Welcome back to the "Faceoff Spectacular" here at OBG (which is, for those of you kids who forgot, or who were in the bathroom for our first two posts, the Orange, Black, and Gold blog). As promised, it's time to get going on one of our top pre-season features, the "Top 10 Most Painful Moments" from the Flyers/Penguins rivalry over the past couple years.
Now, the fact that they are all painful to Flyers' fans isn't because the Flyers have been the lesser of the two teams over the past couple years—at least I think that isn't the reason.
Anyway, just a few notes before we begin. Every lovely clip will be accompanied by a video, from either nhl.tv, YouTube, or another lovely provider of years worth of life-wasting videos.
In honor of those of us whose browsers can't handle over a dozen embedded videos at once, the videos will be posted as links. Feel free to comment, and make sure to check back often, because these posts are going to be going faster than the issue of GQ with Sidney Crosby shirtless (although that's not really a hard feat to accomplish...).
#10: Sykora's Called Shot
I, for one, am a fan of hockey above all other sports because of the unique emotional outpouring that a goal can—especially playoff overtime goals. Series winning goals are even better. However, nothing can compare to the sight of a cup-winning goal.
In 2000, I was in third grade, and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, with my dad sleeping on the couch next to me, hoping the New Jersey Devils, up 3-1 in the series and playing at home, could win the cup in overtime.
I didn't even care that the Devils, who had just shockingly overcome a 3-1 deficit to knock off my Flyers in the Conference Finals, would win the Stanley Cup if they scored. That's how badly I wanted to see it.
The game went three overtimes, and Mike Modano killed my hopes by scoring a lucky goal in the third overtime to win it for the Stars. The next night, I was deemed too tired to stay up, and I missed Jason Arnott winning the Stanley Cup in double overtime for the Devils.
In 2008, I faced virtually the exact same situation, but everything was flipped. It was the Detroit Red Wings up 3-1 to a hated rival team of mine, this time the Penguins, and the Red Wings were trying to win the cup at home.
The Penguins jumped out to a 2-0 lead, much to my dismay, thanks to goals from Marian Hossa and Adam Hall. However, the Red Wings came roaring back in the second and third period, scoring three goals of their own. The fans were counting down, until, somehow, Maxime Talbot tied the game with 34.3 seconds to go.
Now, believe it or not, I didn't mind; it made for fantastic hockey, and I love a thrilling game. Besides, I didn't think the Penguins had a chance in the series, and now, I had a shot at potentially seeing a cup-winning overtime goal at home.
I again found myself battling to stay awake into the wee hours in the morning, but this time things got too interesting for me to even consider falling half-asleep.
Penguins' winger Petr Sykora actually knocked on the glass next to NBC Inside the Glass reporter Pierre McGuire, and told him that he would get the winning goal. I thought he was insane, and I couldn't wait to see his ludicrous statement double the pain of Penguins fans if and when they lost.
However, for the second time in my life, a third overtime goal dashed my hopes of seeing a cup-winning overtime goal live. The Penguins got a four-minute power-play, and just 35 seconds into it, the prophecy came true. Sykora scored on a bullet shot from the point, and my whole dream came crashing down.
It couldn't have happened in a more embarrassing way; not only was I not going to get my playoff overtime winner, but the Penguins had gotten a miraculous victory that validated them as a top-tier team and kept them alive in their cup hopes.
In addition, they had done so on a called shot. So, essentially, instead of just wishing that the Penguins lost the game 3-2 instead of tying it, I wanted the game to continue.
It was a classic case of "be careful what you wish for," and it was a sour feeling to say the least. And, to make matters worse, it wouldn't be the last time (stay tuned to find out what on earth that means)...
Next Time on "Top 10 Most Painful Moments": Even further evidence as to why three is my unlucky number...