The Philadelphia Flyers made NHL history Friday night by becoming only the third team to complete the comeback from a 3-0 series deficit -- and they did it the hard way.
Not only did the Flyers have to rally from a three-game deficit in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, they had to overcome a 3-0 deficit in Game 7 -- and they did, rallying from three goals down to beat the Boston Bruins 4-3.
The victory put the Flyers into a pretty exclusive club -- only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders as had won a series after falling behind 3-0. The '42 Leafs lost the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final to Detroit, then won the next four. The '75 Islanders lost the first three games of their quarterfinal series to Pittsburgh, then rallied to win the next four -- including a 1-0 road win in Game 7.
Only two teams had ever overcome a three-goal deficit in a Game 7. Washington trailed Philadelphia by three goals in the deciding game of their 1988 opening-round series and came back to win 5-4 in overtime. Three years later, Edmonton also overcame a three-goal deficit in the finale of its opening-round series against Calgary and won 5-4 in OT.
It's also the third consecutive year that the Bruins have ended their season by losing a Game 7, the last two at home. They were beaten by Carolina in overtime in the second round last year and by Montreal in the opening round in 2008.
The loss marked the third time in Bruins' history that they've lost a playoff game after leading by three or more goals. They led Montreal 5-1 in Game 2 of the 1971 quarterfinals and lost 7-5, and 5-2 in Game 4 of the first round against Buffalo in 1993, only to lose 6-5 in overtime to complete a sweep.
It's also the first time the Bruins have ever lost a series when leading 3-0. Boston had been 16-0 after winning the first three games.
Before this year, those '75 Islanders were also the last team to get as far as Game 7 after losing the first three games of a series. After rallying past Pittsburgh, they nearly did the same thing against Philadelphia before losing 4-1 in Game 7 at the Spectrum.
Thirty years earlier, the 1945 Detroit Red Wings rallied from a 3-0 deficit against Toronto in the Final to even the series -- only to lose 2-1 at home in Game 7. Boston blew a 3-0 series lead against the New York Rangers in 1939, then had to go into a third overtime before escaping with a 2-1 win in Game 7.