December 21 Philadelphia Daily News:
“THE PESSIMIST walks away from last night’s debacle at the Wells Fargo Center and says the Flyers got what they deserved after looking past the 28th-place Florida Panthers in a classic “trap game” before an 8-day layoff.
The optimist looks at the old-fashioned, 5-0 whupping and says the Flyers needed a wakeup call heading into their holiday hibernation after reeling off a 10-1-3 run.
The realist looks at the drubbing and says it is the product of an 82-game marathon season.
No matter which way you look at it, the only happy people who walked out into the cold South Philadelphia night were the members of the Panthers’ traveling party after the Flyers were embarrassed for the first time on home ice this season.
After all, for a team that leads the NHL in points, there hasn’t been much to boo about this year. Last night was not only the Flyers‘ largest margin of defeat all season but just their first regulation loss since Dec. 1.
“There is a fine line in this league between winning and not winning,” veteran blue-liner Sean O’Donnell said. “We got exactly what we deserved. We got outworked. You’d think as professional athletes that you come and you play hard 82 nights, but there is some nights where it’s just [not there].
“We weren’t able to get up for this game. It shouldn’t happen, but it did. We’re human beings.”
The loss also snapped the Flyers‘ five-game winning streak that included wins over some of the East Conference’s best teams: Pittsburgh, Boston, Montreal and the New York Rangers.
The Flyers were outworked by Florida from the puck drop until the final whistle – and made Tomas Vokoun (26 saves) look like a Vezina Trophy candidate in his first career shutout against Philadelphia.
“I think we thought it would be a cake walk here before Christmas and they would give us an early Christmas present with the two points,” Scott Hartnell said. “Obviously, they were hungry. When you add these things up, it equals an embarrassing loss for us at home.””
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