6-0 in Game 5 to win the Eastern Conference Finals 4 games to 1. The Flyers season ends on a sour note but we shouldn't forget how far they have come since last season. From the worst team in hockey to a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals is an amazing turnaround, it was just too bad it had to end the way it did today.
Pittsburgh scored early and often in the rout. Despite the return of Kimmo Timonen, the Flyers defense looked slow and couldn't keep up with the Penguins forwards. The Pens were allowed to build up a head of steam heading into the Flyers zone and they used it to set up a ton of scoring chances.
Martin Biron also picked a bad time to play his worst game of the playoffs. Biron made a couple of head-scratching plays that led to goals and let in a few softies. Things got so bad for him in the second period I expected him to get pulled, but John Stevens allowed Biron to finish out the game. He managed just 19 saves on 25 shots.
The Penguins played a complete game of hockey. They got strong defensive play, great goaltending and solid offensive contributions from their forwards. They were the better team throughout this series and deserve to be representing the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. They will be a tough team to beat for whichever team makes it out of the West.
So the Flyers season ends with them playing poorly. It was a bad way to go out, but it certainly didn't represent how they played all season. The Flyers showed a ton of grit and determination to get as far as they did, especially considering they were the 6th seed in the East. This team was not expected to get as far as it did this year, they are built to be a contender down the road. They have a ton of young talent in Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and R.J. Umberger who got great playoff experience this year and they still have Claude Giroux and first round pick John vanRiemsdyk coming down the road. This team is still a few years away from hitting its peak, so we should have plenty of deep Stanley Cup runs in our future.
I will have much more to say about the Flyers and what they need to do this off-season in the coming weeks, but for now we should celebrate how far they came this season. We can be pissed off with the way it ended, but every Flyer fan needs to look at the big picture and understand how good this team will be. It's the worst saying for fans of Philadelphia sports, but it's true: There's always next year. Of course, there is always the Phillies this year, too.