The Toronto Marlies find themselves on the brink of playoff elimination after falling to the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-1 Friday night in Game 4 of the AHL Western Conference semifinals.
The Griffins lead the series 3-1, and host Game 5 Saturday.
"It's a best-of-seven series," Toronto right winger Greg Scott. "We know that and they know that. Our backs are against the wall, so we have to come out flying (Saturday), and I think we're going to do that."
Grand Rapids snapped a 1-1 tie with 9:47 left when a shot by Landon Ferraro from behind the net deflected off Marlies defenceman Dylan Yeo and into the goal.
"That's hockey sometimes, and those goals happen," Scott said. "From our end, I think we have to do the same. We have to create our own luck."
The Marlies opened the scoring in the first period when Carter Ashton flung a shot toward the net from the left side and it trickled past the stick of Griffins goalie Petr Mrazek.
It was Ashton's second goal in as many games.
"It's always best to play with the lead, and I was relieved to see us get that goal," Toronto coach Dallas Eakins said. "But unfortunately, we had a breakdown on our penalty kill and it evened the score."
Grand Rapids tied the game in the second period with a power play from Tomas Jurco off a pass from Luke Glendening.
Grand Rapids added a pair of empty-net goals in the final minute from Jeff Hoggan and Jan Mursak.
The Marlies had limited opportunities to score and were outshot 36-18.
"We're still looking for that extra pass," Eakins said. "And I think on our goal that's what we want to do. We have to throw pucks at the net and see what comes out of it. Obviously, it is something we'll key on for tomorrow."
"We just have to play in our zone more. We create when we get our cycle going, and that's when we usually generate offence. We have to keep that going," said Scott.
Marlies goaltender Drew MacIntyre made 32 saves, while Mrazek stopped 17 shots for Grand Rapids.
Grand Rapids was 1 for 7 on the power play, while Toronto was 0 for 3.
The Marlies need a win Saturday to send the series back to Toronto for Game 6.
"We need to win one game," Eakins said. "We don't have to win two or win three. We have to win one game and our group understands that."