Losing a couple of playoff games isn't all that mysterious. It happens. Even to teams on their way to a championship, it happens.
The mystery is how the Flyers lost their personality in this second-round series against New Jersey. There has been little sign of the swagger and energy that carried the Flyers past the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. In falling behind two games to one to the Devils, the Flyers have looked flat instead of on edge, lifeless instead of lively, overwhelmed instead of overwhelming.
"We can use emotion and passion to our advantage in this series against New Jersey," forward Danny Briere said. "I think that's the one part that's missing. We had it and we brought it against Pittsburgh. That's not an easy thing to do."
It is an even harder thing to do twice, still harder when the opponent doesn't inspire the same blood lust as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and the Penguins. These are not the intimidating Devils of Scott Stevens. They are the Devils of Zach Parise, the kind of gritty, no-quit player Flyers fans love when he's wearing orange and black.