PHILADELPHIA -- All Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards could do following his team's third straight loss to the Boston Bruins was tip his helmet to his opponent.
Richards did all he could. He knocked Bruins center David Krejci out of the game on a legal hit at the Boston blue line just 5:40 into the first period -- one of three hits for the evening -- and he'd once again top all forwards with a game-high 24:44 of ice time on 30 shifts.
It wasn't enough.
The Bruins came away with a 4-1 victory and a now own a 3-0 lead in this best-of-7 series that could end Friday night at the Wachovia Center, where the Flyers had gone 17-5-1 in their last 23 games before Wednesday night.
Richards' hit on Krejci summed up the Flyers' night in a nutshell. Krejci slipped a pass to Milan Lucic an instant before Richards leveled him, and while the Wachovia Center crowd was still roaring from the big hit, Lucic sent Miroslav Satan in alone for the go-ahead goal five seconds later.
Richards' team failed miserably on the power play (0-of-4) once again -- the Flyers are now 0-for-8 in the last two games. Areas that seemed to be working so well for the Flyers in their opening-round series against the New Jersey Devils, are failing against the Bruins.
A subdued Richards, who was particularly disappointed with his team's third-period effort when it produced eight of their 35 shots for the game, spoke to the media after the game.
Q: Mike, how big a swing was that beginning of the third period, them getting that goal there? How much of a mental swing was that?
Richards: "Specialty teams tonight were the difference. They got a little bit of a good break off of (Zdeno) Chara's shot there. I think it hit one of our guys and put it on (Mark Recchi's) stick. Obviously, maybe (it) took a little bit out of us, but (it) can't be an excuse. We should have bounced back after that, showed a little bit more emotion but, unfortunately, we didn't."
Q: How frustrating was it coming into this room after the second period; playing as well as you did, and you look up at the scoreboard and still see it's 2-1?
Richards: "I think it was more frustrating coming in after the game and not, after the two periods that we had, not responding in the right manner. I thought we probably could have played better in the third. Give them credit -- they shut us down. They trapped it up and made it hard for us to kind of go through it. It's just frustrating right now."
Q: Mike, did that lack of emotion in the third period surprise you a little bit?
Richards: "A little bit, yeah. Maybe it was just a turning swing with the goal, but yeah, big time surprise."
Q: Mike, is this just a tired team right now?
Richards: "I have no idea. I don't see why it should be, we had 10 days off, so I don't think we should be tired at all."
Q: Were you satisfied with the traffic you had in front of Tuukka Rask?
Richards: "I thought so. I thought we had some good scoring chances but give him credit, he played extremely well and made some key saves at key times in the game. They're a very opportunistic team and they capitalized on some chances and that's what's frustrating about it. When you feel like you're doing well, and they still have the lead. We can't be discouraged, though, and we have to come in here with desperation (on Friday)."