"Hey, maybe this time we won't have condoms thrown at us"
For Philadelphia Flyers fans, the night could not have gone any better. Before the Flyers game even began, the #8 seed Montreal Canadiens were pouring it on Cindy Crosby and the Penguins, building a 4-0 lead at Mellon Arena. The Canadiens eventually won the game 5-2, meaning that the winner of the Flyers-Boston series would face Les Canadiens with home ice advantage in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Just a few short days ago, the Flyers had little chance of moving on. But, thanks to Michael Leighton and a strong team effort, the Flyers have forced a Game 7, which will take place in Boston Friday Night. Hang on to your seatbelts – the Flyers are on the verge of making history.
Mike Richards pounded home a loose puck in front of Tuukka Rask 6:58 into the game, giving the Flyers the early 1-0 lead. They wouldn't look back. Danny Briere slapped home an insurance goal on a 4-on-3 powerplay late in the second to give the Flyers a two-goal advantage. Things got dicey at the very end when Milan Lucic scored on a rebound through Leighton's five-hole with a minute left in the game, but the Flyers held on for the 2-1 victory.
Michael Leighton played memorably in place of the injured Brian Boucher. He stopped 30 of 31 shots in his first career playoff game, and in an elimination game to top it off. In addition, while most of the news was good inside the Wachovia Center tonight, Blair Betts suffered what appeared to be a shoulder injury late in the second period. Although he returned to the bench for the start of the third, he didn't play a shift for the remainder of the game. While his play often goes unnoticed, it's because he does his job and he does it well – by winning key faceoffs and killing penalties. The loss of Blair Betts would be another tough one, especially with penalty killers Ian Laperriere and Jeff Carter already on the mend.
Another cool moment in the game occured midway through the second, when the Wachovia Center crowd erupted for Brian Boucher being shown on the MegaTron (is that's what it's still called?). Honestly, I thought he was going to cry. What he lacks in natural talent, he makes up for with hard work - this guy really wants to play and he gives it all on the ice, despite the….let's say interesting goals he lets up sometimes. But seriously, props to Boucher and congratulations on a good playoff run. For the record, Boucher could miss 2-4 weeks with strained MCLs in both knees. Assuming the Flyers are still alive, I would be shocked if Boucher came back and replaced Leighton.
All aboard the comeback train. It's shipping up to Boston for Game 7, winner moves on.