Apr 30, 2014; New York, NY, USA; The New York Rangers celebrate a goal scored by left wing Benoit Pouliot (67) on Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason (35) during the second period in game seven of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Game Recap: Coming Home Empty-Handed, Again

Apr 30, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Benoit Pouliot (67) shakes hands with Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (14) as New York Rangers left wing Daniel Carcillo (13) shakes hands with Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) after game seven of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers defeated the Flyers 2-1 to advance to the next round of the playoffs. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Flyers dropped a nail-biter to the Rangers tonight, losing 2-1 in Game 7 of the Quarterfinals.  The Flyers lost because of key defensive breakdowns and a lack of aggression in the offensive zone.  These were areas of significant improvement in Game 6, but the excellence and momentum from Game 6 could not be sustained.

There were key defensive breakdowns that ultimately lead the Rangers’ victory.  Several defensemen were guilty of multiple turnovers and giveaways.  Breakouts were either clean as could be or resulted in a quality Rangers’ scoring opportunity.  The Flyers forwards were also inconsistent.  The forwards were either winning every puck battle and generating chance after chance, or were making poor passes and were not aggressive towards the puck.  The most consistent player for the Flyers besides Mason, was Jason Akeson.  Is it a good thing or a bad thing that a recent call up was the Flyers’ most consistent forward?  In this game it was a bad thing.  Giroux didn’t have the killer instance he came out with in Game 6 two years ago to shut down the Penguins in the Quarterfinals, and he just couldn’t slam that one puck into the open net that will surely haunt him for a while.  Braydon Coburn was a turnover machine and Andrew MacDonald was shaky at best.  Wayne Simmonds, Scott Hartnell and Brayden Schenn were generating lots of chances, but couldn’t win many puck battles.  And the Flyers’ fourth line of Lecavalier, Hall, and Rinaldo wasn’t worthy, according to Berube, to play in the third period. I didn’t think they were worthy to play after the first period.  A lack of consistency lead to the Flyers downfall.

It is unfortunate that inconsistencies lead to the Flyers downfall, because when the were on the attack, the Rangers could not halt the Flyers offense.  The Flyers’ inconsistency didn’t give the game to the Rangers; it took the win from the Flyers.  The Rangers’ defensemen were worn down, Lundqvist was giving up rebounds and was a little slow, and the forwards were not extremely responsible as they were before.  Ryan McDonagh was favoring his previously injured shoulder throughout the entire third period.  None of the Rangers’ offensive stars were flashy or as dynamic as some of the Flyers’ forwards were at times.  This was a very winnable game, and it is unfortunate that these are the reasons the Flyers could not win.

So now we look to the postseason.  Free-agency.  The draft.  How will the Flyers prepare for the next season?  It is tough to think about, because our beloved Broad Street Bullies are returning to Philadelphia, empty-handed, once again.

Tags: Philadelphia Flyers

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