The electricity that filled the entire Wachovia Center from the pre-game block party outside the arena, right up until the final buzzer and long into the night, was overwhelming. The Flyers had come all the way back from the dead against the Bruins, in what was thought to have been an overwhelming 3-0 deficit, to force a Game 7 Friday back at TD Garden in Boston.
This bunch of banged up, bruised and injured Flyers had shown incredible heart and resiliency all season long. Especially on the final day of the regular season just to get into the playoffs when they again overcame tremendous adversity by outlasting the Rangers in a shootout.
They were fierce and relentless in eliminating the second-seeded Devils in just five games in the opening round. But the Flyers would be dealt some major blows as the series played out, as they would lose three big pieces to their puzzle, forwards Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter and heart-and-soul player, Ian Laperriere.
Dealing with the loss of those three difference-making players, the Flyers would lose the first three games of this second-round series against the sixth-seeded Bruins. Gagne would return however, to score the huge momentum shifting overtime winner in Game 4, as the Flyers staved off elimination on home ice and found themselves not dead, but very much alive and back in the series.
Game 5 would deal another big blow to the Flyers, as starting goaltender Brian Boucher would severely injure both knees in the second period, while having his own defenseman, Ryan Parent, topple onto his lower body as he was sprawling back to keep a puck from entering his net. At the time, the Flyers lead was only 1-0.
Enter goaltender, Michael Leighton, a story in himself, who had not played since back in March. This would be Leighton's first-ever NHL playoff appearance. He would stop all 14 shots that came his way over the final 35 minutes and change. The Flyers would add three more goals and win going away 4-0.
The Flyers were even more alive now, as they climbed to within one game of tying things up. The series shifted back to Philly and the wildness of the orange crush fans inside Wachovia Center.
The Flyers would not disappoint the Philly faithful, winning 2-1. Leighton was huge again between the pipes in stopping 30 of 31 shots. The only goal would come off the stick of Boston's Milan Lucic with a minute to play in regulation off a scrum in front, with Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask pulled for the extra skater. The Flyers had overcome insurmountable odds in tying the series up at 3-3.
Whether the Flyers can become only the third team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 hole will be determined shortly. But one thing is certain, win or lose this Flyers team that is the model of the never say die attitude of the city it represents will be forever in the hearts of Philadelphia.