Over the past week, we here at PhillySportsNetwork have been going over prior playoff series’. We’ve been recapping big games in Flyers playoff history, in hopes of quenching your thirst for hockey during the pandemic. This time, we take a look at Philadelphia’s quest for the Cup during the 2010 NHL Playoffs, and break down where it all started, the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New Jersey Devils.
103 points during the season earned New Jersey the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Led by Zach Parise, Travis Zajac, and Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils were a tough out, and were poised to make some waves in the playoffs. The Flyers, as we all know, snuck into the seventh seed on the last day of the regular season.
Both teams each won one of the first two games. Heading into Philadelphia, momentum swung in a big way. The Flyers swept those two games, taking a 3-1 series lead back to Newark, looking to upset the Devils in their own home.
Early into the start of regulation, the Devils showed that they came to play. A faceoff :43 into the game saw defenseman Paul Martin feed Ilya Kovalchuk across the point, who blasted a one-timer. Brian Boucher made the save, but the rebound went straight to Zach Parise. Before Parise could make a play on the puck, Blair Betts poked the puck away, but Patrik Elias gained control. He sent the puck around the boards to Paul Martin. Martin dished back to Kovalchuk for another one-timer. This one was gobbled up by Boucher, but the Devils made it clear that they were looking for the win.
The Flyers ended up on the powerplay not long after. Kimmo Timonen found himself passing along to Mike Richards on the near boards. Richards got around Rob Niedermayer, and dished across to Claude Giroux. In close to the net, Giroux spun and fed Danny Briere to the left of Martin Brodeur. The pass went off Briere’s skates, but Briere gathered it and rifled it past Marty. The powerplay goal gave the Flyers the early 1-0 lead.
The second period started a little slower than the first, but there was action in the first five minutes. Andy Greene fed Kovalchuk by the far boards. Kovalchuk wristed one on net, but it was blocked in front. Paul Martin gained control, and shoveled one on net. Danny Briere tipped the puck before it got to Boucher, and if it weren’t for him tipping it away from the goal line, the Devils would have tied things up.
Just past the midway point of the period, Mike Richards entered the zone along the near boards. Soon after, he took a wrist shot towards Brodeur that got blocked by Bryce Salvador. Richards gathered the puck once again to feed it in front. Dan Carcillo tipped the puck back to Claude Giroux in the slot, who ripped a slap shot to beat Brodeur just inside the post. The Flyers took a 2-0 lead 11:48 into the second period.
The Flyers were not done, as they found themselves on the powerplay less than two minutes later. Briere was fed from the point, and took a slap shot while Scott Hartnell was screening Brodeur in front. Brodeur made the save, but it popped back out to Hartnell, who fed Giroux behind him to put one home past Brodeur and Mike Mottau. Giroux scored his second goal in 1:59, and the Flyers had the 3-0 lead going into the final frame.
The third period saw a flurry of Devils chances. All game long, New Jersey peppered Brian Boucher with shots. All in all, Bouch faced 27 shots on the night. The best part about it, he stopped all 27. Boucher played an incredible game, and the third period expired with the Flyers winning 3-0, advancing to the next round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
What Happens Next?
The Flyers would move on to the semi-finals to face the Boston Bruins. What ensued next was quite possibly the greatest comeback in all of sports. Down three games to none, the Flyers did the virtually impossible, winning the next four games of the series to beat the Boston Bruins.
Facing a tough Montreal team in the Eastern Conference Finals, Philadelphia made light work of them, ousting them in five games as well. The Flyers would then go on to face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals, and we all know what happens after that.
Mandatory Credit – © Alan Maglaque-USA TODAY Sports