Flyers Eliminated From Playoffs With 3-1 Loss To Devils
Don’t get caught up in the why. Concern yourself with what is.
Because, really, you don’t know the cause behind the Flyers totally troubling second-round out to the Devils. You never trolled the locker room. You never sat in on the Peter Laviolette pump-ups. You never shared the ice baths.
So without experience, what expertise can you really offer?
That includes you too, beat guys, who catch 15 minute flashes three or four times a week. Let’s be real: You know more. But you don’t know all. None of us do.
So you can’t play psychologist throughout the lull of this loss.
So you can’t peg their three games to one flop to all of us figuring and scheming and mapping ideal playoff scenarios coming in. You can’t call their 3-1 loss in Game 5 gutless and disgraceful and embarrassing, what it would be if they didn’t care. You can’t say that packing up now, leaving out so much was a matter of being indifferent or unmotivated or entitled. You can’t.
Yeah, you figured them capable of dropping the 30 goals they did on Pittsburgh against New Jersey, seemingly lesser a team and more a matchup advantage for Philly. They didn't. They only scored 11.
You figured them favorites for taking a Stanley Cup, after sending packing the only playoff team with two top names and the odds-on favorites coming in. They might've been. They're not anymore.
But to reach for anything emotional (maybe they couldn't handle the round one roller coaster), or question their maturation (was hoisting The Cup really too much to expect a cast of up-and-comers?) isn't really constructive. It's good conversation filler. But it doesn't get to the Boar's Head of the issue.
Want facts? The Flyers, stuck with a fork for their only four-game losing streak this season (longest in the regular season was three), looked sleepy and sluggish and slow all series. The Devils, who’ve now netted three goals for seven games straight, didn’t. Whether that was the function of New Jersey’s long, weight-shedding bout with Florida for the week-plus prior or not; whether that really helped it skate faster and hit harder and make getting 50-50 pucks like taking the field at the Kentucky Derby or not; whether it’s totally reasonable and rational to note that plenty of teams push onward just fine despite (or because of) six-game series; that’s what happened here. That’s the immediate legacy. That’s what should be etched in your memory.
Lazy passes. Dead legs. Broken spirits. The spirit of your city reduced to rubble.
That’s how best to explain David Clarkson’s first-period goal to give the Devils a lead the Flyers were too spent to steal back. Overall, Ilya Bryzgalov, who sprawled out for 27 saves on 30 Devil shots, rose up in how he has all series. But on that one, he made a very Bryzgalovy boo-boo, launching what was supposed to be a clearance off the shin of Clarkson and into the back of the net.
Freak goal. Bad luck. Worse burn.
Yeah, zaniness like that only happens to Bryz. But can you really slam him for that?
Can you really clobber Philly for any of it? Funneling their focus into physicality (out-hit New Jersey 38-26) instead of strategy (outshot 30-28)? James van Riemsdyk clinging to Patrik Elias just under five minutes into the third like a toddler after five hours at the mall? (Ilya Kovalchuk scored his fifth goal of the playoffs four seconds later, to give the Devils a cushion to kick their feet up on.) Four penalties, none of which fit into a tangible action plan? (Two for interference, one for high-sticking, one for holding.)
What else could you really expect?
Heroics? Pixie (ice) dust straight from a 2010 time capsule? Clawing out from a hole most can’t?
Was that really ever a possibility? Without Claude Giroux, who served out his one-game ban in a suit? Without Chris Pronger, who’s still nursing a head injury that, if it hadn’t happened and kept him shelved since Nov. 19, would pretty effectively end all that talk about the Devils top-shelf floor-checking?
Maybe not. Maybe we should've known better. Or at least we should've stuck to what we did.
And should start making up for that now.