For Flyers, a disturbing trend

    Sean Avery scored two goals today to trigger the New York Rangers' 4-1 win over the Flyers at electric Madison Square Garden.

   It was his first two-goal game in nearly a year, and both scores were on the power play.

   The Rangers were 3 for 9 on the power play, while the Flyers were 1 for 6.

    The Flyers, who are now just four points ahead of the Rangers, have only 14 regular-season games left. Fourteen games to figure out why their special teams are no longer special.

    If they don't figure it out, they will make an early playoff exit.

    Goaltending and special teams, of course, are even more magnified in the playoffs. Marty Biron, who had today off, seems to be rounding into form.

    The same can't be said for the power play, which was once No. 1 in the NHL but has fallen to No. 7 during a dismal six-week period. The Flyers are just 5 for 44 on the PP in their last nine games. That won't cut it in the playoffs. 

   And they allowed three PP goals today against a team that ranks No. 28 in the league.

   Another disturbuing trend: Opponents have scored first against the Flyers in six of the last seven games.

   The Flyers will try to rebound Tuesday when they play the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings in Detroit.

    Yes, it will be a good measuring stick to see if the Flyers are Cup contenders. Biron will be back in the net.