Rounding up the reaction to Flyers historic win

Flyers8.jpgAfter the Philadelphia Flyers came back from being down 0-3 in the
series against the Bruins to win, becoming just the third team in NHL
history to do so, many were split on exactly what happened in this
series.

Did the Bruins collapse? Was this a choke of monumental
proportions, possibly one of the worst choke jobs in the history of
sports? After all, not only have just three prior teams allowed a
comeback from 0-3 down in the series, but the Bruins choked away a 3-0
lead in the deciding Game 7.

Or was this more about the resiliency
of the Flyers? This was yet another example of just how much the Flyers
have overcome in this series and this season overall.

Here’s a
snippet of reactions and from the Bruins side, they clearly feel as if
they let something get away. This is a game that the Bruins will have a
very, very tough time living down and it’s likely this team and these
players never will. As for the Flyers….well, it’s pure elation.

Bruins
Blog:

While the Bruins players own a place in history that none of them
want — the stench of this one will be attached to them if and until
they accomplish greater things — it’s unfair to call the collapse an
outright choke or to make Savard, who came back from a Grade 2
concussion and scored the winning goal in Game 1, a Buckneresque
scapegoat.

Few expected the Bruins to get out of the first round against star
goalie Ryan Miller and third-seeded Buffalo, and the seventh-seeded
Flyers were regarded as an even matchup before Krejci’s injury. The loss
was crushing and perhaps even inexcusable, but given the infirmary’s
worth of injuries they endured late in the season, the Bruins deserve at
least some kudos for being here in the first place.

Broad
Street Hockey:

But these Flyers wouldn’t settle for just one epic comeback from 3-0
down.  No, once the Flyers evened the series at 3-3 each, they saw it
fit to dig themselves another 3-0 deficit in a hurry, as Milan Lucic scored twice through Michael Leighton‘s five-hole as the Bruins
raced out to a 3-0 lead in the game’s first fifteen minutes.

It looked bad.  Real bad.  But these Flyers don’t much worry about
3-0 deficits, and they probably never will again.

More after the jump:

Dan
Shaughnessy:

Are you kidding me? Watching the
Bruins blow a series on a too-many-men penalty is like watching the 2010
Red Sox lose a one-game playoff on a homer hit by a
guy named Bucky.

Until last
night, too many men on the ice in Montreal in 1979 (a Boston team
famously coached by Don “Grapes” Cherry) was arguably the worst moment
in Bruins history.

Puck
Daddy:

Boston now has to live with this Flyers comeback forever. The outcome
of the series will forever be a stain on what was turning into a
memorable run by the Bruins. From the contributions of veterans Mark
Recchi(notes) and Miroslav Satan(notes), to the stellar goaltending of
Tuukka Rask(notes) who saved the season in relief of 2009 Vezina
Trophy winner Tim Thomas(notes), to the triumphant return of Marc
Savard(notes) in Game 1 of the series. There will be no getting over
this loss.

Phil
Sheridan:

Impossible wasn’t tough enough for them. The Flyers
had to stack a
three-goal deficit on top of the three-games-to-none mountain they’d
already climbed, just to see if they could overcome that, too.

Stunningly, they did just that. The Flyers finished the Ultimate
Comeback in this playoff series with a spectacular comeback in a
hypertensive Game 7 Friday night.

Barstool Sports:

In most instances when somebody says that an event was the best or
worst of all time at anything they are exaggerating. But not this
time. That was the biggest choke/collapse in the history of life. I
mean blowing a 3 games to none lead is one thing. But to blow a 3-0
lead in Game 7 at home on top of that? That makes it bar none the
worst collapse in the history of sports and civilization.

Stanley Cup of Chowder:

– Really? A too many men on the ice penalty? Of all penalties that
could be called a Bruins playoff game was decided by a too many me on
the ice call? Where have I heard this story before? Just a brutal way to
lose a game and a series. Now when Bruins fans talk about “The Too
Many Men on Ice Game”, we will have to ask ” which one?”

Shawn
Thornton:

“I know everyone wrote us off after that last Pittsburgh game [on
March 18, a 3-0 loss in which the team was criticized for sluggish play
and for not further standing up to Matt Cooke, who had previously
given Savard a concussion on a questionable hit] and I know everyone
did a great job of coming together and jelling and turning the season
around,” Thornton said.

Marc
Savard:

“I was coming back,” Savard
acknowledged. “I’d seen that no one jumped, so I stayed on. I’m not sure
what happened after that. I went back and got the puck. And then . . . I
don’t know.”

Milan Lucic:

“We came out strong early, but [in the third period], we sat back and
played not to win,” said the Bruins’ Milan Lucic, who scored twice.
“We came out playing so well, and you’ve got to stick with that
philosophy that got you that lead. We didn’t do that.”

Tuukka
Rask:

“It always changes during the game when the other teams scores and
they get the momentum. It’s going back and forth. I’m not criticizing
our effort or anything. I thought we battled hard. You got to deserve
those bounces and today they deserved it.”

Patrice
Bergeron:

“[Jeff] Carter wasn’t playing and [Simon] Gagne missed a couple of
games, so they had their injuries too and we can’t blame it all on that.
We’ve never put the blame on injuries all year and we’ve always kind
of battled through it, and I don’t think that should be any excuse
right now.”

Michael
Leighton:

“After the time-out,” Leighton said, “he said to me, ‘Leights, settle
down. Shut the door. We’re going to score some goals.’ “

Simon
Gagne:

“Lavy called a time-out and said, ‘Let’s just focus on one goal at a
time,’ ” Gagne said. ” ‘Let’s try to get one goal in the first and then
try to tie the game. Then they might start to get nervous.’ “

“I was so happy at the end,” Gagne said. “We just put everything on
the line. There is no better feeling.”

Mike
Richards:

“I saw it right away,” Flyer captain Mike Richards said. “I saw one
guy
go to the bench and two guys jump on. Maybe a little bit too excited. It
was a big time. Our power play picked a good time to click.”

Peter
Laviolette:

“There’s the right people in that locker room to win a game like
today,” Laviolette said. “And there’s the right people in that locker
room to come back from 3-0 and win a game today.

“I’m really
proud,” he said, then pausing. “I’m really proud of the way we played.
I’m proud of the way they represented the organization and the way they
represented themselves.”

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    Deadline target Streit says ‘it’s too early’ for extension talks in Philly

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 09:  Mark Streit #32 of the Philadelphia Flyers completes a pass against the Carolina Hurricanes on April 9, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
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    Yesterday, we touched on the dynamic at play between Buffalo and veteran captain Brian Gionta.

    Today, a similar situation to discuss — but it’s in Philly, and involves alternate captain Mark Streit.

    Streit, 39, is in the last of a four-year, $21 million deal with a $5.25M cap hit. Like Gionta, he’s a pending UFA and — also like Gionta — has a limited no-trade clause (Streit can list 10 teams he’d accept a trade to.)

    Like the Sabres, the Flyers are in a tricky spot.

    Right on the wild card bubble, they’re cognizant that a veteran presence like Streit — who has 17 points in 35 games, averaging 19:43 per night — would be valuable come playoff time.

    But if Philly falls out of playoff contention, Streit would undoubtedly be an asset worth flipping at the deadline. It’s something the team is surely aware of.

    The Swiss rearguard has more than 30 games of playoff experience and, as we’ve seen at previous deadlines, the return for rental defensemen can be high.

    More on this situation, from the Burlington County Times:

    So if the Flyers were to keep him past the deadline and offer him a new contract, would he be willing to stay?

    “At this point, I just want to play and I want to make it into the playoffs with the Flyers,’’ the Swiss native said. “That’s on my mind. I love it here, love playing for the Flyers.”

    The subject of a new contract is tricky because the Flyers are currently right on the bubble for a playoff spot.

    There’s really no point in opening contract negotiations if he’s only going to be here another five weeks, is there?

    “Not yet, it’s too early,’’ Streit said. “I’d like to stay here. I’ve been part of this organization for four years now. I love the guys, I believe in the group.”

    Flyers GM Ron Hextall told the Times he hasn’t made any decisions on his UFAs, adding he’s in no rush to sign them.

    There’s actually quite a lot of business for Hextall on that front — in addition to Streit, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Michael Del Zotto, Nick Schultz, Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth are all up on July 1 — so it’s not surprising he’s taking a wait-and-see approach.

    As for Streit, he said he’d like to stick in Philly beyond this year… and, per the Times, even joked with reporters that he’d love to sign another four-year deal.

    We assume he was joking, anyway.

    Sens nab Wingels in trade with Sharks

    SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 25:  Tommy Wingels #57 of the San Jose Sharks looks to pass the puck while covered by Artem Anisimov #15 of the Chicago Blackhawks at SAP Center on November 25, 2015 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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    The Ottawa Senators have acquired forward Tommy Wingels from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for two AHL forwards, Buddy Robinson and Zack Stortini, and a 2017 seventh-round draft pick.

    The Sens announced the trade via Twitter. As part of the deal, the Sharks will retain 30 percent of Wingels’ $2.6 million salary this season. The 28-year-old is a pending unrestricted free agent. His total cap hit is $2.475 million.

    Wingels has just five goals and three assists in 37 games this season, and his average ice time under head coach Pete DeBoer had fallen from 13:38 last season to just 10:03.

    Perhaps he’ll find a bigger role now under Guy Boucher. Wingels is expected to join the Sens tomorrow in Ottawa.

    In a press release, Sharks GM Doug Wilson called Wingels “a valuable member of our franchise for many years, a phenomenal teammate and a true role model on and off the ice for our organization and the NHL.”

    Wilson added, “As a team evolves and younger players push for roster spots, unfortunately tough decisions have to be made. We wish Tommy and his wife, Molly, nothing but success in the future.

    “We also want to welcome Buddy and Zach to our organization. They add size and depth to our reserve list and we look forward to having them in San Jose.”

    It’s crunch time for the Lightning

    Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop stays on the ice after giving up a goal to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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    The Tampa Bay Lightning are desperate for wins.

    How desperate?

    Well, it’s estimated they’ll have to win around 21 of their final 34 games in order to make the playoffs.

    So, pretty darn desperate.

    It is shocking, frankly, that the Lightning have found themselves in this position. After 48 games, they sit dead last in the Eastern Conference with a record of 21-22-5. Even without Steven Stamkos, most observers thought they’d hang in there.

    But if it’s not one thing (allowing too many goals), it’s been another (not scoring enough) for Jon Cooper’s bunch. Heading into tonight’s game in Chicago, the Bolts have just two wins in their last 10 games.

    Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Coyotes, one of the NHL’s worst teams, was a low point.

    “Disappointing is probably not even the right word,” veteran forward Brian Boyle said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “We’ve got to do a better job in (the room), I guess, especially the veteran guys. It’s got to be way better from the start, maybe in preparation? Obviously, our focus wasn’t where it needed to be. That’s a hard one to swallow.”

    The Lightning outshot the Coyotes by a big margin, 48-23, but for the 13th time this season they lost a game in regulation despite finishing ahead on the shot clock. Only Carolina (17) and Boston (15) have lost more games that way. 

    In a related story, Ben Bishop‘s save percentage has fallen from .926 last season, when he was a Vezina Trophy finalist, to .905. He was pulled Saturday after allowing five goals on just 17 shots.

    To be fair, Bishop had played well in his three previous starts since returning from an injury. But Saturday was a bad time to have a bad game. Those were two points the Lightning really needed, and they didn’t even get one.

    Tampa Bay has two games before the All-Star break — tonight in Chicago and Thursday at the Panthers in Sunrise.

    That game Thursday will be huge for both teams, each of which went into the season with high hopes, before injuries and other frustrations arose.

    The reality now is that both Florida clubs are likely to miss the playoffs. Yes, there’s still time to climb out of their respective holes, but the odds say they’ll probably fail.

    Sabres welcome back oft-injured Kulikov, who has missed 26 games

    CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 18: Dmitry Kulikov #77 of the Buffalo Sabres in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 18, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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    Dmitry Kulikov‘s first year in Buffalo has largely been defined by his lingering back injury, but he’ll set about changing that narrative when he returns to the lineup tonight in Nashville.

    Today, Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma confirmed Kulikov would play for the first time since Dec. 27, having missed nearly a month with his lingering ailment.

    Kulikov also missed 13 games earlier in the year with the same back problem.

    Acquired at last year’s draft in a deal that sent Mark Pysyk to Florida — along with picks being exchanged — Kulikov was expected to play a big role in Buffalo this season, and projected to play on the club’s top defensive pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.

    “You watch Florida when they go on the PK; he was the first guy on the ice, when they needed a goal on the playoffs he was on the ice, when they needed to protect a lead late in the game he was on the ice,” Sabres GM Tim Murray said at the time of the trade, per NHL.com. “So we certainly liked what we saw.”

    All told, the 26-year-old Russian’s appeared in just 20 games this year, registering a single point. He has averaged over 22 minutes per, though — meaning head coach Dan Bylsma has used Kulikov quite a bit, when available.

    Kulikov didn’t take this morning’s skate, so no clear indication on who he’ll pair with this evening.