Flyers One Loss Away from Elimination: Who’s to Blame?

With the Philadelphia Flyers down 3-2 in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, analysts are looking for a scapegoat. Surprise: It may be you!

After giving fans hope with a 2-1 win over the Rangers on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers went back to Madison Square Garden for Game 5 and were never really in it. The Flyers fell into a 3-0 hole 36:20 into the game and lost, 4-2. They now trail the series, 3 games to 2, and are one game away from elimination.

The Flyers say the series is not over, sometimes directly (“This series is definitely not over,” goalie Steve Mason says). They’re right! The Flyers play again Tuesday in South Philadelphia; it would be embarrassing if the players thought the team were already eliminated and forgot to show up for the game. But it sure looks like it might be over soon: The Flyers have been outplayed for most of the series, and are lucky they weren’t eliminated in five or even four games.

So let’s move on — and see who’s getting blame this season:

  • Hal Gill: The are only two types of injuries in hockey: Upper body, and lower body. If the league forced teams to disclose the types of injuries players suffered, opponents would target that body part. (What a sport!) Thus, when Steve Mason missed the first three games of the series after very clearly hitting his head on the ice, the sporting world dutifully reported it as an “upper body injury” instead of a head injury.The Flyers had to replace a starting defenseman for Game 5 after Nicholas Grossman injured his lower body (see?) in Game 5. In stepped Hal Gill, a 6-foot-7, 39-year-old NHL veteran who had only played six times this season. The results weren’t great. With the Flyers down 1-0 in the second, Gill had a great scoring chance — and it went just wide. Later, he flubbed a (somewhat bad) pass off his skate in the Flyers’ own zone, and the Rangers’ Dominic Moore turned it into a goal and a 3-0 lead.

    “When you’re in the playoffs and you make a little mistake, it costs you,” Gill said postgame. “That’s what I like about it, and sometimes that’s what sucks about it.” Poor Ol’ Gil.

  • Claude Giroux: Flyers fan fiction star Claude Giroux finally scored his first goal of the series. The Daily News‘ Marcus Hayes calls this “a goal that Osama bin Laden, Muammar Gaddafi and Kim Jong-il weren’t alive to see,” and writes Giroux isn’t doing enough to help his team. Tuesday may be Giroux’s last shot to do something big this series.
  • Scott Hartnell: The Flyers winger was demoted from the top line midway through Game 5. “I thought we had jump,” Hartnell said post game. “Everybody did.” Note: This means he’s pissed about it.
  • Power Play: The Flyers had just five shots on the power play in Sunday’s loss and missed many opportunities.
  • Craig Berube: Sure, I guess it could be the coach’s fault.
  • The Front Office: It could be GM Paul Holmgren’s fault, assistant GM Ron Hextall’s fault, or even owner Ed Snider’s fault! Hell, Comcast owns the team — let’s take the blame all the way to the top. Brian Roberts and David Cohen shall answer for the Flyers’ sloppy play!
  • The Fans: Sunday’s loss was on the road, but the Flyers also lost Game 3 at home. The Flyers’ power play has been noticeably worse at home than on the road this season. The reason for that? Perhaps the team is trying too hard to impress the home fans! Really, that’s the stated reasoning. It’s all your fault, fans!
  • No one: Maybe the Rangers are just better, posits Mike Sielski in the Inquirer. Eh, that’s no fun.

The Flyers could make all the blame go away if they win two straight. Tuesday’s game at the WFC is at 7:30 p.m.

Follow @dhm on Twitter.