It would be easy to be bitter.
The Flyers lost to the hated Rangers in seven games. And moreover, former Flyers across the NHL were packing their bags for the second round. Like Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in Los Angeles, who teamed up to overcome a 3-0 deficit against the Sharks (replicating what the Flyers did in 2010). Or former Flyers franchise goalieIlyaBryzgalov, who filled in for the Wild, another team that advanced Wednesday night.
But the truth is, the Flyers started their season at the absolute bottom of the standings. Though they didn't advance to face the Penguins in round two, they certainly completed a turnaround.
"I think we do have to be proud of what we did," Claude Giroux, who was named a Hart Trophy Finalist Thursday, said. "Last place and being able to come back, everybody got back on the same page. We had a lot of fun doing it and making the playoffs. Right now it stings a lot that we can't be in the second round."
It's as if the Flyers ran out of time. If only there was a little more regular season for the squad to fine tune. If only they had a few more minutes to chase that tying goal in Madison Square Garden in Game 7.
"I think we can definitely be proud of what this group accomplished considering what kind of start we had to the regular season," Steve Mason, who had 30 saves in Game 7, said. "We put ourselves in a pretty big hole. The character that every single one of the guys in this locker room showed, to be able to battle back and find a way to get back into the playoffs and force a Game 7 here. ... This group is a lot of fun to play with, and I am looking forward to growing with them in the future."
It's difficult to shift gears from trying to win a Stanley Cup to packing up your locker in a matter of minutes. But that's the NHL, and a reality now for the Flyers.
"Nobody in this locker room was ready to pack it in," Mason said. "It's tough to put into words right now, what you feel. It's a long series and in one game, boom, it's over."
"Everybody feels lousy, obviously," Craig Berube said. "I'm proud of our players. They went through a lot this year. We were stuck in a hole for awhile and they battled out of it. We stuck together and went to a Game 7. They are a great bunch of guys with a lot of character."