Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Believe it or not, I have good news for the Flyers blueliners: Their play cannot get any worse.
Honestly, this is one of the most lackluster defensive efforts in franchise history.
The Devils' forechecking and cycle game is putting a lot of pressure on the Flyers' defenders, but the Devils' offense is not good enough to get as many chances as it has without the non-existent Flyers D.
Kimmo Timonen is nowhere near his level of play in past postseasons, Nick Grossmann has been a non-factor and the next time Matt Carle puts himself between the net and his man—you know, basic defensive strategy—it will be the first time.
The breakouts are an unorganized mess. The defensemen are being out-battled in every corner, holding the puck in at the offensive blue line seems like an impossible chore and every single Flyers player looks slow.
Based on the idea that the team defense cannot get any worse, and referring back to the "darkest before dawn" quote in the introduction, the D has only to display a fraction of the heart and effort it demonstrated in Game 6 of the first round for the Flyers, as a whole, to turn this series in their favor.
The defense is wretched and the games are still rather close.
The Flyers need to take the next few days before Game 5 to think to themselves, "Are we ready to go home?" And if the answer is "no," it will show in selfless, determined, physical play in their own end.
This team is definitely missing important links to its defensive corps.
Captain Chris Pronger and Andrej Meszaros are both sidelined, while Timonen is obviously battling multiple physical ailments at an advanced age.
But this defense has rallied before, and much like the suspension of Claude Giroux, the team can rally around the fact that it has a "no-name defense" and put together a few games in a row that don't embarrass itself or its fans.
Also, benching Matt Carle, who makes at least one mistake on every shift, and giving Pavel Kubina, Brandon Manning or Marc-Andre Bourdon a shot could not possibly hurt—again, it's not like the D is going to look any worse.