Scott Hartnell’s look said it all. His eyes squeezed shut, partially in pain, partially trying to forget a 4-2 defeat Sunday night to the New Jersey Devils that was much worse than the scoreboard suggested.
The Flyers didn’t get to many loose pucks and when they did, they lost the battle. They didn’t skate and they didn’t do what they had done all regular season to be successful: they were outworked. Now their season is in jeopardy with Tuesday’s Game 5 against the Devils being a possible last hoorah.
“I can probably count on one hand how many battles we’ve won in four games,” Hartnell said. “It’s no surprise why we’re losing 3-1 in the series now. You could use ‘backs against the wall’ and all that kinda stuff, but we play that way [on Tuesday in Game 5] it’s gonna be a long summer to sit and think about what could’ve been.”
The frustration is settling in. Hartnell threw one of his gloves into the penalty box in the first period before he skated in for an interference call just after the Devils’ second goal.
Claude Giroux threw a hit to the head of Dainus Zubrus that only got him a two-minute minor, but may be looked at by the league for supplemental discipline. But the Flyers know the answer is to calm down and re-evaluate.
“It’s a fine line between frustration and emotion and passion,” Danny Briere said. “I think that’s right now what we’re trying to find. … I think we’ve got to find a way to tow that line a little better than we have so far this postseason.”
One thing’s for sure, if the Flyers are going to keep their season alive, changes will need to be made.
“I think we’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow,” defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to them. They’re playing really solid strong skating game and that’s why I say we’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow.”
Wasted was perhaps Ilya Bryzgalov’s best performance of the playoffs. He made 39 saves on 42 shots and kept the Flyers in the game until an empty-netter sealed the deal with 45 seconds left.
“He was our best player, by far,” Timonen said. “We gotta be better. Hopefully next game he can play the same way and hopefully we can get better because obviously if we can’t get better, the season is theirs. It’s frustrating, but we’re still alive and I’m sure we’ll talk about different things tomorrow and try to figure out what’s going on because we’re really a better team than what we’re playing like right now.”