutes or so," Manning said. "We still have a few areas to clean up, but like I said, when you give up a goal in the last five it's always hard."
"We've got to do a better job of extending the lead in the third period," Hakstol said.
The Flyers finish the homestand with games Thursday against Winnipeg and Saturday afternoon against Tampa Bay, which lost star forward Steven Stamkos to a leg injury Tuesday in Detroit. The Flyers also play in Tampa next Wednesday.