Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Magical comeback for Flyers far from surprising

Image (1) Flyers7-thumb-200x300-11544.jpg for post 1613

As 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.

Yet 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.

The 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.

Down 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.