The Philadelphia Flyers fell to the Boston Bruins 2-1, Sunday night. They now find themselves with only a 2 point lead over the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins for the Division and Conference leads.
The Flyers effort in the 1st period was definitely there, and they took a 1-0 lead into the 1st intermission. After that it only took 2 goals from the Boston Bruins to win the game. Including a late, game-winning power-play goal from Brad Marchand with just under 4 minutes left in the 3rd period.
We can break down and analyze what’s wrong with the Flyers until we’re blue in the face. Bottom line, effort and goals are lacking. You need effort and goals to win games, something the Flyers aren’t getting at the consistency that is needed to win in the NHL. Sunday nights effort may be good enough against the New York Islanders of the world, but playing that way against the Penguins, Capitals, and Bruins of the East and you’ll get the results the Flyers have this week, two shoot-out losses and one in regulation.
While the talk of panic and whether or not the Flyers can right the ship before the playoffs come is irrelevant, now. It’s irrelevant because the time Flyer fans and pundits alike have been warning was right around the corner is literally, right around the corner. The time to turn things around is pretty much over. The Flyers have put themselves in a dog-fight for the Conference and Division lead. Whether they like it or not, this is the position they find themselves in, and they can decide how it plays out. They can either continue the collapse, lose the Conference and Division leads, coast into the playoffs as the 4th seed and get knocked out in the 1st round. Watching all the expectations and dreams of a return to the Cup Finals, crumble.
Or, they can fight. They can play a full 60 minutes of hockey for once, which they are capable. They can suck it up, and take the divison, and take the conference. It’s the kind of effort they have to put forth if they plan on being successful in the playoffs. After all the struggles, losing the lead in the East and the Division won’t be a wake up call, it will be last call for the Flyers season. It’s not the kind of late season obstacles that teams overcome and look back and say to themselves if it wasn’t for blowing the division and conference leads we never would have won that Stanley Cup that year. No, the kind of collapse the Flyers are on the verge of ends seasons for teams.
Will the Flyers stand up to the challenge in front of them? We’ll find out Tuesday night, when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. A huge game , with huge playoff implications. If Tuesdays game can’t get full effort out of the orange and black, no game the rest of the way will. You hear in every sport, this is a “must win game,” well, Tuesday is a must win for the Philadelphia Flyers and so are the remaining games on the schedule, it’s put up or shut up time.