This is what an Eastern Conference Championship looks like.
From 14th place in the Eastern Conference to the Stanley Cup Final. That's the journey your Philadelphia Flyers have taken you on this season. And it's not over yet.
Behind an incredible performance from Mike Richards, dazzling hockey from Claude Giroux, big goaltending from Michael Leighton and clutch goal scoring by Jeff Carter, the Flyers were able to hold off a late storm from the pesky Montreal Canadiens to advance to dispatch the eight seed in five games and win the Eastern Conference.
After all was said and done and the Habs retreated to the locker room to the most beautiful "ole, ole!" chant any of us will ever hear, Bill Daly presented the Prince of Wales Trophy to Richards. He shook Daly's hand, and against all superstition, he picked up the award. After all, this is a hell of an accomplishment, especially given the season they had, and you can't get to the big one without it.
Adversity doesn't seem to hurt these guys -- it just makes them stronger. That's been the theme of the entire year. A coach fired, 14th place in the conference at one point, seven different goaltenders, down to the final game of the regular season, getting in via the shootout, down 0-3 against Boston, down 0-3 in Game 7. It just doesn't matter.
The next bit of adversity? The Chicago Blackhawks. They're damn good, but this Flyers club is pretty damn good too.
The 2009-10 Philadelphia Flyers will not die, and now, they'll play for the Stanley Cup for the first time in 13 years. Believe it, guys and gals. This glorious, lovable mess of a team is going to the Stanley Cup Final. What a ride. Get ready for one of the best weeks of your life.
After the jump, questions with answers, the comment of the night and more celebration.
Questions with Answers
- How loud is the Wachovia Center tonight? Nothing compared to next week. Game 3 is on Wednesday.
- The first goal has been crucial in this series. Can the Flyers grab it? Nope, but Mike Richards made sure it didn't matter.
- Jeff Carter was possibly the best player on the ice for the Flyers on Saturday, at least from an offensive standpoint, with several shots and a number of quality chances. Does he build upon his successful first game back? Two goals sound good? Carter was a force again.
- The Flyers did a great job of staying out of the penalty box on Saturday. Encore performance? Not really. So what.
- If the Flyers win, does Richards touch that trophy? You're damn right he does. It's ours.
Comment of the Night
>> JFein, feeling what a lot of us feel