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Tortorella on the Flyers’ disastrous loss and late-season collapse.

The Philadelphia Flyers lost 9-3 to the Montreal Canadiens after being down to 10 man-made straws in one of their most crucial, if not the most crucial, games of the season. It was a kind of crushing blowout defeat that signaled the end of the season and their hopes of qualifying for the postseason. Their chances of qualifying for the postseason are now, at best, slim, even though they still had four games and eight points to gain.

John Tortorella, the head coach of the Flyers, wants it known that this collapse in Quebec was not the result of his players not trying hard enough. Rather, it was the result of a number of interrelated issues.

“No, I’m not doubting their effort. We’ve simply lost ourselves in game management, in my opinion. I don’t doubt the concern or the effort, but I believe that certain guys might feel it a little bit because they want to pull us out of this. After the crushing defeat in Montreal, Tortorella remarked, “It’s been a strong group all year long.”

This is our lowest point of the evening. I hate that after all the great minutes we’ve played this year, we’re playing this manner at this time of year.

But it was more than this one game. Notoriety has it that the Flyers have now dropped their previous eight games and have only managed to earn two of the sixteen points that were on the table.

Tortorella will certainly not hear any reasoning being that the Flyers are simply more fatigued than other teams, though.

“Time of year, all teams are tired,” the coach said. “We’re not as gifted as some teams, we have a process that we’re going through, we can’t forget that, we’re still building here. I appreciate all the work they have put in, to put us in the spot to play these types of games, but we have just not been able to elevate our game. It’s my responsibility to put them in that spot and get them to elevate the game, but have not done it.

“These are hard lessons. One thing great about this league, and we’re on the wrong side of it; it’s unmerciful. When they get you, it’s unmerciful. And I love that about the league, we’re just on the wrong end of it right now.”

The lessons might be hard, and certainly players might gain some experience after having the taste of the playoffs on the tip of their tongue, only for it to be slapped away and their season last just 82 games. During Game 78, the Flyers just simply succumbed to everything from goaltending woes — after Ersson saved just 12 of the 17 shots he faced, Fedotov came in and saved just nine of 13 — finishing problems, overall lack of defensive effort, and all that fun stuff.

“There are so many different things that happened in that game,” Tortorella said. “We made a lot of mistakes. Turnovers, coverages, any part of the game, there were mistakes. And really, for the most part, it’s uncharacteristic of the club. Even though, going through the losing here, the last couple of games — Columbus and here — we’ve done things we haven’t done for a lot of the year.

“So, you just have to eat it. We have to stay together. We have to try to solve things. Whether it’s enough time to try and get in (the playoffs), I’m not concerned about that. I’m concerned about just being pros, trying to get some of our dignity back, and playing the right way.”

Now we just have to see if the final three games are going to mean anything. They can still make the playoffs — if the other three teams lose every game and the Flyers earn all six points — but it might just feel impossible after being blown out by a team not anywhere near their place in the standings.

“It’s a good group, no matter what happened tonight and what we’re going through. It’s really been after that seven-game segment of all those tough teams, we just haven’t been right. But it’s a good group of players — I’m frustrated for them that we’re ending it this way and some of the things we’re going through. We just have to lick out wounds, we have three more game to play and I think it’s incumbent on all of us do it the right way and try to finish the year the right way.”

The Flyers face the Rangers on Thursday, the Devils on Saturday, and finish their season at home hosting the Washigton Capitals on Tuesday. Less than a week left in this weird and wild season.

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