Could these playoffs get any crazier? While the 8th seeded Montreal Canadiens were upsetting the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Flyers moved within one win of completing just the 3rd comeback from a 3-0 series deficit in NHL history with a 2-1 win over the Bruins at home on Wednesday. Michael Leighton made 30 saves and played 59 minutes of shutout hockey to keep the Bruins at bay, and Mike Richards and Danny Briere both beat Tuuka Rask as Philly won their 3rd straight game after losing 3 in a row to Boston to start the series.
No team since the ‘75 Islanders has even been able to force a Game 7 after falling behind 3-0, but the Flyers again dominated play and the Bruins’ offense suddenly looks like a bad peewee team. If it wasn’t for big Milan Lucic spoiling the shutout in the last minute of play, the Bruins would have been shutout for the 2nd straight game. As it was, they still went for more than 120 minutes of play without a goal, as they failed to score in overtime of Game 4, all 3 periods of Game 5 and the first 2 of this one. >
Captain Mike Richards opened the scoring early in the first, as a loose puck squirted out of a scrum in front of Rask and right on to his stick and he buried it in the open net to put Philly up 1-0. Danny Briere’s powerplay goal in the 2nd came as a result of another failed Boston clearing attempt, and after making a great pass down low to Richards, he cut across the slot and got the puck right back before ripping it home under the crossbar.
Briere had a couple more chances including a breakaway that Rask saved, and Ville Leino had a golden opportunity to put Philly up 3-0 in the 3rd when he was awarded a penalty shot, but Rask made a beauty of a glove save to keep the Bruins within 2 goals. The Bruins had a few quality scoring chances of their own, none more so than Trent Whitfield’s breakaway in the first that Leighton stopped. Patrice Bergeron also hit the post late in the 3rd period.
Game 7 will be on Friday night at the TD Garden in Boston, and you can bet the Boston faithful will be out in full force. Leighton has shown no real bad side effects from his long layoff, and he should continue to get better as he plays more and gets back up to game speed. If he can continue to make the saves he has been so far, and Philly continues to dominate play like they have, we could see a bit of NHL history here on Friday night.