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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    ‘I felt a huge pop’: Bishop suffered an ankle/shin injury in Eastern Conference Final

    Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop looks at the ice after allowing a goal by Detroit Red Wings' Gustav Nyquist in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit, Saturday, March 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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    Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop revealed he had strained ligaments in his ankle/shin area, which ultimately put him on the sidelines for the Eastern Conference Final.

    Bishop was stretchered off the ice after suffering the injury in the first period of Game 1 versus the Pittsburgh Penguins, and never returned to game action, meaning back-up Andrei Vasilevskiy had to take over the starting duties for the duration of the series.

    “When I went down, I felt a huge pop. I thought somebody two-handed me in the shin. Once I felt the pop and then it was a bunch of pressure and pain, I thought my leg broke,” Bishop told reporters.

    “I pretty much strained all the stuff in my shin and ankle. I was coming back and it was getting better. I was able to skate there at the end but going down in the butterfly and those movements — like going up against the post — it was still really painful and I just wouldn’t have been effective.”

    Bishop estimated he was getting close to a return, but still a “week or so” before he could play with the pain.

    “It was getting there. Just tough timing.”

    Bishop, 29, has one more year remaining on his current deal that comes with a cap hit of $5.95 million and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season. Vasilevskiy, 21, played well when called upon in the post-season and has one year remaining on his deal. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent after next season.

    Lightning GM Steve Yzerman acknowledged that at some point, a decision on their goalies will probably be necessary, either for salary cap reasons or perhaps a potential expansion draft.

    “We’ve got two outstanding goaltenders. I know that,” said Yzerman.

    Added Bishop: “If you look around this league right now, you need two goalies to win.”

    Yzerman: ‘I think the best thing for this team is Jonathan Drouin being on it’

    TAMPA, FL - APRIL 30:  Jonathan Drouin #27 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders  during the first period in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on April 30, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images)
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    Talk about a whirlwind season for Jonathan Drouin.

    The talented forward, and third overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, went from the center of a well documented controversy for a public trade request to a pivotal component for the Tampa Bay Lightning in its playoff quest that fell just short of a Stanley Cup Final berth after a Game 7 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final.

    The 21-year-old Drouin, recalled from the AHL when Steven Stamkos was taken out of the lineup with a blood clot, scored five goals and 14 points in 17 playoff games. And, based on the comments of general manager Steve Yzerman to reporters, he’ll be a regular on this team when the 2016-17 season begins in the fall.

    Drouin has one more year remaining on his entry-level contract before he’s a restricted free agent, as per General Fanager.

    Funny how some things can change.

    The Drouin trade request was one of the more contentious — not to mention ongoing — storylines this season. But it could be that both sides have since resolved their differences.

    “I definitely want to be here,” said Drouin, as per the Tampa Bay Times. “I love the way this ended, I guess with this different and weird year. But the way this finished and it’s definitely somewhere I want to play.”

    In this case, the best deal was the one Yzerman never made. Even as speculation and reports and rumor circulated the situation for weeks leading up to the trade deadline.

    “He makes us a better team. Simple as that,” Yzerman told reporters. “He can do things — a talented young player that’s only going to get better.

    “I think the best thing for this team is Jonathan Drouin being on it.”

     

    Penguins enter Stanley Cup Final as favorites over Sharks: online bookmaker

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins, led by the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, were last in the Stanley Cup Final in 2009, when they hoisted hockey’s silver chalice.

    The San Jose Sharks are in uncharted waters, having never been here before, and that includes Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, both veterans of more than 1,000 regular season games played.

    Perhaps that’s why the Penguins, one of the marquee NHL teams given their generational super star Crosby, are -135 favorites to win the Stanley Cup, according to online bookmaker Bovada on Friday. The Sharks were listed as +115 underdogs.

    The Penguins, a force in the NHL since a coaching change in mid-December, became the betting favorites to win it all following their series win over Alex Ovechkin and the rival Washington Capitals in the second round.

    Game 1 of the final goes Monday in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins will start with home ice advantage.

    So far in these playoffs, the Penguins have gone 7-3 at Consol Energy Center. The Sharks are 5-4 on the road, where they actually started 3-0 following the first round against the L.A. Kings.

    Right now, the Sharks possess the top three point producers in these playoffs in Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski (the leading goal scorer with 13) and Brent Burns, while Phil Kessel — as part of that dynamic HBK Line — is fifth in the league and leads the Penguins with 18 points in 18 games.

     

    ‘Two legends’ Thornton and Marleau prepare for first Stanley Cup Final

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    SAN JOSE, Calif. — Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have been linked ever since they went one-two in the 1997 NHL draft to Boston and San Jose.

    They became teammates with the Sharks more than a decade ago, won a gold medal for Canada at the 2010 Olympics and each had their captaincies stripped as they became the faces of so many postseason failures in San Jose.

    Now at age 36 and after more than 3,000 combined games, 949 goals and 2,610 career points in the regular and postseason, Thornton and Marleau have the opportunity to add the only thing missing on their impressive career resumes if they can win the Stanley Cup.

    “It’s just the next step for us,” Thornton said Friday. “We’ve been doing a really good job of staying day to day, shift to shift. This is just another challenge we’re hoping to come out on top on.”

    Related: Here’s your  TV schedule for the Stanley Cup Final on NBC Sports

    The two will take the ice in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in their careers on Monday night in Pittsburgh, ending a long journey that included many disappointments and criticism that was often undeserved.

    “It’s two legends,” teammate Brent Burns said. “I’ve said it before. Those two are some of the best players to ever play the game. It’s huge to get them here. They’ve done pretty much everything else. They sometimes take a bad rap in the media, which is unnecessary. Anybody that’s played with them sees the way that they work and what kind of teammates they are, what kind of people they are. They’re two of the best.”

    They just haven’t always been considered that way because of the lack of playoff success that was at times as much a reflection on the lack of help they got as it was on any deficiencies in their games.

    But both also had times when they failed to raise their game at the biggest points of the season. Thornton went pointless during a seven-game series loss to Montreal in his final playoffs in Boston in 2004 while he played with torn rib cartilage. Thornton also posted a -11 rating in the 2010 playoffs in San Jose when the Sharks got swept by Chicago in the Western Conference final.

    Marleau struggled in the 2007-09 playoffs when San Jose got knocked out twice in the second round and then lost as the top seed in the first round to Anaheim in 2009. That led to the Sharks demoting him from captain.

    The two have had plenty of playoff success along the way as well, but it has been the failures that colored people’s perceptions of them, none more than blowing a 3-0 series lead to Los Angeles in 2014 in a collapse that ultimately led to Thornton being stripped of the captaincy.

    “We’ve been through a lot here,” teammate Logan Couture said. “I’ve only been here seven years but those guys have been here longer than I have and they deserve this. They’ve been through a lot, Patty especially.”

    Marleau played 165 playoff games before reaching his first final, the most of any player. He lost his first three trips to the conference final and needed 16 trips to the playoffs to reach the final round.

    Thornton was next on that list with 150 games, including two conference final losses before making it to the Cup in his 15th postseason.

    The fact they will be there in Sharks uniforms only makes it more special. There was talk they could be traded the summer after the 2014 playoff collapse, Thornton had a public feud with general manager Doug Wilson last season and there were reports that Marleau was seeking a trade earlier this season.

    Nothing ever materialized and the two are still in San Jose to the delight of all sides. Thornton is playing perhaps the best two-way hockey of his career, posting three goals and 15 assists through the first three rounds and dominating possession against the other team’s top players.

    After spending much of the year as a third-line center, Marleau moved back to his more familiar spot of a second-line wing alongside Couture. He has four goals and eight assists so far, including two helpers in the third period of the conference final clincher against St. Louis.

    “We’re just enjoying the ride right now,” Marleau said. “We’ve had some really good teams over the years. This team is a little bit different. The confidence we’ve built over the regular season and now in the playoffs, I think winning on the road helped us get close as a group during the regular season. It carried over into the playoffs so far. Just having each other’s back out there, working for each other.”