Regulation had just ended for the Flyers and Canadiens — and just like that, Philadelphia had come out on top with a win on the night and the series. For the first time in eight years, they were advancing to the second round and Flyers fans were the very first to celebrate.
Well, not exactly.
It’s a tale as old as time with sports, the classic series wrap-up handshake line. Normally, following that final horn, this line is the first time the teams interact following the game. Well, Flyers’ forward Derek Grant had another plan — one that had to be brewing since Game 5.
Let’s flash back to the dreaded loss from Wednesday night. (Actually, now it doesn’t seem too bad, right?) Just past the midway point of the game, things were all tied up at two goals a piece, but that quickly changed against the Flyers favor when Joel Armia gave the Canadiens the lead.
It wasn’t even the goal that brought pure frustration, but rather what happened in the following moments. Nick Suzuki gave Carter Hart a little pat on the head. On the ice or watching from home, everyone saw it — and not a single person liked it — even Suzuki realized what he had done following the game.
“Nothing personal, just a reaction by me,” Suzuki said following Wednesday’s Game 5. “I saw it in the replays, I was just thinking I probably shouldn’t do that, but it happened. I wasn’t trying to be unsportsmanlike, he’s a really good goalie.”
Either way, it still didn’t sit well.
And now we’re back to immediately following Friday night’s game and Grant. The Canadiens had one final push in the winding 10 seconds and as soon as the Flyers were able to let down their guard, that’s when Grant made his move.
Right in front of Hart — Grant placed a little head pat on Suzuki’s head. A win already felt good, but this was truly the icing on the cake.
So, Grant found a great way to kick off the celebration.
The Flyers got the last pat, the last win in the series and the last laugh.
Well, actually, let’s say NBC Sports Philadelphia’s very own Bill Clement got the last laugh, according to the video at least.