This version of the Broad Street Bullies enters the Stanley Cup playing their best hockey all season. They defeated the Canadiens, who were playing great hockey coming into the series, 4-2, to eliminate Montreal. The Flyers advanced, and will face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals, who swept the #1 seeded San Jose Sharks.
Eliminating the Canadiens in Game 5 is exactly what the Flyers needed to do. You didn’t want to have to go back to Montreal for a Game 6, or give them any momentum. The game didn’t start out exactly as planned, as Montreal scored 59 seconds into the game. They then went on the power play, and had an opportunity to take a 2-0 lead in the game.
They didn’t, and that particular Canadiens power play was the start of the Mike Richards show for the night. Richards plowed through a Canadiens player at the point setting up a shorthanded odd man rush that resulted in a good scoring chance for Braydon Coburn. About 30 seconds later, Claude Giroux cleared the puck out of the Flyers zone, and Richards chased after it. The puck slid into the Montreal zone, and Richards was in a race with Canadiens defenseman Roman Hamrlik to be the first to the puck. Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak then decided he wanted to be first to the puck and skated after it. What resulted was a 3 person sliding collision which sent Richards, the puck, and Halak’s goalie stick towards the net. Richards got up, avoided Halak’s stick, and put the puck into the back of the net.
This was just the beginning of Mike Richards playing the “I’m not going to let this team lose this game” role. That is what a captain should do in a big game like this, and Richards was up to the task. The Flyers added 2 goals in the 2nd, one on a nice pass by Matt Carle, which left Arron Asham in front of the net by himself. He made a nice move, and beat Halak. Just over a minute later, the Flyers showed great puck movement, including an unreal behind the net pass from Richards to Jeff Carter, who put a shot over Halak’s shoulder.
Of course the game had to be nerve racking though, as Montreal scored just 7 minutes into the 3rd period, and the Flyers had to hold off a desperate Canadiens team for most of the rest of the game. They did just that, as the defense played well, and Michael Leighton played well down the stretch, and another fabulous Mike Richards play led to a Jeff Carter empty net goal. Mike Richards played his best game in a while, and it was especially important for him to do this in such a big game. Richards is the captain of the team, and the leader, and he showed why on Monday. He was not going to let the Flyers lose that game, and was a beast on almost every shift of his.
Richards had a solid game, Arron Asham had a number of chances, and the defense and Leighton was solid. The first goal was a little bit of lazy defense, but also a goal that Michael Leighton could have saved. After this point though, Leighton was solid. The fans were amazing as always, as Philadelphia fans always are, and were rewarded with getting to watch the Flyers celebrate a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. If the Flyers can win this Stanley Cup, it would be one of the more memorable seasons in Philadelphia sports history, and one of the best coaching performances by Peter Laviolette in these playoffs.
This was a great win, but the goal is to win the Stanley Cup, so there is still plenty of work to be done. As good as the Flyers are playing right now, which they are, the Blackhawks have been a great team wire to wire. They were the #2 seed in the Western Conference, which is a stronger conference than the East, and could have easily been the #1 seed. Instead, they took it to the #1 seeded Sharks in the Western Conference Finals. The Blackhawks feature 3 solid lines, come at you in waves, have star players on offense and defense, and also have a hot goaltender, much like the Flyers. It will not be easy, but it should be a very good Stanley Cup Finals.
This might have been the story line after Game 7 if one Peter Laviolette was not the coach of the Philadelphia Flyers. Luckily for us, he is, and the storyline instead goes something like this…
The Flyers had fought their way back admirably from down 3 games to 0 to the Bruins to tie the series at 3, and force a decisive Game 7 in Boston. Unfortunately, Game 7 did not start out according to plan. The Flyers got down early 3-0 in the first period….. and then came one of the greatest called time outs in Philadelphia sports history. Teams only get 1 time out in hockey, so they are usually reserved for late in the 3rd period of games to give your guys a short rest before one final push. Laviolette used the Flyers 1 timeout in the first period after going down 3-0.
Since that timeout, the Flyers have outscored the Bruins, and now Canadiens, 13-0. Since that timeout, the Flyers have not allowed a goal. The defense has been great, and Michael Leighton has been even better. In that timeout, Laviolette told Michael Leighton to not allow another goal, and the Flyers would win that game. Leighton apparently received the message loud and clear, as he did not allow another goal in that Game 7, and has not let the Canadiens find the net as of yet through 2 games of the Eastern Conference Finals series.
Peter Laviolette also told the Flyers during that timeout to settle down, and get a goal before the period was over to make it 3-1. As we all know, James van Riemsdyk got that goal, the Flyers went into the locker room down 3-1, and the rest, as they say is history.
Peter Laviolette was hired by the Flyers on December 4th, as they sent John Stevens packing. The Flyers were slumping at the time, and a replacement was needed. It did take some time to get used to Laviolette’s aggressive forechecking system, but the players have bought into it, and the Flyers aggressive forechecking is one of the reasons they are having success so far in the playoffs. Laviolette won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes, so he brought instant credibility and respect from the players, who knew that Laviolette can get the job done as coach. He has gotten the job done here, and then some.
Laviolette, much like some of the players, seems to elevate his game once the playoffs start. Laviolette is focused on winning the Stanley Cup, and anything short of that will be a disappointment. After eliminating the Bruins capping off one of the most historic comebacks in sports history, Laviolette remained stoic, and said that the Flyers were not happy with advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals, and that the Flyers can still play better. After both the Game 1 and Game 2 wins over Montreal in the Eastern Conference Finals, Laviolette was not pleased. He said the Flyers need to play better if they want to advance. I like that out of the head coach. We can call this the anti-Andy Reid.
After losses to terrible teams like the Raiders, or blowout losses to good teams like the Cowboys to end the season, Andy Reid continues to say how good the team played, and how close they are, and that they are only a hair off, and how they will get it right for next game, since they don’t have far to go. This is complete bullshit, as is most everything that comes out of Andy Reid’s mouth. Even after historic wins, and 6-0 wins, Laviolette is not content. Winning is always good, but can often mask a lot of mistakes, and Laviolette knows this, and knows that the Flyers need to continue to correct some things if they want to continue to advance in these playoffs. Peter Laviolette should be the long-term coach of the Flyers, as he is right up there with Charlie Manuel right now, as the best coach in the city.
The Sixers were sitting in the 6th position, meaning if everything played out by the numbers, the Sixers would have the #6 pick in the NBA Draft. Jrue Holiday was sent to represent the 76ers, which seemed strange since if we got the #1 overall pick, we would be taking another PG in Wall to replace Holiday. The Sixers did not get the #1 overall pick, but instead got the #2 overall pick, which is great news. Not only do the Sixers not have to worry about taking a point guard, assuming the Wizards, who won the draft lottery, take John Wall #1 overall.
1. Washington Wizards - John Wall – PG, Kentucky
2. Philadelphia 76ers- Evan Turner – SG/SF, Ohio State
3. New Jersey Nets- Derrick Favors – PF, Georgia Tech
4. Minnesota Timberwolves- Wesley Johnson – SF, Syracuse
5. Sacramento Kings- DeMarcus Cousins – PF/C, Kentucky
6. Golden State Warriors Al-Farouq Aminu – SF, Wake Forest
7. Detroit Pistons- Greg Monroe – C, Georgetown
8. Los Angeles Clippers- Donatas Motiejunas – PF/C, Lithuania
9. Utah Jazz- Cole Aldrich – C, Kansas
10. Indiana Pacers- Patrick Patterson – PF, Kentucky
11. New Orleans Hornets- Xavier Henry – SG, Kansas
12. Memphis Grizzlies- Ed Davis – PF, UNC
13. Toronto Raptors- Hassan Whiteside – PF/C, Marshall
14. Houston Rockets- Ekpe Udoh – PF/C, Baylor
15. Milwaukee Bucks- James Anderson – SF, Oklahoma State
16. Minnesota Timberwolves- Avery Bradley – PG/SG, Texas
17. Chicago Bulls- Daniel Orton – C, Kentucky
18. Miami Heat- Larry Sanders – PF, VCU
19. Boston Celtics- Luke Babbitt – SF, Nevada
20. San Antonio Spurs- Eric Bledsoe – PG, Kentucky
21. Oklahoma City Thunder- Solomon Alabi – C, Florida State
22. Portland Trailblazers- Damion James – SF, Texas
23. Minnesota Timberwolves- Paul George – SF, Fresno State
24. Atlanta Hawks- Armon Johnson – PG, Nevada
25. Memphis Grizzlies- Gordon Hayward – SF, Butler
26. Oklahoma City Thunder- Gani Lawal – PF, Georgia Tech
27. New Jersey Nets- Devin Ebanks – SF, West Virginia
28. Memphis Grizzlies- Jordan Crawford – SG, Xavier
29. Orlando Magic- Willie Warren – SG, Oklahoma
30. Washington Wizards- Stanley Robinson – SF, UConn
Wallace, back in 2004 when Jeremy Roenick scored a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs to win a series in overtime, cut off the interview he was currently doing in the Detroit Pistons locker room to watch the television in the locker room, and starting yelling "It's in, it's in."
Wallace has been seen numerous times in his Flyers gear and Flyers hat. So, I have to give him props, as Wallace, not playing for Boston, was being interviewed on Thursday night after Boston beat the Cavaliers to close out the series. This took place in Boston, the night before the Flyers and Bruins were about to play Game 7 in the same city. Needless to say, Rasheed Wallace is the man, as this is what he looked like at the interview--
The Flyers capped off a historic comeback, one of the best in playoff sports history, to beat the Bruins 4-3, in a game that featured an unbelievable comeback of its own.
Only 3 teams in the history of sports, and 2 teams in the history of the NHL had ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit. The Flyers not only did that, but also fell behind the Bruins by a score of 3-0 in the 1st period, only to still come back and win the game 4-3 with a 3rd period goal.
The Bruins were all over the Flyers in the 1st period, and the Flyers took 2 stupid penalties, both of which the Bruins capitalized on to make it a very quick 2-0 lead. The Bruins then had numerous chances to make it 3-0, and then finally did that on Lucic's 2nd goal of the game.
At that point, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette called a timeout, in what turned out to be one of the best timeouts in Philadelphia sports history. He told Michael Leighton to calm down, and if he did not allow a goal the rest of the game, the Flyers would win. He also said that someway they needed to get a goal before the 1st period was over.
The Flyers would do both of those. James Van Riemsdyk, who has been very back this postseason, scored on a semi-fluky goal that slid under the pad of Tuukka Rask. This accomplished exactly what the Flyers needed by getting the score back to a manageable 3-1 deficit going into the first intermission.
The Flyers came out on a mission in the 2nd period, and really dominated this period and got back in the game. Scott Hartnell jumped on a rebound early in the 2nd period and roofed a backhand to make the score 3-2. Shortly after, Danny Briere threw a puck in front of the net, which somehow deflected into the net to make it 3-3. The Flyers actually appeared to score again later in the period, and it was reviewed, but was not called goal. Sure looked like a goal to me.
The game went to the 2nd intermission tied at 3, and the Flyers had all the momentum. The Flyers continued to play well into the 3rd period, and even though the period was fairly even, the Flyers did have the majority of the scoring chances.
A too many men of the ice penalty gave the Flyers a power play a little more than halfway through the 3rd period, and Simon Gagne scored as the power play was winding down. The Flyers held off the Bruins the last 8 minutes of the game to cap off one of the best moments in sports history.
I would say that this victory ranks up there among the top 10, possibly top 5 Philadelphia victories I have ever watched in my lifetime. Just flat out unbelievable. Down 3-0 in the series, then down 3-0 in Game 7 in Boston, only to come back and win against a team that supposedly locks it down defensively when they get a lead. Incredible.
Hopefully the Flyers can continue this little momentum and run they have going now. It helps that they have home ice advantage in the Eastern Conference Finals as the #7 seed, because the #8 seed Montreal Canadiens await them. Game 1 of that series is Sunday night at the Wachovia Center.
First of all: no Phillie Phanatic. Sorry fans, he may be the best mascot in baseball but he doesn’t travel with the team. Therefore, he isn’t invited to this road series.
When the big screen tells us the rules of fan behavior in the stadium, it should come from Adam Lind and Aaron Hill and not Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez. But either way, “enjoy the game.”
If and when Ryan Howard hits a home run, the Liberty Bell must remain silent. No banging back and forth to try and excite the crowd. They are the road team after all.
The organist and PA announcer from Toronto should be on hand. Dan Baker and his well respected pipes will have to sit this one out. And when the stadium feels flat, it will be up to the Toronto organist to play some Canadian little ditty to pep the fans back up.
When the 7th inning stretch rolls around, fans should be instructed to “Root root root for the Blue Jays.”
For this one weekend, the fans of the Phils are granted the opportunity to make bad jokes about how good of a road team the Phillies are.
Blue Jays fans are allowed to harp on visiting Phillies fans and tell them to “go back home!”
A red Maple Leaf should be painted in the on-deck circle.
The soft pretzels should be shaped like T’s instead of P’s and sodas should be served in collectible cups with an image of Vernon Wells instead of Chase Utley.
So as you see, shifting from one stadium to another isn’t as easy as hoping on a plane. There are so many more things that are involved in Home Field Advantage. Obviously, none of these things will actually happen. And that’s just fine with this Phillies fan. Here to 3 extra home games!
Teams have gone down in playoff series 3-0 in Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and the National Basketball Association 281 times. Only 3 times has a team ever come back from such a deficit to win the series. It has happened twice in the NHL, and once in MLB. The last time it happened in the NHL was 1975. The Flyers still have their work cut out for them though, and obviously it goes without saying that to win any game in the playoffs on the road, in a Game 7 is an extremely difficult task.
The Flyers jumped out of the gates quickly in Game 6, and really dominated the play in the first half of the first period. Some great forechecking, and great work around the net to keep the puck alive by the Richards-Carcillo-Gagne line led to the first goal of the game by Mike Richards. Kimmo Timonen also did a good job pinching in on the play getting the puck out in front of the net to Gagne. The Bruins then had their chances as they took control late in the first period, and into the 2nd period. Michael Leighton was up to all the challenges though, including a first period breakaway that he saved.
Late in the 2nd period, the Flyers were about to have a long 5 on 3 power play when Chris Pronger knocked Zdeno Chara to the ice and got called for a weak penalty. However, on the 4 on 3 power play, Danny Briere blasted a shot over Rask’s shoulder and into the net. The two goal scorers in Briere and Richards continue to play really well in the playoffs.
Michael Leighton, making his first start since March 16th, played amazing. He made save after save in the 3rd period when the Bruins were really pressing. The Bruins did finally get a puck past Leighton with exactly 1 minute left in the 3rd period, but they didn’t get much pressure in the final minute, and the Flyers left the ice with a 2-1 victory, and all the momentum going into Game 7. However, momentum can change quickly, especially when you go on the road.
The Flyers need to jump out quickly, like they have the last 2 games, and get a first period lead. The last 2 games, the Flyers have scored in the first period, and it has forced the Bruins to play from behind, something they are not good at doing. The Bruins are not an offensive power; they are a physical, defensive team that likes the get the lead and sit on it. The Flyers need to make sure this doesn’t happen in Game 7. That will be easier said than done.
Ruiz usually does most of his damage come playoff time, but decided to carry the Phillies to this regular season victory. Ruiz had 2 of the 5 Phillies hits, and had both RBI’s. The first RBI came in the 7th inning of a scoreless game, with a deep sac fly that scored Ibanez. Then in the 10th inning, Ruiz had a great at bat, and blasted a walk off solo home run that sent everyone home happy.
Cole Hamels pitched well, which is obviously a very good sign going forward. Hamels faced a strong right handed lineup of Ludwick, Pujols, and Holliday and did well against them. Hamels did run into some trouble in the 9th inning, but overall you have to be pleased with his performance. This is a good much needed sign, as Hamels has to become that solid #2 guy in the rotation. This is due to the fact that Ruben Amaro made one of the worst trades in team history by giving away Cliff Lee. This is probably the worst trade in Philadelphia sports history in the last 30 years.
But anyways, Hamels pitched well, and Blanton pitched pretty well on Monday night, even though he ran into some trouble in the 7th inning. You still have to be pleased, as Blanton’s stuff looked good, and in his first start back, he got through 6 innings with only 1 earned, and then did run into some trouble in the 7th.
The offense, which has been struggling, came alive in the last 2 games of the Mets series, including smashing around Johan Santana. The first 2 games of this Cardinals series however, have not been great offensively. They haven’t gotten many hits, and have not put runs on the board. I think the offense will come with time, and only get stronger as the season goes on.
Unfortunately, offense can come and go, and will go stretches where they will struggle, which is why it is always important to have a solid pitching staff, and also why in the playoffs, pitching tends to be more important than hitting.
The bullpen needs to get better, and Ryan Madson is not being reported out at least 2 months. I believe the Phillies need to bring up Scott Mathieson from Triple A, and see what he can do as a major league reliever. Mathieson’s stuff is very good, and he might be able to get in there and play well.