Philly's can-do spirit sparks run at a playoff comeback for the ages
PHILADELPHIA -- The video board at the Wachovia Center said it all before the game. As the Flyers took the ice for warmups, they could read a poster pressed up against the glass that read: "1942 Toronto Maple Leafs ... 1975 New York Islanders ... 2010 Philadelphia Flyers!" Perhaps a couple days premature, the thought was and has been on everybody's mind. Since Philadelphia pulled off two improbable wins, a 5-4 overtime thriller and a 4-0 drubbing in Boston, there's been that sense that history might be made here. Apart from the '42 Leafs and '75 Isles, only three other teams have even forced a Game 7. Now, after a 2-1 win over the Bruins Wednesday night, you can add the 2010 Flyers to the list of come-from-behind, never-say-die teams.
"It's special," Flyers winger
The video montage before the puck dropped boasted Philadlphia as the city that never quits (with the statue of
Despite throwing shot after shot in the direction of Flyers goalie
Leighton, who only returned to the Flyers lineup three days ago after missing two months with a high ankle sprain, made 30 saves in his first career playoff win. The 28-year-old netminder was forced to return maybe a little earlier than expected after playoff starter
"I thought he was really sharp," Philadelphia coach
The Flyers opened up the scoring about seven minutes into the game when
On the 4-on-3 power play, with less than five minutes to go in the second period, Briere drove down and went wide. He tried to pass the puck across the crease, but it came right back to his stick. "When the puck came back to me, I just thought it was meant to be, so I took it to the net, and I was thinking shoot after that all the way," Briere said. He threw rising shot onto Rask, which bounced up the Bruins logo and went high over the goalie's glove-hand shoulder. It was the 32-year-old winger's sixth goal of the playoffs, his sixth in eight games. "At this point, the puck seems to be finding the back of the net for me," he said. "So I'm just trying to put as many pucks as I can on net."
Briere's goal ended up being a necessary cushion for Philadelphia, as Bruins winger
As improbable as it was, the Flyers did everything they needed to do, blocking shots (30 on the night), obstructing passing lanes and winning battles. They make the sacrifices necessary to win these tight playoff games, because that is what Philadelphia's been doing for awhile now.
"[This is] certainly not a path that you choose," Laviolette said. "You'd rather have done things differently during the course of the year and the playoffs. [But] we found ourselves down 0-3 in the series, and the players deserve a tremendous amount of credit because they won't quit.
"Every time they're pushed, they push back," he continued. "They're a very resilient group out there ... and they won't go away. It's become a strength of ours based on the course of things that have happened throughout the year, down the stretch. The adversity we've faced, I feel like we're conditioned to it now."
Yes, it's been a tough season for the Flyers. When you can say you were sitting in 14th place in the Eastern Conference at one point, went through a midseason coaching change, fought for a playoff spot until literally the last day of the regular season -- and in a shootout to boot -- what's a little 0-3 series hole?
With another improbable win, this Philadelphia team has shown there really isn't much they cannot overcome.