BOSTON -- It has become the "Nightmare on Causeway Street" for the Flyers.
For the second time since 2015, the Flyers got burned by the Bruins late in a game with enormous playoff overtones.
This time, it was Drew Stafford's lob shot on Steve Mason that was indirectly tipped by Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning into his own net with 5.6 seconds left in regulation that sealed a 2-1 Bruins' victory on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden (see Instant Replay).
Six seconds from gaining a point they desperately needed in their wild-card chase, the Flyers were stunned with a crushing defeat that left them six points out of the wild card after Toronto's win Saturday night in Carolina.
Two years ago, Boston tied a game in the final 15 seconds of regulation on a Brad Marchand goal before winning in overtime during a "Lost Weekend" that all but ended the Flyers' playoff hopes under Craig Berube.
This loss, under Dave Hakstol, felt a lot like that one.
"A bad break, a bad way to give up at least one point," Mason said. "No one else was in front, I had a good read on it.
"Unfortunately, Man Dog got his stick on it and it deflected back the opposite direction. An unfortunate mistake at a tough time."
It was the Flyers' sixth loss at TD Garden in the last seven years.
No one felt worse than Manning.
"Bounce of the puck, that's the way it goes," Manning, who was visibly upset, said. "Fifteen games left, there's lots of time here."
Instinctively, defensemen often use their sticks to block shots. The puck was off the ice, where it becomes more dangerous to touch it with a stick than their body.
"Unfortunately, it was a big moment, a big time of our season, it's tough right now," Manning said.
Asked if he would have done something different if given the chance again, Manning said, "What do you think? It's a game-winning goal at the biggest time of year."
That aside, the Flyers, as a group, played cautiously the entire third period, trying to get the game to overtime and earn a point instead of going for the win with a determined sense of urgency.
Boston held them to one shot through a 20-minute stretch from the second period into the third. Tuukka Rask faced just four shots in the third.
That's not playing with desperation. It won't earn you points in the wild card race, either.
"Their defense don't give you much room," Brayden Schenn said. "You can't play a run 'n gun style against the Boston Bruins. They check well. They don’t give up much. There's no sense in opening up a 1-1 hockey game we desperately needed to win."
Schenn was here two years ago when the Flyers' playoff hopes were dashed.
"We're not gonna quit," he said. "Fifteen games left, there's 30 points out there up from grabs. We're gonna do our best to make a push here."
As usual, it wouldn't be a Flyers loss without some bad luck and odd calls.
Jakub Voracek had a first-period breakaway. Rask made the initial stop, but Voracek spun and put a rebound shot toward the inside of the left post with Schenn taking a whack at it, too.
Voracek thought one of them had scored and raised his arms. Upon review, it was ruled the puck didn’t cross the line and the referee said he blew the play dead once Rask froze the puck at the post.
Apparently, the puck was across the goal after Schenn touched it, but the official, Marc Joannette, told Schenn his intent was blow the whistle sooner.
"It was intent to blow the whistle," Schenn said. "The puck was loose between the post and pad and I jammed it in.
"The rules tell you no goal. There was an inch from it fully going over. He had his pad tucked against the post. Puck was sandwiched between there."
Voracek said he doesn’t understand "intent" to blow a whistle and how that can deny a goal.
That's the Flyers' bad luck these days.
"You have to work for it to get lucky bounces," Voracek said. "We didn't get it. We had a 5-on-3 in the first period … could have been a different game if we scored."
True, the power play again figured in the defeat.
The Flyers had a two-man advantage for 1:43 late in the first period when they peppered Rask with seven shots -- five at 5-on-3. The Flyers have scored just one 5-on-3 goal all season.
"I thought we executed well and [Rask] made three, real good saves," Hakstol said. "We didn't score on it, but it didn't hurt us momentum-wise."
Actually, it did.
The Bruins came off that kill two minutes later with their own power play to break the scoreless tie. Patrice Bergeron found David Pastrnak in the crease for a one-timer. Bergeron has 31 points in 42 career games against the Flyers. He's a Flyer killer in his own right.
So, the 5-on-3 lost chance earlier was critical.
"That was a way better 5-on-3 than we did against Florida and Calgary," Voracek said. "We try to put the puck in front of the net and Simmer [Wayne Simmonds] had a couple good rebounds there. It didn’t go in. Rask was good."
The Flyers did tie early in the second on Jordan Weal's third goal. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy challenged that Simmonds was offside and lost.
With the game tied going into the third, the Bruins rattled off seven straight shots before Matt Read even got the Flyers' first of the period.
"We played a pretty good road game and tough to go away without any points," Hakstol said. "They had a pretty good push in the first part of the third.
"I thought we had the better play in the second … I didn't think either period was dominant one way or another, regardless of the shot attempts."