Flyers

Flyers

In the spring of 1997, Eric Lindros and company were steamrolled. Swept by the Detroit Red Wings for the first of three Stanley Cup titles in six years for the Motor City.

Fast-forward 13 years. The Flyers are back in the Final facing the same fate after losing the first two games in Chicago.

This Flyers team already completed one of the most improbable comebacks the NHL had ever seen. Down 3-0 to the Bruins in the series and then in Game 7, it shocked the world. The odds of this team completing the historic feat twice in the span of a month? Not great. That made Game 3 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final so important. If the Flyers are going to win the Cup, they have to win this game.

The night featured everything you love about playoff hockey. A game associated with the bitterness of winter played on a warm evening in June. The arena maxed out with 20,000 people wearing orange, holding their breath with every scoring chance, every save, then erupting in unison when the goal horn ripped through your eardrums.

Sixty minutes would not be enough. Five minutes into overtime the fans jumped to their feet, releasing a burst of energy that could be felt down Broad Street. It would turn out to be a practice run for the euphoria to come. Replays of the puck behind goaltender Corey Crawford, sliding perfectly along the goal line, confirmed our worst fears. It’s not over.

The swing of emotions is what makes overtime playoff hockey so unique. The suddenness of it all is unmatched. Which is why none of us were expecting, less than one minute later, the building would shake. No need for a review. No need to regain our composure. Claude Giroux had won Game 3.

 

It was one of those moments when strangers were now family. Section 212 became my new neighborhood. I looked around to take in the moment, seeing smiles from ear to ear and even a few jubilant tears.

One week later, tears of a different kind were shed after Patrick Kane celebrated by himself on the same sheet of ice. Another Final loss jump-started another dynasty with the Blackhawks claiming three Cups in six years. The hurt of that series loss was equaled only by the exhilaration of Game 3 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. The best game I ever saw live.



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