Funny thing, he was really the only one. It's not uncommon to see players on the losing end of the Stanley Cup weeping with emotion in the immediate aftermath, but in the Flyers room, there was a surprisingly stoic response from players who seemed to be as drained as they were disappointed from the 4-3 overtime loss to Chicago. Or maybe it just the fact they were still stunned by Patrick Kane's game-winning goal, which no one on the Flyers seemed to realize had gone in.
"I didn't see it and I don't think anybody on the bench did," Scott Hartnell said matter-of-factly. "Usually you know when it's in, but it was weird because we couldn't find the puck in the net or under the padding. Obviously they knew it was in because they had a couple of guys celebrating. It was awkward, but that's the way it's going to end, I guess."
"It's tough right to think about what happened," Jeff Carter added. "We'll sit back and in the long run be proud of how we battled through things, coaching changes, being last in the conference and battling all through the playoffs to get to this point. But right now, we just lost the Stanley Cup, and it's disappointing because we really believed we were going to win."
Game 6: Blackhawks 4, Flyers 3 (OT)
Goldstein: Blackhawks go from bottom to top
The Flyers have believed that since they began their unlikely run to the Final by sneaking into the playoffs on the last day. Philadelphia continued its Cinderella-like story with an historic comeback triumph in Round 2 against Boston, and seemed destined to push this to a winner-take-all Game 7 when Hartnell tied things up with his second goal late in the third period.
Philadelphia had been dominated from the outset of Game 6 by a faster and more energized Chicago team, yet managed to hang around long enough to give themselves a chance to steal this game. And it nearly did in the first minute of overtime when both Mike Richards and Carter were stopped on great chances by Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi.
"A bounce here, a bounce there and who knows," Hartnell said. "Obviously we would liked to extend the series, but we fell short."
Still, they fell short against a pretty good team. The Blackhawks were faster, deeper and more balanced, and over the course of a long series, that made a difference. Philadelphia tried to counter by using only three lines (for the most part) and two-blue line pairings, but meant that key players like defenseman Chris Pronger and captain Mike Richards were playing big minutes for a lot of games.
|Gm 1||BLACKHAWKS 6, Flyers 5|
|Gm 2||BLACKHAWKS 2, Flyers 1|
|Gm 3||FLYERS 4, Blackhawks 3 (OT)|
|Gm 4||FLYERS 5, Blackhawks 3|
|Gm 5||BLACKHAWKS 7, Flyers 4|
|Gm 6||Blackhawks 4, FLYERS 3 (OT)|
|Home team in CAPS|
And it seemed to catch up emotionally and physically to the Flyers, who in effect were in their sixth elimination game in the past eight weeks. Still, Philadelphia managed to split the first four games of the series, but the Blackhawks found another gear in Game 5 and carried it through the clincher. Chicago never really let the Flyers take advantage of their loud crowd by having dominant first shifts in every period, and then controlling both ends of the ice while piling up shots and keeping Philadelphia's opportunities to a minimum.
"I don't think they got to this point and went through the teams that they went through by chance," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "They have a good game. They're as fast defensively as they are offensively, and it's tough to penetrate. ... We didn't get as many looks as we would like. They deserve credit."
Not that it will provide any consolation, especially to an emotional youngster like the 22-year-old sophomore Giroux.
"It feels like s--- right now," he said. "We lost. That's all that matters."