Time and time again this season the Flyers were welcomed
back into the playoff mix with open arms by their Eastern Conference rivals when
all hope appeared lost, and hey, the Orange & Black even responded on
occasion. More often they did not however, and following a third consecutive
loss to an opponent ahead of them in the standings on Thursday, with eight
games remaining it finally feels safe to say Philadelphia will miss out on
Stanley Cup fever for the first time since 2007.
The Ottawa Senators limited the Flyers opportunities through
the first two periods, and despite some good chances over the final 20 minutes,
the good guys were held to a single goal for the third outing in a row.
Meanwhile, the usual defensive breakdowns led to a pair of breakaway markers at
the other end, while the Sens added the exclamation point with an empty-netter
as the final seconds wore down to complete the 3-1 victory. It was the second
time in three tilts Philly lost to a team amid a five-game pointless streak.
To put where they’re at in the standings in perspective,
even if the Flyers somehow collected all 16 points possible from their
remaining schedule, the New York Rangers – currently situated in the eighth
seed – would still need only nine to beat them out for the final spot. Seeing
as the good guys have won more than two straight only once all season, and even
those four games are now sandwiched by losing streaks, it’s not a very likely
scenario to say the least.
If we’re being honest, it shouldn’t come as all that large a
surprise. The team started slow, never truly heated up, at times hardly showed
a pulse, and has generally had problems at every end of the ice. The fact that
the Flyers were in it for as long as they were was more a testament to a
condensed schedule and a top-heavy conference than of their own merit. But then
it’s still sort of a shock, because the minimum expectation for the club this
year had to be some level of postseason play.
It’s going to be a long offseason, one with plenty of finger
pointing for sure, because there is plenty of blame to go around. Of course, we’ve
been stuck at that stage of grief for awhile, so what else is there left to say
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