By Ed Benkin
NEW YORK (CBS) — The Flyers have pulled off their share of comebacks this season. They couldn’t pull off one more to save it.
The Flyers roller coaster 2013-14 campaign ended with a 2-1 loss to the Rangers in Game 7. As New York moves on to face Pittsburgh, players such as Jake Voracek were left with the bitter taste of defeat.
“It’s the worst feeling ever,” said Voracek. “We came so close. Do or die, and we lose a critical Game 7. One team had to lose. Too bad it was us.”
The seventh game of this series was a microcosm of the Flyers’ season. A disastrous second period dominated by the home team left the Flyers down by two goals after 40 minutes. The Flyers stormed back in the third by playing desperate hockey and cut the Rangers lead in half, but could not get the equalizer past Hendrik Lundqvist. Coach Craig Berube could see the momentum change when the Flyers failed to capitalize on a second period power play.
“They ended up getting a chance short-handed,” Berube said. “We kind of went back on our heels. We didn’t do a very good job in the second period of making plays and getting the puck out of our own end. We let them win the game in the second period.”
In years past, goaltending was the Flyers weakness in many of their playoff appearances. The opposite was true in this series, as Steve Mason performed brilliantly in defeat. Mason made 32 saves, with many coming in spectacular fashion to give his team a chance to win. Mason’s teammates praised his performance, and the goaltender looked for something positive on a night his strong performance couldn’t save the season.
“I think you can definitely be proud of what this group accomplished considering what kind of struggle we had in the regular season,” said Mason. “We put ourselves in a pretty big hole, and the character of every one of these guys in this locker room showed.”
The Flyers started the season at 1-7 and many believed it would be a rebuilding year. However, the Flyers turned their season around to reach the playoffs. In the end, Claude Giroux and his teammates simply ran into a better team.
“We have a lot of character in this room,” Giroux said. “We’re a young team. This is only going to make us stronger.”