This has not been the Philadelphia Flyers series.
Not only are they now trailing the New Jersey Devils three games to one, but they may also be left playing Tuesday's Game 5 without Claude Giroux after a reckless, late hit in Sunday's game caught Brendan Shanahan's attention.
Giroux will have a phone hearing with Shanahan on Monday afternoon after connecting with Devils forward Dainius Zubrus's head on this check:
The worst parts about this hit were that (a) it put Giroux's team shorthanded to start the third period in a pivotal game and (b) it came on a play where he was clearly frustrated.
As they have done through much of the series, the Devils had carried play in this game, out shooting Philadelphia 32-12 after 40 minutes, and Giroux had just been thwarted from picking up the puck when New Jersey netminder Martin Brodeur appeared to play the puck outside of the trapezoid.
The hit, meanwhile, is one of those "finishing your check" types - and that's what Giroux called it after the game - that is completely unnecessary.
Zubrus has clearly already moved the puck, the period is basically over and the check could have caused a serious injury. (Zubrus was ultimately okay to play in the third period.)
"I was trying to finish my hit and he kind of leaned in and he kind of tried to chip the puck in I think," Giroux said. "I didn't see the replay so I don't know. Obviously I'm not a dirty player. I don't want to hit guys in the head. But I was just trying to finish my hit there.
"I think I should be fine [in terms of a suspension] He's leaning in. At the same time, [Anton]Volchenkov hit [Wayne]Simmonds in the face with an elbow. If they look at mine, they should probably look at that one, too."
This is going to either result in a meaningless $2,500 fine or a very meaningful one-game suspension.
One indicates the supposed crackdown that came in when Raffi Torres was hit with a 25-game suspension is still in effect; another indicates that stars still get preferential treatment when big games are involved.Report Typo/Error