PITTSBURGH _ The Flyers are in denial.
After Wednesday night's 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh in a first-round playoff opener, some of the Flyers talked about all the "bad bounces" that contributed to the Penguins goals.
And before the game, when asked how how the Flyers could regain their form for the playoffs, coach John Stevens smiled and said: "I don't agree with everybody else's analysis of how we finished the year. I think we played a lot of good games…I thought there were some games where we were the better team and didn't win. Our special teams were strong down the stretch....We tightened up defensively; we out-chanced teams, so in my opinion, we did a lot of things we needed to do down the stretch."
Am I watching a different team?
Didn't the Flyers limp home 4-5-1 and blow the fourth seed to the Penguins?
The Flyers have been mediocre for six weeks now, plain and simple.
On Wednesday, they were called for four first-period penalties, one which led to the tone-setiing first goal.
All told, they had 12 penalties _ six more than Pittsburgh. And this was after they preached all week about playing with more discipline.
On the bright side, Jeff Carter (eight shots) had numerous chances, and Mike Richards had a lot of "jump" in the final period, when he clanked one shot off the crossbar and another off the post. Richards fired 12 shots (two were on goal) and had four hits.
On the flip side, Claude Giroux was minus-3, while Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle, Darroll Powe and Danny Briere were each a minus-2.
The worst news of the night might have been this: Standout defenseman Kimmo Timonen suffered a charley horse when he was checked by Chris Kunitz in the first period and looked a shell of himself. He says he'll play Friday, but no one knows how effective he'll be.
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The NHL announced Thursday that Flyers LW Dan Carcillo was suspended for one game for his conduct in the closing seconds of the Game 1 defeat. In addition, Stevens was fined $10,000 because of the incident.
Carcillo will miss Friday's game against the Penguins.
With seven seconds left in Wednesday's loss, Carcillo hit Pittsbrugh's Max Talbot in the back of his head with his stick, but he was not assessed a penalty. Carcillo said his hand was on the stick and that he hit Talbot with his glove. Talbot, who was not injured, said he was hit with the stick.