Sunday's 4-2 defeat meant that the Philadelphia Flyers had at least one more game to play this season. One final home game, regardless of the outcome of this series, could be played this hockey year when Craig Berube's squad hosts the New York Rangers at 7:30 p.m. EST on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.
The Flyers set a franchise record by overcoming 11 third period deficits this season. Coming from behind to win a game often indicates a resilient squad and will be necessary (game-wise) for the Rangers to be defeated in this opening-round series. But, that in-game, or in-series, pattern isn't one a team wants to rely on.
Philadelphia wasn't a strong defensive team from October through early-April, finishing twentieth in the National Hockey League in regular season goals allowed (235). The Flyers were a good offensive team, posting 236 goals (ninth in the NHL). Clearly that +1 goal differential was the mark of a decent, though hardly dominant team.
New York, backed by its superb veteran netminder Henrik Lundqvist, only surrendered 193 goals across 82 regular season games. That mark was the fourth-best in the League and helped to create a goal differential of +25, due to the 218 goals (eighteenth in the NHL) they pushed past the opposition this year.
Steve Mason was the star of Game 4, when he only allowed one puck to cross the goal line in the Flyers 2-1 victory. 'Mase' yielded three tallies in Game 5, but wasn't the reason the Rangers won.
An early problem appeared on the ice in the first game of this Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals matchup. The Rangers immediately employed and have maintained a swarming defensive style that the Flyers have been unable to truly solve. The pace of most moments in games 1 through 5 have been driven by New York's style of play and thus a series victory is one win away.
Berube countered Alain Vigneault's tactics well enough to take two games from his Metropolitan Division colleague. In order for the Flyers to win this series some unexpected event will need to be in play during Game 6 and then Game 7 will assume its own individual identity. All the while Sidney Crosby and his Pittsburgh Penguins will be waiting to host the victor.