Move over, Kate Smith. Make room for the fat lady.
Tell her to limber up those vocal chords, too. Because the Philadelphia Flyers are done.
There will be no magical trip to the Stanley Cup Finals this year. The Prince of Wales Trophy is already looking for another owner. It's over.
Last year, the injuries worked out. Simon Gagne made it back in time. Jeff Carter made it back in time. This year, the Flyers stars are leaving the ice. There's no Pronger, no Carter, no hope.
It was extinguished yesterday. The Flyers returned from a loss in Game 4 in which they came oh-so-close to scoring but were denied at every turn, again, by Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller. Game 5 was in their building. The stakes, already high, were raised with Sabres Coach Lindy Ruff's calling the Flyers "whiners" afterward. There was no way around it. Philadelphia had to win.
Less than four minutes in, it was 2-0 Buffalo. Just under 12 minutes later it was 3-0 and goalie Brian Boucher was gone. Two remarkable periods followed in which the Flyers fought desperately, and succeeded, to tie the score, but it was all undone when Tyler Ennis scored for the second time in the game, and the playoffs, 5:31 into the extra period.
It really was a great comeback. James van Riemsdyk, Andrej Meszaros and Danny Briere scored consecutive goals to breathe life back into a lifeless game.But ultimately, it doesn't matter. It's still a loss, and it hurts as much as a 9-0 slaughtering would have. There's too much for the Flyers to do.
They have to go to Buffalo and win. They have to come back home, where they're 1-2, and win. They have to hope they don't run into red-hot, Olympic Ryan Miller 2.0 either one of those games. They have to hope the goalie that has two shutouts on them in five games doesn't catch fire one of those two matchups.
It's not happening. The Flyers had two windows. They had Game 4, in which a win would have buried Buffalo 3-1, and they had Game 5, in which a win would have given them series control. They blew them both.
The Flyers could make it back to the Wells Fargo Center (after all, they won in Buffalo in Game 3), but they won't make it out. There are a maximum of two games left in Philadelphia's season. Enjoy it while you can.
After this, it's time to think about what needs to be done to improve the team. Addressing the goaltending situation sounds nice. That's probably the first bullet point, seeing as the Flyers' last two series have seen all three of their goalies yanked at one point.
Whatever the Flyers choose to work on in the offseason, they had better decide fast. It'll be here before they know it.
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