TORONTO - As the final week of the season winds down, the Flyers closed out their road campaign and flew the team charter home to be put away until next season.
They were better overall away from the Wachovia Center, winning 12 of their 41 games; they have won nine at home.
Still, if the Flyers can manage to win their three remaining home games, starting tomorrow night against the Devils, they can tie the road tally in wins and keep from finishing below the 58-point mark recorded in the 1969-70 season, the worst record in franchise history.
It won't be easy.
As of last night, all three opponents were still in the Eastern Conference playoff picture - the Devils, Islanders and Sabres.
And those games will be like last night's. With Toronto needing a win to keep its playoff hopes alive, the Maple Leafs came out firing and peppered Martin Biron with shots, putting two behind him.
The Flyers managed to stay in the game and tied the score on a goal at 15:46 of the third period by Mike York.
Jeff Carter hooked Mats Sundin in overtime and Bryan McCabe scored on a four-on-three power play, giving the Leafs a 3-2 win in Air Canada Centre.
"The road seemed to be a lot easier for us this year if you're going to try and find some positives in our season," Mike Knuble said. "Now we go home and we have the chance to try and get three wins at home and try and salvage something at home.
"We've really struggled this year and on the road we've been able to fare better. I don't know why exactly."
Knuble knows the next three games are going to be battles.
"We're playing against teams desperate for points," he said. "You can tell by the reaction of the players when [McCabe] scored that goal how desperate they were for the win. And at the same time, we want to make sure we're competing and playing hard and keep the point for ourselves."
As for Biron, if he was off his game on Saturday against the Rangers, he was on against the Leafs, except for two goals he didn't see because of screens.
Toronto shelled the Flyers' net at the start, forcing Biron to make 13 of his 30 saves in the first period alone.
The Flyers were as disorganized to start as they have been all season and managed just five shots.
"They were a team that was desperate for points and we talked about that," Biron said. "They came out hard and we weathered the storm a little bit but we never really got our legs under us. They beat us to a lot of pucks when we had the chance to get their momentum and they played their game."
Ryan Potulny woke things up 1:25 into the second period. Knuble chipped one up the boards to Ben Eager, who dished to the breaking rookie.
Potulny skated in on an angle and picked the corner over Andrew Raycroft's shoulder, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead. The goal woke Toronto up again and the Leafs evened things up at 9:53.
"[Raycroft] was cheating a little bit. I was coming down that side and we had a three-on-two and I think he thought I was going to pass so he slid over a little bit," Potulny said.
"We battled back there at the end and scored the goal, but they capitalized on the power play. It would have been a fun game to win for us."
The Leafs tied it after Carter got beat by Bates Battaglia behind the Flyers' net. Battaglia came out and got the puck to Ian White, who walked in from the blue line and blew the puck past a screened Biron.
Hal Gill gave Toronto the lead at 14:40 of the second period with another long point shot. By the time the shot went in, the Leafs were already outshooting the Flyers, 24-9. It was Flyers defenders who screened on the first goal, it was Toronto's Chad Kilger on the second.
"He stood right in front of me and when Gill got the puck he even saw him look over his shoulder to see where I was," Biron said. "I was a little to his left and he moved to the left and I tried to move to the right while at the same time the shot came in and grazed my shoulder, went off the bar and in."
Toronto continued to pressure the Flyers, but Biron stood solid and with 4:14 left, York jumped on a loose puck off a broken play out in front of Raycroft and scored in the corner of the net.
So now it's back to the Center for a last shot at avoiding the record book.