Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Flyers making history

I don't blog about the orange-and-black much, (ok, I don't blog much period) but what they've done so far this postseason is definitely worthy of comment.

First, they needed to win the last game of the season to even squeak into the playoffs. They couldn't win in regulation, or in overtime, so their whole season came down to a shootout. Historically awful in shootouts, with a 15-27 record at the time, they managed to pull out a win. They finished tied with Montreal, and by virtue of a tiebreaker, got the seventh seed.

After beating up the listless Devils in the first round, they had the fortune of playing the sixth seed Bruins next. Having lost their top two scorers and best penalty-killing forward in the first series, my expectations were as low as possible for the second round. Three games in, the Flyers seemed to be playing to my expectations. Then suddenly they found their game again, and became only the third team in NHL history, and the first since 1975, to win a series after falling behind 3-0. The seventh game itself was a microcosm of the series, with the Bruins grabbing a 3-0 lead in the first period, only to watch the Flyers come back and beat them 4-3.

Then it was on to Montreal - the eigth seed - who had just beaten the #1 seed (Capitals) and last year's champs (Pittsburgh) after falling behind 3-1 in both series. This was the first-ever matchup in the playoffs between the #7 and #8 seeds. After two games, they've outscored the Habs 9-0. They've tallied a franchise-record 13 straight goals, and Michael Leighton, picked up off waivers earlier in the year, became only the second Flyers goalie to post back-to-back playoff shutouts.

I'm not counting out the Canadiens yet, you'd have to be a fool to count them out after two comebacks from down 3-1, but the Flyers are only two games away from the Stanley Cup Finals. They are 16-0 when taking a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven while you can't write them in yet, I do like their chances.

From a shootout victory on the last day of the season, to a likely berth in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Flyers have already made history. Even if they lose the next four and go home, they've already accomplished something we're unlikely to see again for a generation.


At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good observations, Sweet Tea. This has truly been a special (if not thoroughly improbable ) run through the playoff so far.

In addition to getting the job done by squeaking in to the playoffs, the Flyboys also had to overcome very negative fan sentiment in addition to their late season opponents. I recall watching Philadelphia Daily News Live coming down the stretch of the season and I've never seen panelists or fans more negative toward that team. This team could just as easily be in the middle of disbanding/rebuilding and dealing it's stars instead of heading to Montreal up 2-0. Funny how fast things turn.

If I might add one correction to your analysis, Montreal only came back from a 3-1 deficit against the Caps. They traded wins and losses with the Pens and melted the Igloo by taking game 7 in convincing fashion. Nonetheless, this is a great thing the Flyers are doing, enjoy the magic to the fullest, the team started getting healthy at the right time and their goltending has been molten. They've not surrendered a goal in 8 periods and their D is solid. Everyone is playing with hustle and they means pucks tend to bounce your way.

I'd not be at all surprised if they end up playing for Lord Stanley's Cup. Winning it will be a different challenge though, as both the Sharks and 'Hawks appear to be tough customers!


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