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Down quickly, they never got up

As time wound down in the third period last night, the expressions on the Philadelphia bench told the story of the game — another disappointing loss. As time wound down in the third period last night, the expressions on the Philadelphia bench told the story of the game — another disappointing loss. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
By Nancy Marrapese-Burrell
Globe Staff / May 5, 2011

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It wasn’t the start they wanted. It wasn’t the middle they wanted. And it certainly wasn’t the end they wanted.

There was next to nothing about last night’s game that was redeeming for the Broad Street Bullies.

The Philadelphia Flyers fell behind by a pair of goals in the first 1 minute and 3 seconds of the game and never recovered. They dropped a 5-1 decision to the Bruins and are now down, three games to none, in this Eastern Conference semifinal.

They will try to avert a sweep tomorrow night in Game 4. Last year, they rallied from an identical deficit to beat Boston four straight. Can that type of miracle happen again?

“It’s an awful lot to expect,’’ said Flyers chairman Ed Snider. “Boston is playing very well, and we’re going to have to step up our game to compete with them.

“I don’t think there is a lack of urgency, I just think that Boston is playing very well and maybe we weren’t quite as prepared as we should have been for what they did at the beginning of the game.

“We’ve had trouble scoring against [Tim Thomas], who has played extremely well. We didn’t score enough goals to make a difference but I never would think this team doesn’t fight. It fights always, and they’ve shown that throughout.

“I have a lot of faith in these guys, they’re not going to ever quit.’’

When Boston went up, 2-0, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette used his timeout to speak with goaltender Brian Boucher, and defenseman Sean O’Donnell said he thought the team got a little demoralized. Asked how tough it was to recover from that hole, O’Donnell said, “More difficult than it should’ve been.’’

The Bruins, though, fell behind by a pair of goals in Game 2 before rallying to win.

“Two goals isn’t the end of the world with 59 minutes left in the game,’’ said O’Donnell. “It seemed to deflate us a little bit and it took a while to kind of get going. We couldn’t seem to get back into it, and when we did, Thomas made big saves.’’

O’Donnell said there is nothing they can do other than focus on winning Game 4.

“We can’t think about winning four in a row,’’ he said. “We just have to come and play the way we know we can and keep getting traffic [in front of the net] and win a period. Then hopefully win a game and get to Game 5.’’

The veteran blue liner said it was unfair to single out Boucher, who was replaced by Sergei Bobrovsky at the 15:14 mark of the second period when the game was at 4-0. The first two goals, said O’Donnell, were a direct result of defensive breakdowns.

“I don’t think you can let [Zdeno] Chara come right down the slot like that and let him blast it off the crossbar,’’ said O’Donnell. “Not too many goalies can make that save.

“The next one [by David Krejci], he was about 5 feet away. It’s disappointing that we had breakdowns like that coming in there when it was really a must-win tonight.

“In the first minute, to have two breakdowns like that, it really kind of threw [Boucher] under the bus and it’s unfortunate.’’

With the revolving goaltenders through this series — and in the first round against Buffalo — Snider was asked if there was enough strength at the position in the organization.

“The season’s not over,’’ said Snider. “We’ll evaluate everything when the season is over.’’

That time may come tomorrow night.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at marrapese@globe.com.

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