The Flyers ended their disappointing season this afternoon with a loss to the Ottawa Senators 3-1. In what was a meaningless game for the orange and black, the Senators came to Philadelphia on a mission to clinch a playoff spot, or join the Flyers on the golf course in mid-April.
Ottawa needed just one point against Philadelphia to become the 5th Canadian team to make the 2015 playoffs. The Sens started today as the first wild card team in the Eastern Conference and can now end the day in third place in the Atlantic Division if the Red Wings lose today in regulation against the Hurricanes.
Today’s win against the Flyers capped off an incredible finish to the Senators’ season as the team had a 21-3-3 record in its last 27 games.
The Flyers looked like it played today hoping to get the game over with as quickly as possible so it can forget about the 2014-2015 season and turn its attention towards the 2015-2016. It was obvious by the team’s sloppy play throughout the game. Top players like Steve Mason and Jake Voracek made uncharacteristic mistakes which led to all three of Ottawa’s goals. The third, and clinching, goal came from Mark Stone (his 2nd of the game) after Jake Voracek gave up the puck in his own zone leading to a breakaway goal.
Flyers’ captain Cluade Giroux addressed the media after the game and discussed his team’s disappointing finish:
“Anytime you don’t make the playoffs, I think it’s a disappointment, but we’ve known for a while now that we weren’t going to make the playoffs,” Giroux said. “Guys were playing hard tonight. We got a lot of opportunities going to the net, shooting pucks, playing as a team. I think we’ve got to learn from this and be ready to go next year.”
One of the few Flyers bright spots all season has been goalie Steve Mason. Although Mason finishes the season with a sub-par 18-18-11 record, he finished 7th in the league with a 2.25 GAA and ranked 3rd in the league with a .928 save percentage. This is one of the rare instances where a goalie’s record says nothing about the player’s actual performance.
Mason spoke after the game and sounds optimistic that things will turn around for the better next season:
“We were inconsistent and I think that put us in the position we were,” Mason said. “We know going into next season we have to be better, we all know it, we have to get better in order to get back in the playoffs. That’s what we have to use this summer time to focus on is making sure we are coming back better players.”
Another player who was consistently great all season had been Jake Voracek. Voracek finished the season tied with Alex Ovechkin for 3rd in the league in points with 81. Voracek also finished 2nd in the league in assists with 59. He spoke after the game about his team’s season:
“That’s what happens when you have a bad start,” Voracek said. “We were pushing and pushing since November basically [and] it’s hard when you look at the teams going into the playoffs with 95-96 points. It was a tough test for us and it’s too bad we didn’t make it, but we have to make sure that we learn from it and have a good start next year.”
Voracek also began the game by accepting the “Bobby Clarke Trophy” which honors the team’s Most Valuable Player each year.
Other notable awards won by Flyers players were the following:
– Barry Ashbee Trophy (Outstanding Defenseman): Mark Streit
– Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy (Most Improved Player): Chris VandeVelde
– Yanick Dupre Class Guy Memorial Award: Mark Streit
– Gene Hart Memorial Award: Jake Voracek
– Toyota Cup: Claude Giroux
The 2014-2015 NHL Playoffs begin Wednesday night. The Flyers, who will be watching the playoffs at home with the rest of us, finished the season with a 33-31-18 record. Better luck next year.