OK, show of hands here… when the playoffs began a month ago, who here predicted a Philly-Montreal matchup in the eastern finals?
put down your hand down Smoothie
Well, that’s exactly what we have isn’t it…and Whodda-thunkit?
The Philadelphia Flyers trailed three games to zero in the series and roared back to force a game-seven. They then trailed 3-0 in Friday night’s deciding game…and roared back to win the game and the series 4-3. The difference was a very sloppy too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty at the 11:10 mark of the third period that lead to Simone Gange’s game-winner with just 18 seconds remaining in the man advantage.
The Flyers now join the 1975 New York Islanders and the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs as the only teams that have overcome an Oh-three playoff series hole to win four straight games.
For Bruins fans, this has to sting tremendously. Their team had seemingly righted their ship after seeing their three-games advantage whittled away by taking a 3-0 lead with just over 14 minutes elapsed in the first period… two of those goals of the power play variety. But the Flyers chipped away at the lead…just as they had in this series.
James van Riemsdyk scored what would turn out to be a very important goal with just under three minutes left in the opening period to get his team back to within a pair. It was van Riemsdyk’s first goal of this post-season.
Scott Hartnell’s second playoff goal this spring got it to 3-2 at the beginning of the second and then Danny Briere’s wrap-around tied the score at the 8:39 mark of the middle stanza.
The Flyers defense held the Bruins to just 11 shots on goal in the final two periods.
This historical comeback sets the stage for another bit of history. For the first time in the NHL playoffs a seventh-seeded team will face off against an eighth-seed in the conference finals. Philly will have the home ice advantage in the series… but so far in the playoffs, it really hasn’t turned out really to be any “advantage”. All four game-sevens have seen the away team eliminate the home side.
Who wins the Eastern Conference Finals?
Total Voters: 65
In complete contrast, the with Western Conference Finals has the top two seeded teams squaring off…with the San Jose Sharks holding that home ice “advantage” over the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Canadiens and Flyers split the four games they played this past season. On December 7 the Canadiens won 3-1 in Montreal…then just prior to the Olympic break, they played back-to-back games with the Flyers winning 3-2 at home and then going to Montreal to spank the Canadiens 6-2…finally, on April 2 the Habs blanked Philly 1-0 in Philadelphia.
The way things have gone so far in the playoffs, nothing would surprise me in regards to who wins the two remaining series. But for the record, I have the Habs and Blackhawks winning in seven games.
Yes, that’s right…that would mean two more away teams knocking off the home squads in a seventh and deciding game.
Nasty Nester AAHL Team in Finals
If you find yourself in or around the Alpharetta area Saturday night and have been jonesin’ for a little live hockey action…maybe you should poke your head in the door of the Cooler Ice Rick located off on Mansell Road. The Lower A ‘Badgers’ will be participating in the AAHL championship game…a team made up by a number of my Nasty Nest friends, including former Thrashers Seventh Fan award winner Sally Cersosimo.
I was contacted this week by “Monkey” who tells me, “There are currently 4 teams at various levels in the AAHL that have roots from the Nasty Nest. From what I understand, we are the first “Nest Team” that could win a championship in the three years that we have all been involved”.
Game time is 8:15 pm and should be a good time.
Hey…ya think maybe we in the crowd can get a good ‘ol “goalie chant” going?