Flyers legend Bill Barber
knows a thing or two about big games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Barber, one of only three former Flyers players to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, had 53 goals and 108 points in 129 postseason games. He's also played in four Game 7s over his career, and boasts a 3-1 record in series-deciding contests.
The 57-year-old Barber, now a scouting consultant with Philadelphia, is looking forward to Game 7 Friday between the Flyers and the Bruins at TD Garden in Boston (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS). For Barber, these are the games that last a lifetime.
"It won't be a moment because that's the every-day stuff," Barber told NHL.com. "This will be a memory game. I don't think they're satisfied with just battling back and making a series out of this. They'd love to get this game and go on to the next series; then there would be four teams remaining and who knows from there. You could toss a coin what could happen, so hopefully the Flyers keep their game together in Boston and get themselves to the next level."
"The injuries they've been battling and their goaltending situation, the whole nine yards, it just seems when someone needs to step up, it's been there for them. So we'll see what happens in Game 7." -- Bill Barber on Flyers
Barber, who helped lead the Flyers to the franchise's two Stanley Cup titles in 1974 and '75, isn't at all surprised with the resiliency Philadelphia has shown in rallying from an 0-3 deficit to the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
"I'm not surprised at all, to be honest, if you look at the first three games of this series," he said. "I don't think the Flyers got many breaks. They worked hard and the games could have went either way and, unfortunately, it didn't go their way. Especially those first two games in Boston, I thought the Flyers deserved better. Maybe a split and come back home and go from there.
"The injuries they've been battling and their goaltending situation, the whole nine yards, it just seems when someone needs to step up, it's been there for them. So we'll see what happens in Game 7."
Much like his teams were able to overcome adverse situations in the 1970s, Barber credits preparation, good coaching and leadership for the current team's postseason success. He points to the season-ending shootout victory against the New York Rangers
, which enabled them to qualify for the postseason April 11, as the game that instilled the necessary confidence heading into the playoffs.
"I think the team grew up a lot this season when they were hanging there by a thread, right down to the last game against the New York Rangers
," Barber said. "They had to even figure out if they were going to be in the playoffs or not. And a game like that can really set the stage for the postseason and I think this was the case.
"I think playing the Rangers in a big game like that, and finding a way to win, just enabled them to move on from there. They proved a point with New Jersey (in the opening round) and making another stand here now (against the Bruins). Their biggest challenge is at present and this Game 7. That's the game that's the toughest to win, that's the game that puts a team out."
Barber, who captained the Flyers during the 1981-82 season and part of the 1982-83 campaign, feels current Flyers captain Mike Richards
has led by example this postseason.
"He's a young captain and he's making a statement as a captain and he's only going to get better," Barber said. "You get better with experience and you only know what you experience when it comes to the game and I think he's done a great job. There's always pressure here in Philly to win and I think he's handled it very well."
Richards leads the Flyers in assists (11) and points (16) in the playoffs, while logging 22:43 of ice time per game, which is tops among the team's forwards.
In addition to Richards, Barber also feels the presence of defenseman Chris Pronger
has provided a steady influence along the blue line.
"I think from a leadership and stability standpoint, his presence has been a major factor," Barber said. "I know we had some bumps in the road all year with the way the team had been and where they were in the standings. We had an interruption with the Olympics and our No. 1 goalie went down -- it's been endless, but it's just made the team stronger. Good teams find ways to win no matter what is thrown in front of them and I think they grew up a lot in the last month."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale