Flyers Force Game 7 Vs. Bruins

Boston's Matt Hunwick keeps the puck from Philadelphia's Danny Briere in the second period of Game 6 of a second-round playoff hockey series on Wednesday in Philadelphia. (AP)
Boston's Matt Hunwick keeps the puck from Philadelphia's Danny Briere in the second period of Game 6 of a second-round playoff hockey series on Wednesday in Philadelphia. (AP)

Danny Briere made his case for an epic Game 7. No game is harder to win than a clincher.

"We have to realize that the last game will be the toughest to leave with," Briere said.

No team knows this quite like the Bruins. Boston wasted its 3-0 series lead and now faces a big exhale or a bigger collapse.

Michael Leighton stopped 30 shots in his first start in nearly two months to put streaking Philadelphia on the cusp of a colossal comeback and beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 on Wednesday night to force a seventh game in Boston on Friday night.

"We've had three chances here so far and we haven't been able to do it," Bruins forward Milan Lucic said. "They've been playing well, so we have to find a way to break them down."

Philadelphia's season appeared over after it lost the first three games of the series. Not now. The Flyers are on the brink of history - and a spot in the Eastern Conference finals against Montreal.

The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders are the only NHL teams to overcome 3-0 deficits to win a best-of-seven playoff series. The Flyers are the first team to trail 3-0 and force a Game 7 since the '75 Islanders.

Briere and Mike Richards scored for the Flyers. Lucic scored with a minute left for Boston.

Richards, the Flyers' captain, was stone faced discussing the winning streak.

"It's nice, but we haven't done anything yet," he said.

Leighton was everything the Flyers wanted in his first start since he sprained his ankle March 16. Leighton's injury paved the way for Brian Boucher to take over and all he did was lead the Flyers into the postseason as the No. 7 seed and an upset over New Jersey in the first round.

Boucher sprained the MCL in his left knee in Game 5 and the job again belonged to Leighton. Boucher blew kisses to the crowd and fought back tears when he received a standing ovation from the orange-and-black diehards.

Boucher and Leighton combined for a 4-0 victory Monday night. Leighton said all he wanted this postseason was to return as Boucher's backup. He's done so much more - nearly 95 shutout minutes to start the postseason.

"It's kind of hard not to be nervous when you have that crowd going like that right at the beginning of the game," Leighton said. "It just took me a few minutes again just to get my feet."

Boucher was about the only one saddened in Philly on this night.

The Wachovia Center felt at times like the setting for a classic rock concert. Montreal-Pittsburgh served as the opening act, the Canadiens' dominating win over the Flyers' in-state rivals enough to put the crowd on an emotional edge.

Richards sent them over it.

He knocked in a rebound 6:58 into the game for his fifth goal of the playoffs, pushing the crowd into a frenzy. The Flyers talked between Games 5 and 6 that all the momentum shifted their way - and all the pressure was on Boston.

"I'm sure the pressure is mounting even more," Briere said.

Boston goalie Tuukka Rask surely felt the burden at 1-0.

The Flyers were the aggressors early, putting quick pressure on Rask and keeping the crowd of 19,929 into the game

Leighton calmed his early jitters when he took the puck right in his chest on a nice early save off Trent Whitfield's short-handed breakaway shot.

"Everyone on the bench was rooting for him to score that goal," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "That would have been a big goal for us."

Instead, Briere delivered when he made it 2-0 on a power-play goal that deflected high off Rask's shoulder.

Rask was solid in goal with 25 saves. He made a nice glove save on Ville Leino's penalty shot with 7:21 left in the third.

The Bruins just can't get any offense going - no matter who's in goal for the Flyers. Boston hadn't scored since Mark Recchi forced Game 4 into overtime on a goal with 31.5 seconds left in regulation until Lucic made it 2-1.

"I didn't think it was going to be seven but anything can happen in the playoffs," Rask said.

The Flyers had good reason to root for Montreal. Philadelphia would have home-ice advantage with a series win.

This was only the 11th time in 162 tries that a team facing a 3-0 deficit forced a Game 6.

They are the sixth team in 11 tries to play a Game 7.

This program aired on May 13, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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