Flyers-Capitals: Game 6 Postgame Perspective

Despite exceeding expectation, Flyers feel sense of disappointment

The season may be over, but this is only the beginning for the Flyers.

A 1-0 shutout loss in Game 6 to the Capitals ended their season, but after the way the season ended, you have to simply admire what the Flyers did to close the season and get this far.

In a year when expectations were not very high, in fact almost non-existent, the Flyers took the league's best team in the regular season to Game 6, falling a goal short.

But while to us, the series may be icing on the cake of a season that didn't have playoff aspirations, the Flyers are anything but satisfied.

"I’m disappointed that we’re not preparing over the next couple of days for a Game 7," head coach Dave Hakstol said. "That’s the overriding feeling that I have right now. I’ve been proud of this group all the way through. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs. But I think the group has really stuck together, pushed forward, and found a way to go out and find ways to accomplish thing rather than find excuses why we weren’t going to be able to accomplish things. Absolutely, I’ve loved every minute of it."

"That’s not our mindset. That’s not the way we work," Claude Giroux said. "We expect good things from each other and we expected to win the series. Obviously that’s not the case right now. But we’re gonna learn from it."

Giroux is bound to face scrutiny for his production in the series. Giroux was held to one assist. Wayne Simmonds finished without a point. Jake Voracek had one goal. At a time when key players need to find a way, the Flyers key players didn't on the stat sheet.

"I’m pretty frustrated with myself," Giroux said. "Gotta find a way, doesn’t matter how it is. You gotta find a way."

Those Flyers will also face criticism for missed opportunities. With Giroux, Voracek and Simmonds making up 3/5th of the top power play unit, the Flyers had a two-minute 5-on-3 that went by the wayside in the second period. A goal would have not only put the Flyers ahead in the game, but it would have blown the top off of the Wells Fargo Center.

Special teams were a clear difference in this series, and it wasn't even close. The series ended the way it started. The Flyers let a great opportunity for the early edge go by the wayside and an elite goaltender and tremendous defensive team on the other end did the rest.

"Both teams had significant 5-on-3’s today. Neither team scored, but from our standpoint, that’s one point where we could have pushed the momentum our way," Hakstol said. "I give their penalty kill a lot of credit. Their PK is pressure PK. They’re very disciplined. They’re very much in sync together. They did a good job."

"They’re a good hockey team over there, they don’t give up a whole lot," Brayden Schenn said. "They played tight defensively, and when you’ve got a good chance, you’ve gotta beat Holtby. Obviously the power play in that game let us down. We had a chance to capitalize on a 5-on-3 and weren’t able to put one in."

That said, the Flyers were not fully equipped as a Stanley Cup contender yet. The Capitals had very lofty expectations entering the season and honestly had to fight off demons down the stretch in the series as a team that really never wavered all season.

The Flyers had their share of ups and downs, growing pains and the works, and this series is no different. But with more youth, more talent and now more expectations coming, they will be better equipped to play with teams like the Capitals on a night-in, night-out basis in the future.

"Right now, the one outstanding fact is we came out. I don’t know if many people gave us an opportunity in this series, but there wasn’t one guy in our room that thought our season would end during this series," Hakstol said. "We came in with the mentality and confidence to go out and do the job and win the series. Like I said, we came short of that goal. We’ll take a couple days and look at the positives of which there is going to be a great number of positives. Our first and foremost, our goal was to get to Game 7."

"It’s great to get to a good taste of some playoff hockey," Shayne Gostisbehere said. "First series for a couple of us over here and it’s good experience. Of course we wanted to go a different way but you learn from everything and just take everything in stride."

And so, another season ends. There is disappointment. There is a somber feel to things. But this team certainly looked as impressive as any in the league at times when they were going — as Barry Trotz pointed out, the Flyers and Capitals were separated by three points in the standings from January through the end of the regular season.

"We gave it our all, all year long. I don’t think anyone really even gave us a chance to make the playoffs," Simmonds said. "I’m proud of every single guy in this dressing room. We push it to the limit and we busted our butts all year long and sometimes you don’t get breaks and that was it. They’re a good team, they’re the best team in the league all year long and I think you can see that out there."

So look into the future with hope and remember this team for the fighter's hearts they had that just gave out one game away from a winner-take-all Game 7. That would have been a sight.

But the future is bright, a lot of the pieces are in place already and this team gave Philadelphia six more games than it expected. It was one hell of a run, even in defeat.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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