Video courtesy of MrFlyerGuy
…May 14, 2010. I’ll never forget the day: I was at the viewing party at the Wells Fargo Center with 15,000 of my closest friends and it was quite a party when that final buzzer sounded.
Video courtesy of MrFlyerGuy
…May 14, 2010. I’ll never forget the day: I was at the viewing party at the Wells Fargo Center with 15,000 of my closest friends and it was quite a party when that final buzzer sounded.
…Gene Hart’s call gives me goosebumps EVERY SINGLE TIME I listen to this.
I first saw this today on Yahoo! Sports’ Puck Daddy Blog, but I couldn’t resist:
…This fan is a lunatic, and Lappy’s reaction is priceless. Gotta love playoff hockey in Philadelphia. The Flyers would go on to win Game 6 against the Bruins, 2-1. We all know what then happened on May 14, 2010.
The incredible run of the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers came to a crushing halt Wednesday night on the Wachovia Center ice. Patrick Kane slipped an overtime marker past Michael Leighton and the Blackhawks claimed their first Stanley Cup since 1961 – leaving the Flyers 0 for their last 6 in Stanley Cup Final appearances. It’s a tough pill to swallow for the Flyers and their fans, and while the wound is still fresh today, it is healing slightly a little better than it was yesterday. The Flyers enjoyed a remarkable ride en route to the franchise’s first Cup Final appearance since 1997. As a seven seed, they knocked off the two-seeded New Jersey Devils in five games in round one, made history when they came back to eliminate the Boston Bruins in seven games in round two, and dispatched the Montreal Canadiens in five games in the Eastern Conference Final to claim hold of their first Prince of Wales trophy in 13 years. This was a team that was 14th in the Eastern Conference at one point this season, and made a coaching switch midway through the year that started with the team losing seven of it’s first nine under Peter Laviolette. However, they bought into his system, they kept believing, and now they are going to be able to raise a banner at the Wachovia Center next season. Although it may not be the ultimate goal, I think we can all agree that “2010 Eastern Conference Champions” is pretty sweet.
Now, onto my series recap. Obviously, all the points here will be Flyers related, so when my Series MVP isn’t a ‘Hawk, don’t get all crazy on me. I know this, and I did it purposely. I’ve broken it up into three categories: 1) Series MVP, 2) Series Turning Point, 3) Why the Flyers Lost. I left out the “What has to change for the next series” category, because, well, there is no ‘next series’. That is, until, next postseason….
1) SERIES MVP: Danny Briere, Right Wing.
Many will argue Ville Leino should be here, and many others will say Scott Hartnell was more deserving. However, in my opinion, it was the third part of that line that was easily the most important – and certainly the most valuable. Danny Briere finished the postseason as the leading point scorer in all of the National Hockey League. He had twelve points in the six game series against Chicago – easily making him the highest scoring player in the series, and finished the playoffs with 12 goals and 18 assists. While many – myself included – look for more from Briere in the regular season because of his gigantic contract, there’s certainly no denying that he earns his paycheck when the year matters most: the playoffs. His speed and skill were heavily on display throughout the entire postseason, and I think that despite his regular season struggles, Briere has completely endured himself to the Flyers’ fan base with his postseason performance. He made the most of his first career appearance in the Stanley Cup Final, and let’s hope it’s in the cards for him to make a few more return trips there in the Orange and Black.
2) SERIES TURNING POINT: Game Four’s Final Minutes.
I understand the reasoning as to why Game Five may be many people’s turning point for this series, but it was not. Instead, this series took a turn for the worst for the Flyers with less than ten minutes remaining in the Flyers’ 5-3 Game Four victory over Chicago. Sure, the Flyers won the game, and ultimately evened up the series at two games a piece, but that wasn’t the bigger story. The more important, and far more telling fact of Game Four was that in the period’s final minutes, ‘Hawks coach Joel Quenneville switched up his lines, and Chicago absolutely dominated the play. The Flyers couldn’t clear the puck from the defensive zone if their lives depended on it, and Chicago smelled blood with their newfound momentum. They carried that same strategy that came up just short in Game Four into Game Five, and ran the Flyers literally out of Chicago and on the next flight back to Philadelphia. It was certainly a much tighter game in Game Six – hence the score being tied after sixty minutes and heading into overtime – but with their new line combinations, Chicago still dominated heavily and controlled the play for long durations of the game. The new lines gave Chicago new life, and ultimately a Stanley Cup. We can thank the furious push from the ‘Hawks in Game Four for re-installing the confidence needed to be successful in the playoffs and tight situations. It’s the reason there’s a parade in Chicago today.
3) WHY THE FLYERS LOST: Antti Niemi was (slightly) better than Michael Leigthon/Brian Boucher.
Game One: 5 goals, Game Two: 1 goal, Game Three: 4 goals, Game Four: 5 goals, Game Five 4 goals, Game Six: 3 goals. Antti Niemi was not magnificent. In fact, most of the time – aside from Game Two – he wasn’t even consistently all that good. However, he managed to somehow be just a little bit better than the Flyers goaltenders Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher. Boosh relieved Leighton twice in tight, high scoring games in Chicago (1 & 5), but took home the loss in each contest. Niemi was never pulled, although no one would have questioned Quenneville had he done it at specific points in the series. Instead, the Finnish Fortress was just simply OK. And, with how the goaltending went in this series, OK was “good enough”. Niemi made two critical stops in Game Six to Leighton’s one. Leighton’s toe save on Jonathan Toews with under six minutes to go paved the way for Scott Hartnell’s goal that tied the game in regulation. However, Niemi’s breakaway save on Simon Gagne early in the second, and his acrobatic flop to stop Jeff Carter in the waning minutes of the third period were truly the game savers. In the end, I must reluctantly say, it was Niemi>Leighton/Boucher.
And just like that, the dream is over.
In the blink of an eye, in the quickness of a Patrick Kane stutter-step, the Chicago Blackhawks staved off a furious push from the Flyers late in Game Six and claimed their first Stanley Cup since 1961. Kudos to the Blackhawks for playing a tremendous series: they were definitely the better team, and I think it’s obvious that they got better as the series went on.
Still, I more than tip my cap to the Philadelphia Flyers. They restored the Prince of Wales to his rightful home in the City of Brotherly Love and I’ve realized that lost in all this Stanley Cup hoop-lah surrounding the Chicago Blackhawks, is that the Eastern Conference goes through the Philadelphia Flyers and the Wachovia Center in 2010-2011. It will be a long off-season for the Flyers, who came two wins – and perhaps a crushing overtime goal to send this to a Game Seven – from wining the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 35 years. However, it simply wasn’t meant to be. How the hockey Gods can make it so that Ben Eager gets to sip from the silver chalice before Ian Laperriere is beyond me, but so it goes.
Chicago deserved to win Game Six, it’s that simple. They were quicker than the Flyers, and while the men in Orange and Black looked like their legs had given out on them and their bodies were running on empty, the Blackhawks looked like they had received an extra jolt of energy, and were ready to rock at puck drop. They outworked the Flyers for literally 55 of the 60 minutes of regulation time, and the fact that the Flyers sent the game into overtime was a prayer in itself.
I don’t want to go over what happened in this game, because I’m sure you all know. The ‘Hawks jumped out to a lead, the Flyers evened it up, the Flyers gained the lead, the ‘Hawks evened it up, then the ‘Hawks got the lead, and the Flyers tied it up, before the ‘Hawks claimed the Cup in overtime. I felt like it would only do the Flyers justice to put even a small post up today, but I seriously mean it when I say that this takes almost all the remaining energy out of me.
I’m crushed by what took place last night. Maybe I made things worse on myself by sitting there and watching that midget Gary Bettman come out on the ice literally from right below my seats in section 122. Maybe I shouldn’t have watched Jonathan Toews come claim the Conn Smythe and the Stanley Cup. Maybe I shouldn’t have seen Marian Hossa get the Cup in person and watch the euphoria he experienced when he raised it over his head. Maybe I shouldn’t have watched the Blackhawks parade around the ice. However, I’m kind of glad I did deep down. I saw that happen live, and it made me crave for the day when Mike Richards and the Flyers will take part in the finale. Guys like Danny Briere and Ian Laperriere, Blair Betts and Scott Hartnell – these men deserved a better fate. But really, what can you do? How do fans get through this off-season? How do the Flyers get through this off-season? Their professionals, I guess, so it’s just part of their job, but this one is going to sting personally for me for a long time. It’s never easy when the Flyers are bounced from the playoffs, but this was the longest run of theirs that I have experienced in my life.
And now, it’s over.
What do I do now?
Wait ’till next year?
Who will go down in Flyers history tonight?
Carchidi lays out several guidelines he believes the Flyers will need to follow if they are to make a serious statement in this series moving forward. Among Carchidi’s requests: sticking with Michael Leighton, having Jeff Carter and Mike Richards step up, and perhaps even having Peter Laviolette insert Dan Carcillo back into the lineup for Game Six and scratch a defenseman (Oskars Bartulis), going with 13 forwards and five d-men.
You can check out the article, here: SOME (FREE) ADVICE FOR FLYERS
The Chicago Blackhawks knew that if they had to come back to Philadelphia down 3-2 in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, their chances of a comeback were slim to none. Instead, the ‘Hawks played like their lives depended on it and destroyed the Flyers in Game Five by a final score of 7-4.
Much like the 5-3 final of Game Four that went in the Flyers’ favor, the three goal cushion the Blackhawks had when this game went final didn’t even do their total domination justice. Antti Niemi was very ordinary tonight in goal for Chicago, but fortunately for him Michael Leighton was the recipient of some bad bounces, and Brian Boucher couldn’t hold down the fort. The forwards and defense for Chicago completely wanted it more, and battled hard all game long as a result. The Flyers were tentative – they let the Blackhawks dictate the play early on and that set the tone for a domination by the ‘Hawks as the game continued to wear down. The Flyers got it to two goals twice: down 3-1 in the first minute of the second period, and down 6-4 with a little less than ten minutes to play in the third. Still, that was more a factor of Niemi not being very good more than it was the Flyers actually generating serious offense.
The Blackhawks came out flying in the first period, scoring three unanswered goals, and controlling the shots by a margin of 13-7. Many Flyers said that after the game the first period they had just played in was one of the worst periods – if not the worst – this team has played the entire season, let alone playoffs. The scary thing is that it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Brent Seabrook got the scoring started on a goal that has become creepily typical of Blackhawk goals this series – a deflection. A Seabrook wrister unfortunately deflected off of Chris Pronger’s skate – who was trying to block the shot – and snuck into a tiny hole that had opened up when the puck changed direction past Michael Leighton’s right pad at 12:17 of the first period on the power play. The ‘Hawks weren’t done, however, as just three minutes later, another crazy carom saw the puck go from Dave Bolland’s stick behind the net to the back of Leighton’s skate and into the net for a goal that made the score 2-0 Chicago. In a period that Chicago dominated, the ‘Hawks were not yet done, as Kris Versteeg found the back of the net through a screen and under Leighton’s glove to give the Blackhawks what seemed like an insurmountable 3-0 lead. It was just that.
The second period opened with a glimmer of hope for the Flyers and their fans, as Scott Hartnell picked up a loose puck in the crease to make it 3-1 Flyers just 32 seconds into the frame. Brian Boucher also entered the game for Leighton, who was pulled after giving up three goals in the first. The Flyers started to control the play a bit in the beginning of the period and there was reason to think that a comeback was entirely possible. That was, of course, until Danny Briere did not pick up his man – Patrick Kane – who got a beautiful back-door pass from Andrew Ladd to break the Flyers’ backs and make the score 4-1 Chicago. The goal proved even that much more crucial when Kimmo Timonen roofed a rebound in front to cut the Blackhawks’ lead to 4-2 just a minute and a half later. The Flyers chances then began to mount, but failed opportunities in front of a wide open net from Ville Leino and Mike Richards proved even more costly, when Dustin Byfuglien scored his first of the game on the powerplay to make it 5-2 Chicago and, for all extensive purposes, put this game out of reach.
The Flyers showed a little fight in the third period, as James van Riemsdyk scored his first goal of the Stanley Cup Final on another bad rebound from Niemi and made the score 5-3, but, like the Orange and Black did in Philadelphia, it was the Blackhawks that answered back in a big way Sunday night, as Patrick Sharp beat Brian Boucher to make the score back to a three goal margin, now at 6-3. Simon Gagne got one back for the Flyers, as Ville Leino – really the only forward that gave a complete effort tonight – made a great individual play to get the puck to Gagne who was wide open to put the puck in the empty net. At 6-4 with less than three minutes left, there was hope, but not much. All that hope was diminished when Dustin Byfuglien buried an empty netter for his second of the game and locked up a 7-4 Game Five victory for the ‘Hawks as well as a 3-2 series lead.
This game was not about any one player in particular, although many other articles you’ll read will want to make it seem that way. In short, the Blackhawks as a team wanted this game a helluva lot more than the Flyers. As a deserving result, Chicago is now just one win away from a date with Lord Stanley. That could happen Wednesday night in Philadelphia, where I’ll be in attendance. However, if the Flyers get their way, all eyes and bodies will be back in Chicago for a decisive Game Seven.
It’s a pretty simple equation for the Flyers at this point: win two games and a row and you are the 2010 Stanley Cup Champions. Lose a game before you win two, and it’s all over. Let’s hope the first option is the reality come Friday night. Get the ball rolling Wednesday, boys.
The creators of this video are genius. All that needs to be said.
Down 0-2 to arguably the most talented team in the National Hockey League and facing two must-win games on your home ice to keep your Stanley Cup hopes alive? Not a problem.
The Philadelphia Flyers handled their end of the bargain last night as their 5-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks allowed them to even up their series at two games a piece. The Flyers also took Game Three in dramatic fashion, with Claude Giroux scoring the winner in overtime to bring the series to 2-1 Chicago. The series was 2-0 heading into Philadelphia, as the Blackhawks also held serve on their home ice, taking Games One and Two in the United Center. The Flyers knew a Game Four loss could potentially end their season, as they’d be staring down a 3-1 series deficit with Chicago having the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup on home ice in Game Five. That is no longer the case.
Instead, this series will at least go six games, and to many experts, now seems destined for a seventh and decisive game next Friday night in Chicago. Of course, the result of Game Five will largely dictate the possibility of a Game Seven. For now however, it’s all about what happened in Game Four to get this series even.
An old face returned to the Flyers line-up in Game Four, as James van Riemsdyk took back Dan Carcillo’s spot in the Flyers’ line-up. Some new faces made their way into the Chicago line-up, as Andrew Ladd returned from an upper-body injury he sustained in Game Four of the Western Conference Final and Nick Boynton played in his first playoff game in five years, replacing Jordan Hendry on the Blackhawks’ blue-line. The ‘Hawks new additions were a plus to their new strategy: heavy neutral zone pressure on the Flyers and continue to force turnovers. While the ‘Hawks strategy was effective, the Flyers continuously had answers for Chicago.
Andrew Ladd welcomed himself to the game and the series by promptly taking an undisciplined interference penalty just 36 seconds into the contest, effectively putting the Flyers on the power play. While Chicago did kill off the penalty, the early damage was certainly done, and the Flyers had established a flow to their liking early on. After killing the penalty, some great back and forth action followed, with Chicago suddenly seeming to get their way with the flow of play. It wasn’t long however, before the Blackhawks took another stupid penalty and put the Flyers back on the powerplay. This time, the Orange and Black made them pay. With a little over fifteen minutes to play in the first, Niklas Hjarlmarsson looked to clear the puck from his end on the penalty kill. He was stripped of the puck on a great hustle play by Mike Richards, who immediately swung to the front of the net, and sent a backhander in on an off-guard Antti Niemi. Niemi let the puck slip through his five-hole and Richards gave the Flyers the 1-0 lead in the game.
The remainder of the first period was very back and forth, save a few chances here and there that either Niemi and Michael Leighton each turned away. The period appeared to be heading to intermission 1-0 Flyers, until a crazy final five minutes totally opened up the scoring. Matt Carle scored on another defensive zone turnover by Hjarlmarsson, as he deposited the puck into an empty net with a little over five minutes left in the first. Just four minutes later, a bouncing puck in the Philadelphia end found its way to Patrick Sharp who let fly with a slap-shot from the slot, beating Michael Leighton after the puck hit a few bodies on its way in and making the game 2-1 Flyers. An uneasy feeling came over the Wachovia Center. However, just 51 seconds later, the Flyers answered back. With only 37 seconds left in the first period, Scott Hartnell, Kimmo Timonen, and Claude Giroux played a little tick-tack-toe and Giroux completed the slam dunk to deposit the puck into the back of the net and give the Flyers a very important goal and very important 3-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
The second period was scoreless, but it certainly didn’t lack intensity. Up and down action followed, with three penalties being called on Chicago in the period, and one penalty being called on Philadelphia. The Blackhawks held control of the shot totals in the second, much like they did in the first. In the second frame, shots were 13-10 Chicago, and in the first, the ‘Hawks lead 11-8. Still, although the pressure was there from Chicago, Michael Leighton stood tall for the Flyers. Leighton wasn’t excellent in this game, but he made a few saves that we’re pretty incredible, and he got the win, so it’s important to give credit where it’s due. Antti Niemi, on the other hand, finally showed his true colors. Pucks at the net and pressure in front will expose true weaknesses of any goaltender, especially one that, as I said earlier, was just getting flat-out lucky in making saves. Don’t get me wrong, Niemi’s a strong netminder and the likelihood of the ‘Hawks being in the position their in without him is definitely in doubt, but pucks that he had no business stopping – let alone seeing – just seemed to hit him the first three games. Not so much last night.
In the third, the Flyers got an incredibly fortuitous bounce off Kris Versteeg’s back on a Ville Leino wrister to give them what appeared at the time to be an insurmountable 4-1 lead. The Blackhawks didn’t give up though, and thanks to two marginal calls on the Flyers with under ten minutes left, the ‘Hawks were awarded a 5 on 3 power play. It took them all of about 20 seconds before Dave Bolland made the score 4-2 in favor of Philadelphia. The Flyers fortunately were able to kill of the remaining part of the 5 on 4, but the ‘Hawks had taken over the game at that point. About four minutes later, a Brian Campbell wrister hit just about every player on the ice before trickling past Michael Leighton to make the game 4-3 and Flyers fans immediately started to get very nervous. The Flyers, however, withstood a remarkable onslaught from the Blackhawks in the final four and a half minutes, getting some big takeaways in the defensive zone accompanied by some huge saves from Leighton. The Flyers fortunes changed for the better when a rebound off a Patrick Sharp shot hopped over the stick of Duncan Keith at the ‘Hawks blue line, springing Jeff Carter loose on a breakaway at an empty net, as Chicago had pulled Niemi for the extra attacker. Carter scored his first goal of the series to make it 5-3 Flyers and seal the deal to even this series back up at two a piece.
Now, the pressure shifts back to Chicago, who will need to find a way to take Game Five at home. We all know the last thing any player on the Blackhawks wants to do is come back to Philadelphia with their season on the line. Let’s hope the Flyers can make that exactly the scenario tomorrow night.
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