Down 3-1 in the opening round of the post season, the Flyers would need a miracle to not be eliminated. But don’t tell the players, who wrongly believe they’ve gotten jobbed out the series thus far and still have a shot.
“We could be up 3-1 instead of down 3-1,” said Flyers’ forward Danny Briere. “But, it is what it is.”
One could argue that the Flyers have been the better team this series, but lack of consistency on offense, just like down the final stretch of the season, has been a common problem for the orange and black. Throw in an en fuego Marc-Andre Fleury, and it’s a recipe for early elimination.
“We’re happy about the effort and the urgency but we have to keep going,” Briere said. “We’re not dead. It’s going to be a tough task, but to be successful you have to overcome some challenges. We’re not quitters.”
However well they have played, the lack of accountability by the players for the losses is startling and shows the youthful mindset of the team.
The referee calls throughout the series have been questionable at best, for both sides. But even after earning a lopsided eight power plays in Monday’s game four and scoring on none of them, the Flyers still managed to pick at the refs for the loss and not point at themselves.
“You might look at it and say we didn’t get people to the net. Well, we did get people to the net,” said Richards. “We didn’t put the puck at our feet and throw ourselves in the net, which apparently is allowed now. But other than that I felt like we played a good hockey game.”
Richards was referring to the Penguins’ first goal, when Sidney Crosby did a home plate slide into the net, having the puck ricochet off of him and past Marty Biron. The goal was ugly but clean, as it hit Crosby’s stick before tapping his arm and in.
The Flyers’ defense has been above average and goaltending has been satisfactory. But the real problem has been lack of offensive consistency, something that was supposed to be Philly’s calling card.
Despite nabbing a six-goal game three, the Flyers have scored two or less goals in three of the four games. Notable offensive absences have been as follows..
Mike Knuble: No goals, one assist, minus-3
Joffrey Lupul: No goals, one assist, plus-1
Danny Briere: No goals, two assists, minus-1
And to a lesser extent Jeff Carter, who has been one of the better Flyers, but still has only one goal, no assists and is a minus 1.
All four players see significant power play time.
Simon Gagne leads the Flyers in the post season with three goals and no assists, with a minus-1. Of all the players in the playoffs, Gagne ranks 25th in scoring and is the only Flyers’ player in the top 30.
If the Flyers expect to climb back into the series, they are going to need to get some serious firepower from their big guns. However, it is more likely that the sleeping giant that is the Flyers’ offense, remains in its slumber until next season.