Instead, those players who are on teams that didn't make it will be just like all of us, watching the playoffs from their couches. After failing to defeat the Penguins even once during the regular season in four meetings, the Flyers entered this game knowing they would be in for quite the challenge, but nobody expected things to end up this bad. That may instill some confidence in the Flyers' faithful, but the Penguins won all four regular-season games, pouring in five goals each time.
Less clear is the what's next. Peter Mrazek is now in goal. Send a chauffeur to Allentown and pick up Alex Lyon?
Neuvirth is still listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury and has played just 28 minutes of hockey since February 18.
Dustin Tokarski, anyone? The Phantoms' backup arrived with his equipment at midafternoon, hours before the game. We're talking Flyers goaltending in a playoff series again. As we get going, the PHT staff has made their predictions for the opening round and who we think will make the Final and eventually win the thing. Since being acquired in a trade from the Detroit Red Wings (entirely due to injuries to Elliott and Neuvirth) Mrazek has had a.891 save percentage as a member of the Flyers. Or Mrazek wouldn't have it, and Lyon would go in.
That leaves Mrazek as the only other potential option for the time being. Nothing was generated, and while two of those opportunities came when the game was already way out of hand, a couple of early opportunities in the first period provided a chance to chip away at a lead that was still potentially manageable.
He didn't look the part on Wednesday. They have captured three President's Trophies along the way, courtesy of tallying the highest point total during the regular season, but have yet to make their first conference finals appearance since 1998 when they won the Eastern Conference.
They also had a little bit of help from Claude Giroux, who had one of the best bounce-back seasons in recent memory as he went from scoring 58 points in 2016-17 to a career-best 102 points this year. Despite the dominant showing, Crosby made it clear he wasn't dwelling on the moment, preferring keep his eyes on the prize that now sits one victory closer than before. That was the last time Philadelphia advanced past the first round in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Penguins allowed 176 goals in 5-on-5 play this season, which was fifth-worst in the National Hockey League and the worst among any team in the playoffs.
This should be mentioned, too: It wasn't all about Elliott. Even on the one power-play goal for the Penguins, the Flyers had successfully killed off the penalty to within the final 10 seconds to that point. It hasn't been an issue for us on the whole. Vegas just formed a team this year by getting players from teams that wanted to get rid of someone. We know how important that is. It will happen Thursday, when the Sharks open their Pacific Division first-round series at Anaheim. It seems unlikely, even if goalie Matt Murray gets back to top form. And they took penalties.
Philadelphia coach Dave Hakstol mercifully pulled Elliott after Crosby swatted Brian Dumoulin's point shot out of the air and knocked it by a stunned Elliott to put the Penguins up 5-0 just before the game's midway point.
Philadelphia has had issues at the goaltender position this year, but they are starting Brian Elliot, who has years of experience in the playoffs.