Officially Eliminated, Flyers Playing for ‘mostly Just Pride'

NEW YORK -- Their dressing room at Madison Square Garden was somber and so quiet you could hear the overhead ventilators.
Some of the players seemed to be in disbelief. Others struggled to find the right words.
Not Sean Couturier.
"It sucks, obviously," Couturier said. "It's been a few games and we kind of knew we were in a tough spot. Couldn't really control our destiny. To officially be out, it's tough."
The Rangers' 4-3 win over the Flyers on Sunday night eliminated Dave Hakstol's club from the playoffs (see story).
This is the third time in five years there won't be any hockey at Wells Fargo come late April.
No one could have imagined this back in mid-December during the Flyers' 10-game winning streak. Now Hakstol's club becomes an unwelcome asterisk in the NHL record books: the first team to have a 10-game winning streak and not qualify for the playoffs.
Some of the Flyers, even Hakstol, feel too much was made of that win streak because so much time was left in the season and anything could -- and actually did -- happen.
"If you look at all the teams and all the points, we still would have been fighting for a playoff spot," Couturier insisted. "Every year, you fight to the end. It always comes down to last game or two. To be out before that, it's tough."

Added Hakstol: "I said it at that time [of the streak] that it would be a battle all the way through. Nobody in our room got too far ahead of themselves. You just know things are too tight when you look throughout the conference."
Give them this: The Flyers didn't go quietly into the Manhattan night. They overcame a 4-1 deficit late to draw to within a goal. They were controlling play -- and the puck -- when time expired with Valterri Filppula doing a funky, 1970s disco dance shuffle on the ice while trying to find an open shot.
"When we made it 4-2, we actually believed we were going to come back," team captain Claude Giroux said. "The attitude of the guys is great. The character? I would play with those guys any day."
A number of players, upset over being criticized in the media for playing without a sense of urgency in Winnipeg a few weeks ago, reiterated Giroux's theme.
"Never question the character in this room," Brayden Schenn said. "Guys want to win and guys were trying. We're a tight group in here.
"It's frustrating because we feel we have good pieces here, some good, young defensemen coming up that have made an impact for us. You don't ever judge the character of this locker room because guys are always going to give all they have."

The Flyers have just three games remaining. They play in New Jersey on Tuesday, then close the season out with back-to-back games this weekend at home against Columbus and Carolina.
Couturier said as unrealistic as it was to think the Flyers could actually make up an eight-point gap in the wild card (on March 25), players still played with pride. The Flyers won four of five games from that date when they lost, 1-0, in Columbus.
Now what?
"Mostly just pride," Couturier said. "Guys are proud to wear the logo in front of us. We kind of deserve that respect where you play hard to the end.
"Even though we are out now, you've still got to show up for games. Play for the logo, the fans and the organization."
You can be certain general manager Ron Hextall will be watching to see just that from this club.

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