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Flyers try to complete historic comeback vs. Bruins

by Mike G. Morreale /


(Best-of-7 series tied 3-3)

Big Story -- History will be made … one way or the other. Either the Flyers will become the first team since the 1975 New York Islanders (and the third overall) to win a series after losing the first three games … or the Bruins will become the first team since the '75 Flyers to win a Game 7 after losing Games 4, 5 and 6. After the Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 series lead, the Flyers have stormed back and evened the series Wednesday night with a 2-1 victory at home. As you might expect, there isn't a whole lot that separates these clubs -- four of the six games have been decided by one goal, two have gone to overtime and the Flyers hold a 189-184 shot advantage and an 18-17 edge in goals scored.

Team Scope

Flyers -- Goalie Michael Leighton made his first career start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and finished with 30 saves to lead Philadelphia to a Game 6 victory and a date with the Bruins in Game 7. Mike Richards and Danny Briere scored goals in the first and second periods, respectively, and Leighton made the lead stand up. He made nine saves in the third period when the Bruins were pulling out all the stops, allowing only a sixth-attacker goal to Milan Lucic with 60 seconds left.

"We're blocking shots, we're doing everything for each other," Richards said. "We were helping each other out, talking and, even when (Boston) added a lot of clusters at our net, I thought we came back and kind of defended Leighton a lot. And when he needed to, he made the big saves."

Bruins -- Despite the disappointing finish to Game 6, the Bruins remain optimistic about advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1992. The Bruins did exhibit a lot more passion and grit in Game 6 and goalie Tuukka Rask (25 saves) was phenomenal in defeat -- stopping Ville Leino on a penalty shot with 7:21 remaining in the third to keep his team within striking distance. He's yet to steal a game in this series but he's certainly capable of doing so. Will it be Game 7?

"You know, it's not over until it's over," Rask said. "We just focused on the next game and wanted to get that fourth win when we were up 3-0. We won three straight, and now they won three straight, so it comes down to one game and it's going to be a huge game. I didn't think it was going to be (seven games), but anything can happen in the playoffs."

Who's hot -- Philadelphia's Danny Briere leads the team with 4 goals and 8 points in the series. He has 6 goals, 13 points and a plus-1 rating in 11 postseason games this spring.

Injury report -- The Bruins are without forwards Marco Sturm (right knee) and David Krejci (dislocated wrist) and defensemen Adam McQuaid (lower body) and Dennis Seidenberg (left forearm). For the Flyers, Jeff Carter (right foot), Ian Laperriere (brain contusion) and goalies Brian Boucher (lower body) and Ray Emery (bone graft surgery) are out.

Stat pack -- The Flyers are the sixth team in NHL history to win Games 4, 5 and 6 of a playoff series after dropping the first three games. The other teams that reached a seventh game after trailing 3-0 were the 1939 Rangers (vs. Boston), '42 Maple Leafs (vs. Detroit), '45 Red Wings (vs. Toronto) and '75 Islanders, who did it twice that year (vs. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia). Only the '42 Leafs and '75 Islanders (against the Penguins) were able to complete the comeback by winning Game 7.

"I haven't thought about (history) too much," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "There's a lot of work that's been done. They played hard to get to this point and the end game for me is still that big, silver, shiny thing, so what happens along the way in that ride would be great. I think any time you can attach a name as a group to something in sports history, it's a positive thing. But, for me, I sure would like to be one of those final four teams."

The Flyers are 7-6 all-time in Game 7s, winning their most recent one in the 2008 conference quarterfinals in Washington. The Bruins, who have lost their last three Game 7s, are 9-9 all-time.

Puck drop -- "The only thing a Game 7 win would mean is that we'd move on," Richards said. "We're not worried about any of the other stuff. We haven't really done much right now. We've tied up the series, we've fought back, and we still have one game to complete it. They're going to come hard, we have to be ready for Friday night."

"Now we're in the same boat," Lucic said. "Both teams' backs are against the wall, and it's one game win all. Everyone has to bring their ultimate best, and that's what we expect from our group going in. We're going to try to build off the ending we had in (Game 6)."

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