Please walk through that tunnel again, let's say Mondayish. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
I was trying to write something most of today, but I didn't have any idea how to do this situation justice. The Flyers are on the verge of possibly making history to a degree you could say they haven't been since Game 7 of the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals.
I'm not saying this game is anywhere near as important as a game for the Stanley Cup, but I am saying that this achievement puts these 2009-10 Flyers on a list that's only four teams long, even when you throw in NBA and MLB history.
A win Friday night in Boston, and the Flyers reach an improbable Eastern Conference Final, in which they even more improbably will have home ice advantage against the even more surprising Montreal Canadiens. A loss Friday night in Boston, and the Flyers go down in the second round to the sixth seed, which is hardly a grand achievement by any stretch.
With all this in mind, my ADD mind is exploding with minutiae. So on the verge of this Game 7, here are seven thoughts of varying length and relevance.
- If the Flyers win Game 7, that 0-3 comeback drought will have ended in the second round, which is fitting since it started in the second round of the 1975 Stanley Cup playoffs, exactly thirty-five years ago. If the Flyers win the cup, their Stanley Cup drought will have ended in the final round, which is fitting since it started in the final round of the 1975 Stanley Cup playoffs, exactly thirty-five years ago.
- Michael Leighton has a career playoff GAA of 0.63. That's pretty good.
- During these playoffs, the Flyers and Bruins have respective home winning percentages of 80% and 83%. The rest of the league has had an average home winning percentage of 44%.
- Of the five starting goalies left in the playoffs, only Evgeni Nabokov was his team's #1 at the beginning of the season.
- The Flyers finished with the seventh-best record in the Eastern/Wales Conference only once previously in their history, back in 1988-89. That year, they opened the playoffs with a win over the champions of their division (Washington), then came back from 3-2 down in the next round to defeat a team that wore black and gold (Pittsburgh). This second round comeback was made all the more improbable due to an injury to the Flyers' starting goalie (Ron Hextall) as the team faced elimination, but a backup acquired mid-season (Ken Wregget, right) filled in valiantly to win the crucial Game 7 on the road. The Flyers' opponent in the Conference Finals that year? The Montreal Canadiens, whom the Flyers had beaten in the playoffs two years earlier. And Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy, and Kennedy's secretary was named Lincoln.
- The Flyers' season could end tomorrow. With all this hype, I feel like that fairly significant reality has been overlooked.
- Seven of the last nine Game 7s have been won by the road team, which is a fairly well known stat at this point. Slightly less well known? Eight of those nine games were won by the team who scored the second goal, including the last seven straight.
That's all I got. You're gonna remember tomorrow night for a long, long time.