The Flyers completed the most amazing comeback I have ever witnessed in a single hockey game at the Bank Building this evening.
Down 5-1 to the Canes, who were using the Orange and Black to mop the ice in the second period, the Flyers came back to tie it in the third powered by Scottie Hartnell's hat-trick. Antero Niittymaki, while giving up 5 goals, make some absolutely stellar saves to seal the tie and take it to OT. The Orange and Black gladly took the point, while the Canes looked as if someone had shot their dog.
With less than two minutes remaining in the extra frame, a dog-tired Jeff Carter limped to the bench after sprinting the length of the ice, apparently, did not make the gate before Glen Metropolit stepped on. The Refs called the bench minor which put the Flyers down 4-3 for the remaining 90 seconds. The triangle played solid D, while Niitty stoned the Canes on numerous occasions. The Flyers were able to withstand the Carolina pressure and force the Shootout. While I am not a fan of the shootout, I am a fan of what transpired next. Simon Gagne was the first shooter, who took the puck in on the left side. This was interesting because he most always takes the right-handed path to the net. The prolific Left Winger went backhand to forehand and beat a sprawling Michael Leighton for the first goal. Tuomo Ruutu shot first for the Hurricanes, but was outwaited by Niitty who turned aside the shot. Mike Richards was the second shooter for the Flyers. He went in on the right and pulled the puck back to his forehand like it was on a string and roofed the game winner past a dejected Canes netminder.
The scene on the bench was astounding. Grown men hugging eachother, high fiving...cats and dogs living together...total chaos!!! The Boys spilled out over the half wall and mobbed Niittymaki and Hartnell. It was insane.
Eric Staal was the Third star, scoring two goals and adding an asisst - he did not make it to the ice.
The Second star was none other than the man who capped the astounding comeback with the 5th goal at the 18:15 mark of the 3rd and scored the opening goal of the shootout - #12 Simon Gagne. What an amazing rebound season he is having!
Whether scoring goals or beating the snot out
of Casey Borer (see above), the First star needed no introduction - the fans had been cheering his name all night. Scottie Hartnell was all smiles and pumped his fist as he celebrated his 5th career hat-trick with goals 7, 8 and 9. Harts was a man possessed and all his teammates did was get the puck to him. As you can see...he knew what to do with it.
What a night! This was one for the ages...
Thanks for reading...