Keeping the Faith Amid a Sea of Doubt

Photo: CBS Sports

With the hockey world buzzing about the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff standings and matchup predictions, it’s easy to listen to those who have already counted out the Flyers.
Is the Flyers’ current playoff outlook bad? Yeah.
But is it impossible?
For the past several weeks, hockey analysts have been questioning the Flyers’ ability to get into the playoffs this season. Now, it seems, they have completely counted them out.
But the 2018-19 Flyers are the comeback kids, right?
Do these Doubting Thomases already forget the Feb. 23 Stadium Series comeback victory?
What about the Jan. 16 comeback win again the Boston Bruins?
Or the game Dec. 8 when the 12-12-3 Flyers were down 2-1 in the first period against the 17-9-4 Buffalo Sabres? They scored five goals in the second and third periods for the 6-2 comeback win.
For those skeptics, here’s some of the top Flyers comebacks of the last couple decades to remind them to never count out this club:

3: The 2009-10 Flyers saw Head Coach John Stevens fired in early December (sound familiar?) and replaced with Peter Laviolette.
Injuries to the team included Simon Gagne, who was out for two months; Blair Betts, who was out for a month-and-a-half; and Ray Emery, who sat for two months with an abdominal tear, which he re-injured not long after he returned, ending his season.
That same year, the Flyers saw five different goalies in net for them (also a scenerio familiar to this organization).
The deciding factors on the Flyers making the playoffs came down to the final two games of the season: A home-and-home series against the New York Rangers, who would themselves enter the playoff run if they won both games.
The Rangers won the first game at Madison Square Garden, creating a scenerio in which the team who won the second game at Wachovia Center made the playoffs.
With the game tied 1-1 after three periods, the game went to a shootout and it was current Flyers captain Claude Giroux who got his shot past Ranger goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
Flyers netminder Brian Boucher secured the team’s playoff spot when he came up with the big save against the Rangers’ final shooter.

Photo: Bob Fina / Inside Hockey

2: On May 4, 2000, it took the Flyers five overtimes to defeat the Pens in Game 4 of the second round of the 1999-2000 playoffs at Mellon Arena. Many fans had long left the game; some who stayed fell asleep. The radio announcers were begging pizza delivery drivers in the area to bring food to the arena because the concession stands had long been closed down. Then Keith Primeau scored to end the game.
The Flyers, who had been down 2-0 in the series against the Pens, came back to win in six games after that game. Pens goalie Ron Tugnutt had more than 70 saves that night, but the Flyers didn’t give up until they scored.

Photo: NBC Sports

1: In the second round of the aforementioned 2009-10 playoffs against the Bruins, the Flyers pulled off their biggest comeback in franchise history in Game 7. This comeback is in the history books, so how can it not be Number 1?
Down 0-3 in the series, the Flyers won Game 4 in overtime when Gagne scored in his return from yet another injury, this one suffered in the first round against the New Jersey Devils. The Flyers shut out the Bruins 4-0 in Game 5 and won Game 6 2-1.
While down 0-3 in Game 7, they fought back and won the game 4-3 — again on a goal from Gagne. Only three other professional sports teams have won a playoff series after being down 0-3: the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders and the 2004 Boston Red Sox.
Honorable mention: It’s worth noting the comeback season the Flyers had in 2007-08 when they bounced back from the previous season which, let’s face it, was a disaster.
The season started bad: It was a mere eight games in when Head Coach Ken Hitchcock was fired. It stayed bad: There was team captain Peter Forsberg’s constant foot issues. And it ended bad: The Flyers’ final record was 22-48-12.
For the first time in franchise history, the Flyers finished with the worst record in the league.
It didn’t seem like there was much hope for the team, but their comeback came the following season when they made the playoffs, blew through the Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens and made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Even though they eventually fell to the Penguins in the finals, the 2007-08 Flyers had come a long way from that team they were the year before.

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