By: Tom Dougherty | @todougherty

One thing became clear for the Philadelphia Flyers in their second round matchup against the New Jersey Devils: the defense has to get better.

While the Flyers blue line was far from 100 percent, the defensive struggles were glaring. They couldn’t create any clean breakouts, were committing too many turnovers and were out of position too often.

The Flyers gave up 18 goals against the Devils, but that wasn’t Ilya Bryzgalov’s fault. He was Philadelphia’s best player in the semifinals, by far. In their quarterfinals shootout with the Penguins, the orange and black surrendered 26 goals.

That was a little different; that wasn’t playoff hockey, it was pond hockey.

Regardless of the amount of goals Bryzgalov let in, the Flyers defense didn’t support their goalie very often. It became obvious that Philadelphia missed Chris Pronger more than ever in the playoffs.

And the Flyers cannot count on Pronger to come back from post-concussion syndrome. Despite saying that he expects Pronger to play next year, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren has to prepare to life without their captain.

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