WASHINGTON – The playoff dream might not be officially over but one look at Claude Giroux’s facial expressions the past two post-games indicates it is.
The Flyers captain got choked up after Saturday’s bitter loss to the New York Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center and his disposition wasn’t much better after Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Capitals.
If the Flyers don’t make the postseason, it will make it seven years since the Flyers were able to put back-to-back playoff seasons together, something that has to be eating at the 31-year-old forward.
The question that loomed large in the Flyers’ locker room was: Did that 18-4-2 push simply drain the Flyers too much down the stretch?
Jake Voracek answered that by saying the Flyers didn’t play “big’’ enough in the big games. He even used the “choke’’ word.
Giroux’s language wasn’t that strong but clearly he’s frustrated by his team’s inability to get the job done in clutch situations.
Two fairly recent losses to Montreal, one of the teams they had been chasing for a wild card spot, proved particularly vexing.
“Right now, it just feels that the harder we try, the deeper we get,’’ Giroux said. “I thought we played a pretty solid game tonight. They had two point shots that were both tipped and find a way to get in.’’
At times, the Flyers just look like a team that’s emotionally spent. With the exception of wins at Pittsburgh and Chicago, they’ve been chasing games from the outset, which is not a formula for success.
“The last two months (during the good run), we knew those were playoff games for us,’’ Giroux said. “We battled hard to get back in the standings, give ourselves a chance to make the playoffs. Right now it’s just not going our way.
“It’s not a secret, it’s real tough to get in. But not two weeks ago. We had real confidence in our group. We liked the way we were playing. The last two weeks haven’t gone our way.’’
So where do the Flyers go from here?
“We can’t lose two in a row, especially in the position we’re in,’’ Scott Laughton said.
Voracek has been through this before. It can be frustrating.
“I don’t want to take anything out of this season,’’ he said. “I had high expectations, I think everyone did before we walked into the locker room (back in training camp in September). It’s disappointing. We have to have a good look in the mirror and straighten some things out here before we come in next year.
“We had a good record (in January and February), it just wasn’t good enough. We put ourselves in that situation, we couldn’t dig ourselves out of it. There’s no one to blame but us.’’