Some dreams in sports die hard, others quickly, still others with a crashing thud. Which is about where the Flyers are now, crashed.
Game score: Bruins, 4, Flyers 1.
Series score: Bruins 3, Flyers 0.
Appropriate musical score: Taps.
They had a lot of scoring chances in the first two periods against the Bruins, but not nearly enough finish. And when the Bruins scored the goal that made it 3-1 early in the third period, a power play goal by old pal Mark Recchi, the Bruins finally were able to accomplish what they like to think is there forte -- clogging up the neutral zone and protecting a lead.
And that was that. History suggests it is pretty much all over now, all over but the final accounting.
The first period might have been the Flyers’ best period of the series overall, but they still trailed by 2-1 when it was over. As omens go, it was not among the best.
They got the first goal, from Arron Asham on the back end of a 2-on-1 with Claude Giroux -- a great outlet pass by Blair Betts started the play -- and an oddly quiet Wachovia Center exploded. But they held the lead, their first of the series, for all of 1 minute, 39 seconds. A redirected goal by Blake Wheeler tied the game, and then a one-on-one, forehand-to-backhand move by Miroslav Satan on the doorstep made it 2-1 for the Bruins at 5:45.
And that’s where it stood. The Flyers began to pile up the shots, and the offensive zone possession time. They had a bunch of chances, and Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask appeared to be gettable. But the Flyers could never seem to corral the rebounds in front of Rask. Also, the Bruins blocked a ton of shots, 17 by the end of the second period. It was still 2-1 after the second.
The third Bruins goal came after a tripping penalty on Asham that really kind of wasn’t a penalty -- but no matter. They call ‘em, you kill ‘em. When Recchi scored on a rebound to make it 3-1, that was effectively that. The Flyers kept at it -- the shots were lopsided in their favor -- but they couldn’t sustain enough pressure on Rask, or corral enough rebounds.
On a late power play, coach Peter Laviolette changed goaltenders, inserting Johan Backlund, in order to create an artificial timeout and give his first power play unit a chance to rest and stay on the ice. Boucher returned at the next whistle and then came out again with 2:20 left for an extra skater. Patrice Bergeron scored into the empty net to make it 4-1 with 1:52 left.
And that was that. Crash, thud.