-- It appeared as though the stars were finally beginning to align for the Philadelphia Flyers
on Wednesday in Game 3 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Boston Bruins
The 19,688 energetic souls at Wachovia Center were raring to go following yet another rousing rendition of "God Bless America." Arron Asham
ratcheted the noise level even higher when he scored the opening goal just 2:32 into the game. It marked the first time in the series that Philadelphia actually held a lead.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, the lead didn't last long. goals by Blake Wheeler
at 4:11 and Miroslav Satan
at 5:45 put them behind again, and despite outplaying the Bruins, they couldn't beat Tuukka Rask
again in a 4-1 loss that left them one game away from being swept.
had another active outing for the Flyers, putting four shots on Rask while earning 23:12 of ice time on 29 shifts.
"They responded really well (after falling behind) and they came back with two quick goals and that hurt us," said Giroux, who set up Asham's goal on a 2-on-1 break. "I don't think we played a bad game but we have to put this behind us. They are playing well, but we're not playing bad either. This series isn't close to being over."
The Flyers have the unenviable task of accomplishing a feat only two other teams in League history have done -- rally from an 0-3 deficit in a best-of-7 series. The Toronto Maple Leafs
did it against the Detroit Red Wings
in 1942 and the New York Islanders
equaled the feat in '75 against the Pittsburgh Penguins
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette
felt giving up the lead moments after grabbing one was a tough spot to be in after his team's strong start.
"We came out in that game, and I thought we were just storming," Laviolette said. "I mean, our strides were strong everywhere and you look at the scoreboard and eight minutes in we were down 2-1. Now we're chasing that lead again. And that lead is important because it puts a different role on the bench. Especially when the bench is a little shorter with your skilled players -- so you're trying to find combinations and put things out there to maybe give us an opportunity to tie things up."
Flyers goalie Brian Boucher
felt the team played well the first two periods, but a few unlucky bounces early in the third period were costly.
"I thought the first two periods were pretty good," Boucher said. "I know we were down 2-1; it happens. We're getting chances, and then in the third, they get a real lucky break. The shot's going five feet wide, hits Prongs (Chris Pronger
) and ends up on (Mark) Recchi's stick on the other side.
"That's the way it goes sometimes," Boucher continued. "It's highly disappointing. We really needed this game, and now we've got a big hole. Now it starts. We've got to try and get Game 4 and just take one at a time."
Recchi wound up putting the deflected puck into a wide-open net for a power-play goal at 2:30 of the final period for a 3-1 lead.
Flyers forward Danny Briere
, who took four shots in 19:49 of work, was puzzled by the quick turnaround in the opening six minutes of the contest.
"To be honest, I don't know what happened," Briere said. "In a span of, what? I don't even know how quick it was but we were down again. I can't explain it and that's where we've gotten into trouble in this series. We haven't had the chance to play with the lead.
"And when we finally get one early on (on Wednesday), we gave it right back up. Against a team like Boston … it's like New Jersey. They are a team that shuts everything down once they get the lead. Whenever we played with a lead against Jersey, we had them on their heels, forced them to take chances. We haven't done that with Boston yet and that's kind of the problem."
In contrast, Boston coach Claude Julien
was ecstatic with the way his team responded after allowing the first goal of the game for the first time in this series.
"I really liked the way we responded because they got the early momentum there and got the crowd behind them right away," Julien said. "For us to come right back and score and quiet everything down again was huge, and to shortly after take the lead -- I thought our guys battled hard through a tough first period."
Contact Mike Morreale at email@example.com