By Brandon Murphy (@2Murphy8)
May 14 marked the seven-year anniversary of the Philadelphia Flyers’ historic comeback against the Boston Bruins in the 2010 Playoffs. The Flyers made the playoffs in the final game of the regular season after beating their rivals, the New-York Rangers, in the dreaded shootout.
After breezing through the New Jersey Devils in five games, the Flyers were matched up against the Boston Bruins. The Bruins were coming off a 4-2 series win against the Buffalo Sabres and were still the favorites despite finishing only one spot ahead of the Flyers in the Eastern Conference standings.
In Game 1, the Flyers rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the third period thanks to Danny Brière and captain Mike Richards. But with just over six minutes to play in overtime, Marc Savard rifled home a slapshot from the right circle that beat Brian Boucher high glove.
Game 2 wasn’t any different. The Flyers were playing from behind all game once again. Goaltenders Boucher and Tuukka Rask were both relatively sharp, but Milan Lucic managed to sneak one by Boucher late in the third period to seal it for the Bruins.
Game 3 is where it all changed.
While the Flyers did take a beating on the scoreboard in Game 3 and fell to 3-0 in the series, captain Mike Richards stepped up in the first period by delivering a big open-ice hit on David Krejci. The hit broke Krejci’s wrist and knocked him out of the series. Krejci was the Bruins second line center and was tied with Patrice Bergeron for the team lead in points with 52. That injury led Savard, who had missed significant time due to a concussion caused by a Matt Cooke hit, to increased minutes for the rest of the series. Needless to say, the hit was a series changer for the Orange & Black.
Game 4 came along and so did Simon Gagné.
The Flyers were 32 seconds away from securing a win in Game 4, but Mark Recchi scored to tie the game.
One goal away from elimination.
At 14:40 of the overtime period, Richards broke into the zone perfectly and found Carle streaking into the slot, who sent a perfect pass for Gagné to redirect. Gagné made the Wachovia Center explode by redirecting the pass through Tuukka Rask to give the Flyers the win. Just like that, it was 3-1.
Game 5 was all Philadelphia at TD Garden. The Flyers trounced the Bruins 4-0 on home ice and Gagné, again, was a key contributor thanks to his two goals. Ville Leino opened the scoring with his second goal and Scott Hartnell scored his first of the playoffs later. However, early in the second frame, Boucher fell awkwardly and suffered an MCL sprain that would keep him out for the next month. Michael Leighton came in relief to wrap up a 4-0 shutout by making 14 saves.
The Flyers had momentum going into Game 6. This was the pivotal game that could really make the Bruins sweat. Losing Boucher was difficult, but Leighton gave the Flyers confidence, as he completed the shutout in Game 5 and turned away 30 shots in Game 6 to secure a 2-1 win and send the series to seven games. Captain Mike Richards scored the first goal of the game 6:58 into the first period and Brière added to the lead in the second period. Lucic added a goal with one minute left to play but it wasn’t enough.
Here it was: Game 7.
One of the most improbable events in sports history was about to happen at the TD Garden. But obviously, the Flyers had to play the game first.
And they weren’t doing a very good job. The Bruins jumped to a three-goal lead less than 15 minutes into the first period thanks to Lucic and Michael Ryder, forcing Flyer coach Peter Laviolette to use his timeout and settle down his troops.
With 2:48 to go in the first, James van Riemsdyk scored his first career playoff goal after some great forechecking by Mike Richards, to cut the Bruins lead. It was a very opportune time for the youngster to step up.
Early into the second period, Hartnell scored to bring the game a little closer. Brière and Leino did some great work on the forecheck to force the puck out front, where Hartnell finished it. Now 3-2, the Bruins were feeling the pressure.
About six minutes later, Brière took a feed from Hartnell and made his way into the zone, around the net and put home a wraparound to tie the game 3-3.
The Flyers, once again, crawled their way back from a 3-0 deficit. It was anyone’s game now.
The teams traded chances. A scramble play in the Bruins crease eventually led to the puck crossing the goal line and a controversial no-goal call cancelled it out. Moments later, defenseman Chris Pronger’s shot was redirected by Brière and hit the post. A few minutes after that, Lucic came down the ice and hit the post. The game was not for the faint-hearted.
Later in the period, the Flyers went on the power play after the Bruins took a Too Many Men on the ice penalty. The opportunity presented itself and the Flyers capitalized.
Gagné took the puck in the left circle, fed it down to Leino who gave it to Richards.
Richards received the pass on the half-wall and flung a shot towards the net. The shot was blocked and fell right onto Gagné’s stick, who roofed it over Rask to give the Flyers a 4-3 lead.
Simon Gagné, the man who started the comeback in Game 4, finished it off in Game 7.
As the final seconds of the third period started to tick off the clock, trash started to rain down onto the ice and in the Flyers bench, but it didn’t matter, because history was made.
The Flyers became the third team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit and win, joinig the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New-York Islanders.