Somehow, the Flyers aren’t going to Pittsburgh on Monday.
Somehow, they blew a 3-0 lead and dropped a season-ending 5-3 decision to the resilient Pittsburgh Penguins before a stunned sellout crowd at the Wachovia Center Saturday.
Somehow, they lost the series, four games to two, even though they outplayed the Penguins from the second period of Game 2 until early in the second period of Saturday’s Game 6.
They lost, in part, because the Penguins’ marquee players, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, totally outplayed Flyers’ stars Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. And because the Flyers, with their season on the line, were outshot by a 28-14 margin in the final two periods Saturday.
Outshot and outplayed.
So where do the Flyers go from here?
Well, because a $29 million cap hit next year will be tied to five players _ Carter, Richards, Danny Briere, Simon Gagne and Kimmo Timonen _ the Flyers won’t have a lot of flexibility in the off-season.
That said, it’s important to remember that this series was virtually even, that the Flyers could have easily won it with a call here, a save there.
Wholesale changes aren’t needed. But the team needs more physicality from its defensemen.
Never was that more evident than Saturday, when two of the Penguins’ goals were scored when players batted pucks out of the air and into the net.
I’m in the minority of people who think the Flyers can compete for the Stanley Cup with Marty Biron as the goalie.
Biron wasn’t why the Flyers lost this series. He had a 2.29 goals-against average before Saturday, and only two of the Game 6 goals were his fault.
Re-sign Biron and get a crease-clearing defenseman like Montreal’s Mike Komisarek, a potential free agent. The Flyers missed the injured Derian Hatcher this year more than they will admit.
They need to sign or trade for a player with that type of grit, that kind of physical presence in front of the net.