If the Philadelphia Flyers win two of their next five playoff games, they will go to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1997. They haven’t won a cup since 1975. This most improbable run or should I say impossible run started on the last day of the season. On Sunday, April 11, 2010, the Flyers and New York Rangers were tied for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Flyers had to win outright in order to qualify. Both teams played to a 1-1 regulation tie. No one scored in overtime. The Flyers won the game on a shoot out. With that the Flyers jumped past Montreal to land the number seven seed.
Philly’s first round opponent was the third seeded New Jersey Devils. The Flyers upset them and dispatched them in five games. Their next opponent was the number five seed Boston Bruins who beat #3 Buffalo. The Bruins built an insurmountable 3-0 game lead. And it looked like Boston would wrap things up in Philly when they tied the game with seconds remaining. The Flyers won game four in OT. They also won games five, and six.
Now tied at 3-3, game seven would be played in Boston. The Bruins quickly built a 3-0 lead before the first period ended. Philly rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win game seven 4-3. They overcame a 3-0 game deficit, and then on enemy ice overcame a 3-0 deficit. They did the imposable.
Next came the Montreal Canadians who have also been riding a Cinderella type playoff ride of their own. They were the first eight seeded team to come from a 3-1 deficit and beat #1 Washington. In fact Washington had the best record in the NHL. They beat the 2009 – 2010 seasons’ best team. They then rallied from a 3-2 game deficit to knock off last year’s Stanley Cup Champs the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Now these two Cinderella teams face each other for the Eastern Conference Title. It is the first time that the #7 and #8 seeded teams met in the conference title. Who will represent the east to play either Chicago or San Jose? Right now Philadelphia has a two game to nothing lead. In fact Philly hasn’t given up a goal since the first period in the Boston game last Friday. They have outscored their opponent 13-0 since the first period of that game. Quite frankly I won’t count Montreal out just yet. After all they were down 3-1 and 3-2 in the last two rounds. 2-0 is right in their comfort zone.
It’s too early to say who will represent the Western Conference as well (Chicago 2-0). Whoever it is, they will have their hands full in the finals.