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Magical comeback for Flyers far from surprising

May 14, 2010, 10:45 PM EDT

Flyers7.jpgAs soon as James van Riemsdyk’s partially-blocked wrist shot
inexplicably found it’s way past Tuukka Rask, you could just feel that
this was something the Flyers could pull off. That was the goal they
needed; something, anything positive in a first period that was
everything the Flyers didn’t want in a crucial Game 7.

Too many
penalties, poor goaltending and surprisingly uninspired play. After
three straight games of putting the Bruins on the ropes and keeping them
there with jab after jab, body shot after body shot, they back off now
right when they needed the knockout punch most of all?

After all,
this was a team had been through as much late-season and playoffs
adversity as you could imagine. The Flyers, unable to secure a veteran
goaltender at the trade deadline, make a commitment to Michael Leighton
only to see him go down for nearly two months with an ankle injury.
Brian Boucher inexplicably leads the team to a shootout victory in the
final game of the season, past the New Jersey Devils until going down
with a brutal knee injury in both legs. They lost their lead goal
scorer, Jeff Carter, and Dan Carcillo wasn’t the hero from round one
after fighting through an injury of his own.

 So seeing this team
seemingly fall flat on its face in yet another “biggest game of the
year” was surprising. If nothing else, this Philadelphia Flyers team is
resilient in the face of overwhelming odds. They had come so far in this
series, scratching and clawing their way back from down 0-3 in the
series to force a Game 7; that in and of itself is historic.

there’s a reason that only two other teams in the history of the NHL
have completely pulled off the comeback. It’s nearly impossible to carry
the much momentum in a playoffs series, to get all the bounces you
would need, to have the goaltending, to be able to sustain that
emotional edge. In the first 14 minutes in Boston tonight, the Flyers
showed as much; keeping those emotions high and keeping the Bruins’
backs against the wall is tough when suddenly the pressure is completely
on you.

That’s why a break is all they needed.

Jame van
Riemsdyk didn’t score an extremely impressive goal. This wasn’t the
result of hard work on the forecheck or a dominant cycling of the puck
down low that tired the defense. Instead this was goal that was actually
blocked, a toe drag wrist shot that spun towards Rask and then bounced
off his pad and in. There’s a possibility that puck would have gone wide
had Rask not try and made the save.

This was blind luck and it gave the
Flyers the spark and the edge they needed. If the three straight goals
by the Bruins weren’t enough, this goal was the slap in the face that put
the Flyers in motion.

After that first goal, you just knew the
Flyers had a shot. After a timeout in the first period, the Flyers
outshot the Bruins 22-11 and while there were certainly some tense
moments (and a number of pipes getting hit) they never again allowed
Boston to have the great chances they enjoyed to start the game.

Flyers won this game as a team, blocking 18 shots and doing whatever it
took to keep the Bruins from retaking the lead once the Flyers tied it.
The Flyers fought hard to kill off a Dan Carcillo penalty that came
mere seconds after they tied the game, never taking another penalty in
the game. They were disciplined and hard working, riding the wave of
momentum they had built in three straight wins to get to this point.

0-3 after 14 minutes in Game 7? Not a problem for a Philadelphia Flyers
team that had come so far already this season, a comeback victory that
should not have shocked a soul.

  1. TR - May 15, 2010 at 12:24 AM

    Wow. What a great series!!! As a Flyers fan, I am utterly amazed at what I watched occur. I have accused the Flyers of not playing with any heart since the Olympic break, thought that Richards should have that :C” ripped off him, thought that Briere was lazy and that they are not going to go far withoug a bonafide goaltender. Well, what we’ve got here is passion, heart and the ability to succeed as the Three Musketeers “all for one, one for all”. Impressive indeed. I have never seen such a season unfold with injuries, lucky breaks, shootouts. Could there be a storybook ending?
    Kudos to the Bruins. This was a great series. A lot of hard hockey, dirty, clean..who cares…its HOCKEY 101. Two blue collar fan bases. Sure, I am glad that we eeked it out, but I have been on the other side, too.
    Lets not complain about dirty hits and cheap shots, etc.. If the games in this series didn’t have your heart racing, regardless of what color jersey you had on, then you’re not a hockey fan!

  2. Nikolai - May 15, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    Way to hang in there Flyers and never quit. At the end of the first, Peter Laviollette told Vs., “We are going to win this game.” None of that, “Well we have win the loose puck battles, play tight defensively, and hope to tie this up.”
    We haven’t seen this type of testicular fortitude since Sammi Salo.
    …What? Too soon?

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