NEW YORK — In the series, Steve Mason outplayed the great Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash didn’t score a goal for the Rangers, and the Flyers stopped New York’s last 21 power plays.
How, then, did the Flyers lose the series in seven games?
Quite simply, they didn’t have the puck enough, and didn’t match the Rangers’ speed or defensive excellence.
So GM Paul Holmgren — assuming he stays in the position and doesn’t hand off the baton to Ron Hextall — has a rather substantial to-do list in the off-season.
The good news is that he Flyers discovered they have a goalie, Mason, who is good enough to take them on a Stanley Cup run.
The bad news: He doesn’t have enough support.
The Rangers eliminated the Flyers, 2-1, in a tense Game 7 Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. The Flyers had one atrocious period — the second — and it cost them.
“We didn’t initiate enough and play with enough aggressiveness,” Flyers coach Craig Berube said. “…We didn’t play our best hockey.”
Excluding empty-net goals, the Flyers had just 14 goals in the seven games.
None of the goals were by Scott Hartnell, Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, or Michael Raffl. Vinny Lecavalier and Matt Read each had just one goal.
Paging, Matt Moulson? The speedy winger is among the potential free agents who could interest the Flyers.
Lecavalier, who played in just 10 shifts that covered 8:45 on Wednesday, wasn’t the same player ever since he injured his back early in the season. The hope is that he returns to his pre-injury form. If not, the Flyers are paying way too much money for a past-his-prime fourth-line center.
Give the Flyers credit. They climbed out of a 1-7 hole and played very good hockey for a majority of the season. Berube, in his first season as a head coach, did a terrific job getting the most out of his players, but it is clear the Flyers need a No. 1 defenseman, a sniper winger, and more speed.
A lot more speed.
WHAT THEY SAID
Berube: “Everybody feels lousy, obviously. I’m proud of our players. They went through a lot this year. We were stuck in a hole for a while and they battled out of it. We stuck together and went to a Game 7.”
Claude Giroux on the Flyers’ third-period push: “WE were positive we were going to tie it up.”
Mason: “We have a tight-knit group, and we’re going to be better for it next year.”
Breakaways. Giroux, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards shared the series lead with six points apiece….Lundqvist is now 4-1 with a 1.00 GAA and .963 save percentage in Game 7s….The Rangers blocked 22 shots, nine more than the Flyers….Hartnell had a game-high six shots….Luke Scehnn and Raffl each had five hits….in eight career games in the regular season and playoffs, Dan Carcillo has five goals against the Flyers. Hard to believe, Harry
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.