The Philadelphia Flyers: The New Miracle on Ice

Gene ZarnickCorrespondent IMay 28, 2010

There are not many times when a true underdog goes on to win a championship.  

I'm not just talking about the lower seeded team winning it all in the finals, but a team that nobody thought had a legitimate shot to do so.

We've seen upsets, but the last miracle team that could even come close is probably the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers since they were the first No. Six seed to win three away games before winning the Super Bowl.

 The NCAA Championship this year could have provided one, but like so often we see that the miracle finish just didn't happen.

The Philadelphia Flyers have a shot to be the miracle team.

Philadelphia had ups and downs all season.  

They signed Ray Emery to be their man between the posts and at the beginning of March he was gone due to season-ending hip surgery.

They also had a coach who was fired and replaced by Peter Laviolette in early December.  

This was a team that struggled the entire season just trying to make the playoffs and they almost didn't.

With two games remaining in the season they needed just one win to get a berth.  

To make things more interesting both games were against the New York Rangers who also were vying for that last playoff spot.  

The Flyers traveled to Madison Square Garden on April 9th and lost a heart breaker with a score of 4-3.

Two days later they would have to regroup to play the Rangers on their home ice.

The Flyers prevailed with a 2-1 victory after a shootout in overtime that not only gave them the win, but also the seventh seed in the East.  

Next on board for the Flyers were the New Jersey Devils with hall of fame goalie Martin Brodeur.

Philadelphia, with backup goalie Brian Boucher playing great, beat the Devils in five games to move on to the second round.  

The Flyers seemed to finally catch a break when the Montreal Canadians upset the Washington Capitals, which gave them the opportunity to play the No. Five Boston Bruins instead of the No. One Washington Capitals.

The draw was far from a break.

The Boston Bruins opened up the series with three straight wins, only needing one more to move to the Eastern Conference finals.

Brian Boucher stepped up and brought a shutout in game four to move the series to 3-1.

In Game five, he provided the same effort with 4-0 shutout.  

There was only one problem with this win though, the Flyers lost their now-unstoppable goalie to injury and the backup to the backup, Michael Leighton would have to step in for game six.

Leighton did his job in game six with a 2-1 win to pull the series back to a 3-3 tie; a feat of three straight wins that was impressive in itself.  

Game seven was headed back to Boston and the winner would go to the East Finals.

It was in game seven where we thought momentum finally caught up to the Flyers Phenomenon.  

The Bruins opened up the game with a 3-0 lead midway through the first period.

The Flyers fought back, chipped away, and somehow came out with a 4-3 victory to move on to the next round.

Maybe Michael Leighton is the lucky charm.  

I haven't seen a player join a Philly team to provide luck like this since Tony Danza did it in The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon .  

Was destiny finally on Philadelphia's side for once?

The Eastern Conference finals had another miracle team join the fray with the No. Eight seed Montreal Canadians going up against the Flyers after they won a seven game series against the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Flyers didn't let the opportunity pass them by and they beat the Canadians in five games to move on to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1997.

The series starts tomorrow and I just don't know who to root for.  

I'm a Penguins fan so it's natural that we hate the Flyers, but after looking at this unbelievable run I don't know what to think.

On the other side we have the Chicago Blackhawks with Marian Hossa, one of the most hated players amongst Penguins fans, so we'd like to see him lose his third straight Stanley Cup finals on three different teams.

I'll probably decide who I'm rooting for once the puck drops tomorrow, but either way, if the Flyers win, this will be the second coming of the Miracle on Ice.  

Ups and down all year, new coach, having to play the backup to your backup goalie for the finals, and a three game series deficit that opened up with a three goal deficit in game seven and you still make the finals is a miracle in itself—but one that movies aren't made from.

We'll find out how the movie ends over the next couple of weeks.  

I just wish my Pens would there so I could see an alternate ending.


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