The Philadelphia Flyers got off to a bad start in this year’s NHL Eastern Conference semifinals. They found themselves down 3-0 and one loss away from not reaching their goal of winning the 2010 Stanley Cup. After collecting three straight wins to even the series, they needed just one victory to secure an unbelievable comeback to win the series.
Once again on Friday, they were looking at another 3-0 deficit against the Boston Bruins in Game 7. But Simon Gagne scored on a power play with just 7:08 remaining to seal another comeback and give the Flyers a 4-3 win and a trip to the Eastern Conference finals.
The Flyers took advantage of a too-many-men-on-the ice call to set up the winning power play goal. The Philadelphia players on the bench began slapping their sticks against the boards when they realized that Boston had an extra player. Bruins head coach Claude Julien realizes that this mistake was not the reason they lost the series.
“The bottom line is we had a 3-0 lead in the series, we had a 3-0 lead tonight, and we blew them both,” Julien said. “We have to take the responsibility that goes with it. Everyone.”
Boston got off to a great start and took an early 3-0 lead in the first period. Then the Flyers began their surge. James van Riemsdyk scored Philadelphia’s first goal late in the first period. Scott Hartnell would then bring the Flyers within one on his goal just 2:49 into the second. Danny Briere scored the tying goal a little under six minutes later and Gagne’s goal on the Philadelphia error would be all they needed. Gagne felt that Philadelphia might have let their nerves get the best of them as they saw their lead go away.
“Sometimes you’re nervous and you make mistakes,” he said. “Then they had too many men on the ice and that might be our chance to win the game and we did.”
The Bruins became the third team to overcome a three-goal deficit in a Game 7 and the first to do it in regulation. Now, they will meet the Montreal Canadiens in the conference finals on Sunday night, marking the first time that a 7 and 8 seed have met in the conference finals.
The Canadiens and Flyers both have their odds set at 9/2 according to NHL sportsbooks to win the 2009/2010 Stanley Cup. Hartnell feels his team has a great shot to make good things happen throughout the rest of the playoffs..