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Flyers dig deep hole, can't climb out in frustrating Stanley Cup Final Game 5 loss

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Blackhawks lead series 3-2
[Box Score] - [Wire Recap] - [SBN Game Page] - [Chicago Reaction]
[Corsi and Fenwick] - [Head-to-Head TOI] - [EV Faceoffs] - [Shift Charts]

Coming back from 0-3 holes has been a specialty of the Flyers this postseason, but this time around, that hole just continued to grow and grow and grow. The orange and black fought back several times, but each time, the Blackhawks had an answer. When the clock ticked to zero, it was the three goal hole that wound up being the final result.

But despite the fact that the Flyers played an atrocious first period, they still had a chance in this game in the final five minutes. That says a lot about this team and their character, and it also says a lot about the Blackhawks. They have no killer instinct. Despite five separate three goal leads, Chicago never had this game solidified until there were two minutes, five seconds left.

It's been a long, up-and-down season for these Flyers, and quite honestly, with the way the script has gone, we should've expected this. We should have expected this thing to come all the way down to the wire like this, and we should completely expect them to come out roaring when the puck drops in Game 6 back on friendly turf.

This series isn't over. This season isn't over. The Flyers have life, and there's no reason to quit just yet. A few notes after the jump, as well as a few questions with answers and the comment of the night.

- The officiating was a hot topic of discussion tonight, but while it was not good in any sense of the word (just ask Danny Briere's eye), it didn't determine the game tonight. Perhaps it could've determined the game if the Flyers got the four (or even five) minutes they should have in the third on the Briere high stick, but in the end, they shouldn't have needed a late power play to get themselves back in the game. They dug themselves a hole, and the officials didn't even supply the shovels.

- Briere returned to the ice just minutes after taking Duncan Keith's stick to his eye in the third period, but according to CSN's Sarah Baicker, "he's in such bad shape he can't talk to the media" after the game tonight.

- Chris Pronger had an absolutely terrible game, and as a result, the worship of Dustin Byfuglien begins. I mean, think about it. Byfuglien murders Pronger in the corner, but that hit is just a bump if Pronger is on his game. Byfuglien scores a dirty goal in the crease, but that's not a goal if Pronger isn't in the box for hooking. Number 20 has to have a bad game every series, it seems, but if you think he won't be back in full force come Game 6, you're highly mistaken. With that, Byfuglien will be frustrated once again. Book it.

- The home team has won every game of the Cup Final just three times ever. It happened last in 2003, when the Devils beat the Ducks in seven games. It also happened in 1955 and 1965.

- This Final is unfolding in very similar fashion to last years'. A Pennsylvania team loses the first two games on the road to a team in the Central Division. They come back to the Keystone State, win two games at home, before traveling back to West to get embarrassed in Game 5. That certain PA-based team would win two close games to end the series and win the Cup.

- The decision to pull Michael Leighton is not an indictment on his play if you ask me, although when asked, Peter Laviolette simply responded "we weren't good in the first period tonight." To me, that says, "we were bad and we needed a shakeup." Much like in Game 1, it's tough to blame one player on this loss. It was a team effort.

- On the same subject, Laviolette said he's not sure who is starting Game 6. Like the Post Game Live crew on CSN, I'd find it shocking if Brian Boucher started the game.

Questions with Answers

  1. Can the Flyers jump out to a hot start, or do they try to weather the early storm a bit instead? Too much weather.
  2. Jeff Carter wound up with a goal the other night on an empty net try. He's had his looks, along with the rest of the Flyers top line, in the last few games. Can the top line get on the board some more? Not really.
  3. The Blackhawks took a lot of stupid penalties in Game 4, mostly due to frustration. Will the Flyers goad them into some more of them? Nope.
  4. Chris Pronger breaks that record tonight, right? Sigh.
  5. Michael Leighton had his best game of the Final on Friday. He keeps it up tonight, no? Double sigh.

Comment of the Night

I will never drink Amstel Light again.

>> The DTrain

It's gonna be a long three days.