-- It might go down as the most disappointing playoff loss in the five-season career of Philadelphia Flyers
captain Mike Richards
After his team had just dropped a 5-1 decision to the Montreal Canadiens
in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Bell Centre on Thursday, Richards stepped before a hoard of cameras and microphones and didn't hold anything back.
"That was just an old-fashioned ass-kicking and they handed it right to us right from the get-go," he said. "I don't know if we thought we just had to throw our sticks on the ice and it was going to be easy. But give them credit, they played hard, all over the ice. They won every puck battle and obviously it showed by the final score.
"It's being mentally focused and being prepared. I guess I'll take responsibility being the leader and captain on this team that we were not ready to play and it's got to change in a hurry."
Richards, who remained composed throughout the 10-minute session with the media, was obviously upset over the fact his team failed to show up for yet another first period. But unlike the previous two games when goalie Michael Leighton
bailed them out, the Canadiens scored twice en route to the their first win of the series.
"They're tenacious on the puck," Richards said. "They're fast and we didn't do anything to slow them down. We didn't do anything to counter that and we were slow with the puck. They capitalized on their chances. You always say you want to move on to the next game and forget about the last one, but maybe, hopefully, we can take this bitter taste in our mouth into the next game."
When Flyers coach Peter Laviolette
was told of Richards' comments, he concurred.
"Well, I guess, you can run with that," Laviolette said. "That's good. It's one game. That's all it is."
The Flyers, who lost for the first time in seven playoff games, were outshot for the third straight time by the Canadiens, 38-26. The home team certainly held the territorial advantage -- much to Richards' chagrin.
"I don't know what it is, but maybe we got a little cocky and a little full of ourselves thinking we can go out there and play and this was a long time coming," Richards said. "We haven't played that well over the first couple of games and relied heavily on our power play to win those. Our 5-on-5 play wasn't great either."
Richards, who logged 21:23 of ice time on 31 shifts with a plus-1 rating, was asked if he feels Thursday's loss was something the Flyers needed as a wakeup call.
"It better be," he admitted. "I'm not calling anyone out except myself. It's got to happen on the ice. We have to play for it instead of just going out there and hoping."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale