Philadelphia Flyers Players Failing to Meet Expectations in 2014 NHL Playoffs

Dan Fremuth@@hometownphanContributor IIIApril 27, 2014

Philadelphia Flyers Players Failing to Meet Expectations in 2014 NHL Playoffs

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    After their 4-2 loss Sunday in Game 5, the Philadelphia Flyers find themselves on the brink of elimination in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs.

    The Orange and Black return home Tuesday with an opportunity to prolong the series but have seemingly been playing catch up throughout the first five games of their opening-round series with the New York Rangers.

    Philadelphia has yet to put forth a full 60-minute team effort in the best-of-seven set and has failed to receive key contributions (or contributions of any kind) from several of its supposed impact players.

    Here's a look at a few of those guilty Flyers who have failed to meet expectations through the postseason's first two weeks.

Claude Giroux

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    Yes, Claude Giroux netted his first goal of the series Sunday, but that conversion proved to be too little too late for the Flyers in Game 5. Unless Philadelphia's captain generates more consistent production overall, it will be too little too late in the series.

    The NHL's third-leading scorer during the regular season (86 points in 82 games) has registered just one goal and three points in five playoff outings.

    He failed to score a point in the series opener and was held off the scoresheet once again in Game 4, despite his series-evening guarantee after a 4-1 setback at Wells Fargo Center in Game 3.

    Even though Giroux found the back of the net late in Game 5, he failed to convert on a two-on-one with Jake Voracek earlier in the contest which could have proved to be a far more impactful conversion. The Rangers have clearly physically targeted Philadelphia's captain, and the 26-year-old pivot has looked visibly frustrated at times.

    Desperation may be starting to sink in for Giroux, who recorded a series-high six shots on goal Sunday after notching just four total shots through the series' first four contests.

Scott Hartnell

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    After an injury-plagued season a year ago saw Scott Hartnell manage just eight goals and 11 points, the 32-year-old power forward put forth a solid bounce-back campaign this year in which he registered 20 goals and 52 points while finishing fourth among all Philadelphia skaters in scoring.

    Unfortunately for Hartnell and the Flyers, that scoring resurgence hasn't carried into the postseason.

    Through five playoff tilts, the 12-year veteran has managed zero goals and only two points. Despite a team-high 11 shots on goal, Hartnell has yet to find the back of the net and has posted a minus rating in two of the series' last three games.

    What's more, the Regina, Saskatchewan native is hurting the players around him.

    Hartnell clearly slowed rush opportunities for Giroux and Voracek throughout Game 4 and was shifted by head coach Craig Berube to the team's second line in Sunday's Game 5 when it was evident he was doing so yet again.

    Hartnell will never again be the 30-goal scorer he was even just two years ago, but he must find a way to contribute more than he is right now if the Flyers have any hope of advancing.

Wayne Simmonds

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    Wayne Simmonds wasn't a key cog when the Flyers were last in the playoffs two years ago, but after a team-leading 29 goals this year, the Flyers needed the blossoming power forward to be one of the club's main contributors.

    Through the team's first five playoff contests, that hasn't been the case.

    In five postseason outings this year, Simmonds has just one goal and only two points and is tied for the club lead with eight penalty minutes. What's more, after recording six shots through the series' opening two games, the 25-year-old winger has managed just a single shot on goal in each of the subsequent three games.

    Simmonds' only conversion of the series was deposited into an empty net, and he's failed to post a plus rating in any of Philadelphia's first five tilts with the Rangers.

    The 6'2", 175-pound Simmonds has provided a physical impact in the series with 11 total hits, including multiple hits in four of the series' first five games, but that alone won't be enough to push Philadelphia into the second round.

Vincent Lecavalier

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    When the Flyers signed Vincent Lecavalier to a five-year, $22.5 million contact last summer, they did so not only for his established scoring ability but for his playoff acumen as well.

    A 14-year NHL veteran, Lecavalier entered the season with 63 playoff games on his resume highlighted by a Stanley Cup championship with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004. During that time, the Quebec native had compiled 24 postseason conversions to go along with 52 career playoff points.

    What's more, Lecavalier was a beast during his last postseason appearance three years ago when the 6'4", 208-pound forward notched 19 points in just 18 contests.

    But through the first five games of their opening-round series with the Rangers, the Flyers haven't exactly gotten what they paid for.

    Lecavalier has just one goal (which didn't come until Sunday's Game 5) and two points and boasts the lowest plus-minus rating (minus-four) among all Philadelphia forwards.

    After averaging just under eight-and-a-half minutes (with zero shots) as a fourth-line player through the first two games, Lecavalier was promoted to the second line in Game 3 with the hopes of provoking more scoring opportunities out of the 34-year-old pivot.

    Lecavalier does have six shots on goal in three games since but has been a minus player in each of those outings while averaging just over 13 minutes of playing time.