Chicago and New York fans alike - as well as many mistaken others - were ready to write off the Flyers after they went down 0-2 in the series against the Hawks. But, as the adage goes, a series isn't decided until the home team loses and the home team has yet to lose, as the Flyers got Game 3 by beating the Hawks 4-3 in overtime tonight.
Yep, another one-goal game.
It is hard to believe but the more you watch these teams, the more even they are ... despite coming from two different places. Chicago is speed, Philly is power. Sure both have some quantity of the other qualities - they wouldn't be here if they didn't - but the basis of their games are speed and power respectively. Tonight the Flyers' power limited the Hawks speed and they won ... that simple.
*As you can see in the photo, they sold Flyer logo-shaped pretzels at the Wachovia Center. Yes, I had one. But I didn't feel good about myself afterwards. Haha.
*The national anthem in Chicago beats out God Bless America in Philly by a mile. The anthem and it is corresponding ovation is thunderous. God Bless America ... well, Philly would be better served just airing the full Kate Smith recorded version than having Lauren Hart butcher half the song.
*That being said, when the Flyers stepped on the ice to the Rocky theme ... wow. The building went wild. And when the Flyers needed a boost late, the building MC played Eye of the Tiger. Sly Stallone's opus = Philadelphia.
*Philly overcame Pat Kane's arrival to the series, which was unexpected. Kane was physically challenged early and often and responded with a goal and an assist.
*A number of times Chicago just collapsed back into their own end, which was expected. When the Flyers started pressing in the third of the last two games, the Hawks did the same thing they did tonight - gave up the blueline and chased the puck. Coach Q noticed and put Ben Eager out to change the tide - which he did for a minute or so but his teammates weren't able to keep it up.
*For all of the hitting going on by Philly, I'm not sure Ian Laperriere played. Sure the box score has him over six minutes but I didn't notice him once.
*It is amazing what experience brings as Marian Hossa and Chris Pronger clearly had a poise and drive that their teammates couldn't match. Hossa's effort was outstanding.
*Danny Briere had a goal and an assist, was constantly swarming the Chicago net and won nine of 12 faceoffs. Sure glad Glen Sather signed Chris Drury instead, huh?
*But a dumb signing by Sather is inevitable, as was Philadelphia's victory. They had a potential game-winning goal waved off (good call) and, unlike many other teams, kept their heads up and feet on the pedals to press the action. It paid off in the real game-winner when Chicago backed into their own end, lost coverage and left their goaltender out to hang.
After the game Coach Laviolette had this to say: "(Down) 2-0 for us is comfortable. We're ok with that, we know how to battle through it. We knew how imporant the game was tonight. once we wake up tomorrow morning, we know we have to hold serve on home ice."