Comeback hopes fall short for feisty Flyers

In
a season in which they seemingly mastered the art of the comeback, the
Philadelphia Flyers are dealing with falling one rally short.

The
Chicago Blackhawks put a sudden end to the Flyers’ unlikely playoff run in
overtime of game six for their first Stanley Cup title since 1961. Meanwhile it
will be 35 years and counting for the Flyers in their pursuit of a third
championship in franchise history.

The
Flyers’ stirring post-season run started weeks ago, on the last day of the
regular season, when a shootout win secured the seventh seed in the Eastern
Conference. They became the third team in NHL history to win a series after
losing the first three games, eliminating Boston in the Eastern Conference
semi-finals. Philadelphia rallied to even the Stanley Cup finals at 2-all after
losing the first two games at Chicago. For players like forward Danny Briere losing
out on a title is tough.

“We
just believed it was the way it was supposed to go,” Briere said. “We just
thought we were meant to go back to Chicago. I was like, no, that can’t be it.
You can’t win the Stanley Cup on not even being sure if you won it or not. I
can’t believe they’d win a Stanley Cup this way. It doesn’t change how much it
hurts.”

Ultimately
the Flyers will be remembered for a remarkable run where they played through
stretches without stars Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne and Brian Boucher (the goalie
who got Philly through most of the late-season dramatics). Boucher’s injury
opened the door for Leighton who in the Eastern Conference finals became the
first Flyers goalie with three shutouts in a postseason series.

Ultimately
Philadelphia is primed to make changes in the off-season. Time will tell if
they make enough smart moves (like adding Chris Pronger) to make the finals
next season.