Flyers-Hurricanes: Philadelphia Wins in Epic Fashion

Chris DiFrancescoAnalyst IDecember 12, 2008

This game was one for the ages.

If there is anyone who is reading that went to the game last night and left in the second period, shame on you.

What this game proved last night was how much character this team has.

The Flyers were down 5-1 going into the second period, and seemed to be a lifeless hockey team. Yes the Flyers could have given up last night and just packed it in and begin preparing for the Penguins tomorrow afternoon, but they didn't.

The Flyers went through a somewhat of a depression for the first two periods, then all of a suddenly played some of the best 20 minutes I have ever seen. Coach John Stevens wanted to be accountable to his fans.

Last night's comeback victory was only the second time in franchise history that the Flyers were trailing by four or more goals and come back.

If there is anyone to thank for last night's heroic comeback, it can be boiled down to two people—Scott Hartnell and John Stevens.

Scott Hartnell was the catalyst of the Flyers' comeback, recording a hat trick—including two third-period goals. Scottie Upshall and Simon Gagne followed Hartnell's lead by scoring the fourth and the game-tying fifth goal of the game to force overtime.

Overtime went by fast, but that didn't stop Simon Gagne and captain Mike Richards from lighting up the Wachovia Center with great shootout moves to put the game away for another Flyers victory.

The NHL wants excitement in hockey? Well, they should dial up the Flyers brass, get this tape of the game, and immediately air it on the NHL Network. Back to Coach Stevens, obviously after the second period had ended wanted to get some "words" off his chest.

"I was really disappointed with the way our team played in the first two periods. Our role players were providing the energy and the physical play," Stevens said.

"We were allowing their skilled players to really hurt us. Eric Staal looked like a man possessed," Stevens added.

"I just asked them to go out and play 20 minutes of hockey the right way. I had no idea obviously that we could come back from being in that much of a hole against a team that was playing so well."

Scott Hartnell spoke after the game, and gave us a little insight of what his coach was saying between periods.

"John [Stevens] came in and basically said we were playing like pansies. We didn't get the team in motion for the first two periods, and we were basically playing losing hockey," Hartnell said.

"We had a couple of great goals late and we were able to get the point in the shootout. We were fired up and it obviously showed in the third," said Hartnell, who scored twice in the thir.

The Flyers made this comeback despite the refs, who as I said last night called the worst game I have seen, and the Flyers almost lost because of them. There were many points in the game where the Flyers were on the wrong end of blatant penalty calls. Especially one specific non-boarding call on Andrew Alberts in the second period.

Antero Niittymaki, who was putting on a forgettable performance up until the third period, completely turned around his game and stood on his head for the third period, overtime, and thank goodness, the shootout.

"I wanted to stay in the game. I'm not going to say that I knew we were going to come back. It's probably one that a lot of guys think its over," Niittymaki said. "I wanted to make something out of the game."

When the all the smoke cleared, the Flyers were the ones who came out with a victory. The game was loaded with highs and lows, but the highs were ones that Flyers fans will not ever forget.

This game was a stepping stone for the Flyers. This is a team on a mission and they are starting to prove that.  Every team that wasn't aware before better open their eyes and watch those superstars wearing orange and black jerseys. 

The Flyers will stay home and now prepare for the always fun Pittsburgh Penguins, who come into town to faceoff at 1pm from the Wachovia Center. 

Also, just in case this game needed an extra spark, the Flyers and Pens are tied for second place in the Atlantic Division.