There is a Tweet making the rounds today, asking for a Philly sports photo that you will never forget. For me, there are two, and they are at opposite ends of the spectrum emotionally. One is the image of Pelle’s mangled Porsche; the other is the image of the celebration of Simon Gagne’s eventual game winning goal in Game 7 of the Flyers 0-3 comeback against the Bruins in 2010. Since I have recently launched my own comeback and written about Pelle often, I am going to focus on the comeback story today.
While the story doesn’t have the happy ending that I would have loved, the story of the Flyers 2010 Playoffs is still unforgettable. The team made the playoffs on the last day of the season, in a shootout win versus the New York Rangers. Yes, a shootout win versus The King himself. Brian Boucher’s dance of joy after stopping Olli Jokinen to secure the win, and playoff spot, is right there on my list of unforgettable photos, but we are talking about a comeback today, so focus please. Ok, watch the below video for tons of unforgettable images…Briere’s nasty moves, the introduction of Claude Giroux’s sexy in the form of the shoot out winner and all the way to the end for Boucher’s dance of joy.
The season itself was a study in opposites; the Flyers fired John Stevens in December and brought in Peter Laviolette. Stevens was everyones drinking buddy, while Lavi demanded complete dedication to the game. The switch in coaches was not a complete success at first, as the Flyers won only two of Laviolette’s first 10 games as coach. The team itself was a study in contrasts; stars like Chris Pronger and Danny Briere side by side with journeyman players like Blair Betts and Ville Leino. Betts was actually part of the inspiration for an uber popular song in the Philly area that blared from all my devices that year, “Briere, Betts and Pronger” . Enjoy some more unforgettable images courtesy sHerbs and the official music video.
Injuries and a goalie crisis plagued the Flyers throughout the entire season and playoffs. The aforementioned Betts and Briere missed large chunks of playing time, along with Jeff Carter, Gagne and Kimmo Timonen. These struggles led to the last day of the season dramatics, but the Flyers delivered, and off to the Big Dance we went. The first round victory against the Devils was sweet, but costly, especially for Ian Laperriere. The injury he suffered in Game 5 of the series would eventually cost him his career. The Flyers would also lose Carter and Gagne in that series; Carter to a broken foot and Gagne to a broken toe. The unforgettable image from this series? Carbomb’s OT goal in Game Three.
Gagne would come back in the second round, and would score the game winning goal in overtime, in Game 4 of the series, the beginning of the comeback. Game 5 saw the Bruins have their second chance to finish the Flyers, but the boys in Orange and Black were not going away easily. The Flyers, who had suffered from a serious lack of goalie confidence, shut the Bruins out 4-0 in Game 5. Brian Boucher was injured in that game, and Michael Leighton, who Laviolette had coached previously, would take the net minding reigns for the remainder of the series. Danny Briere, Mr. Playoffs himself would score the game winner in Game 6, a Flyers 2-1 win in Philadelphia, setting a National Stage for Game 7 in Boston.
I don’t need any stat sheets to tell the story of Game 7, I remember it like it was yesterday. The Bruins scored early and often in the first period; two power play goals on bad penalties taken by Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere. Milan Lucic, who scored the second power play goal would add an even strength goal to see the Bruins up 3-0 about 15 minutes into game. I can just remember thinking….is this it? Is this over? No….I. STILL. BELIEVE.
And then, another unforgettable image….The Time Out. Laviolette was well known for using his time outs well, and never was there a better time. That group of Flyers hung on his every word. According to player accounts of that time out, Lavi asked Leighton if he could make some tough saves, because the boys were going to score some goals. And boy, did they score some goals. James van Reimsdyk scored at 17:12 of the first to cut the Bruins lead to 3-1, and after that, it was all Flyers.
Image courtesy Angel Alamo
The line of Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell and Ville Leino, dubbed The Redemption Line, would dominate the second period, scoring two goals that would tie it up. Briere’s goal was stunning; he was not being denied that game tying goal. The once raucous Bruins crowd was now notably spooked as the second period ended. The rally towels were now being used to wipe sweat from the foreheads of nervous fans.
The game looked to be destined for overtime until a too many men on the ice gave the Flyers a much needed Power Play, and Simon Gagne sealed the deal. I have always been a stand and scream at the television kind of fan, and I am pretty sure that my neighbors were ready to call the police to see if felonies were taking place in my home that night. My Facebook status after that win was simply one word: HISTORY. I had witnessed history; the Flyers were only the third team in the NHL to come back from an 0-3 series deficit. So many unforgettable images, enjoy.
Again, the 2010 playoffs didn’t end the way Flyers fans wanted, but man, what a ride it was. My comeback? A little more Kenny Chesney than Flyers right now, but watch me.
I took my nots and I added a y,
I took the u out of Hugh and I added an I…
I bet you can guess what I did next…
I took my bitchin’ lyin’ lover and I ADDED AN X.
Kenny Chesney, Bucket
Feature Image Credit: CBS Sports