PERHAPS THE LONE solace for Flyers fans, beyond the fact that the team advanced beyond most expectations, was that they have seen worse losses end the franchise's postseason. Not many, mind you. But we found four that would match yesterday's misery quotient. In no order:
* Rangers 9, Flyers 3; April 9, 1983; first round: New York completed a three-game sweep with a pounding of the Flyers at Madison Square Garden.
Wrote the paper's Jay Greenberg: The Rangers took every spear, every cheap shot after every goal, and deserved every satisfaction from the totality of the 9-3 victory.
"The most gratifying thing about this win was to look into the face of Clarke, [Brian] Propp and [Ray] Allison," said Rangers winger Anders Hedberg. "I'm giving credit to Paul Holmgren and Glen Cochrane. At least you know they slash you at home and on the road."
* Sabres 8, Flyers 0; April 21, 2001; first round:
Almost a mirror of yesterday, as host Buffalo took a 4-0 lead in the first and wrapped up the series in six games. Roman Cechmanek was singed for five goals on nine shots.
Wrote Les Bowen: You don't have to say something to feel it in your bones, and the way this team finished the season . . . raised disturbing questions about the Flyers' true talent level.
* Rangers 8, Flyers 3; April 24, 1979; second round: Played in front of their home crowd, the Flyers were dumped out of this second-round series in five.
Wrote Greenberg: For years [Rangers coach Fred] Shero said he never watched the other team, couldn't evaluate players, styles, philosophies. But last night, pressed to evaluate the Flyers' tactics in a fourth lopsided loss in a row, he caved in. "I had the impression they were hitting TOO much," Shero said. "Puck control is the most important thing. You have to pick your shots."
* Sabres 7, Flyers 1; May 2, 2006; first round: What made this worse? A home crowd had to watch this stinker end the series in six.
Wrote Rich Hofmann on its meaning: That the Flyers will have to have a long, long look at their roster in the coming months - and acknowledge the criticism that there isn't enough speed, especially on defense. *
- Paul Vigna