Michael Leighton stopped 29 shots in his first start in nearly two months to help streaking Philadelphia beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 on Wednesday night and force a seventh game in Boston on Friday night.
Philadelphia's postseason 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 the Montreal Canadiens.
The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders are the only NHL teams to come back from 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.
Mike Richards and Danny Briere scored for the Flyers. Milan Lucic scored with a minute left for Boston.
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.
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 that pushed 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.
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 showed no early jitters when he took the puck right in his chest on a nice early save off Trent Whitfield's short-handed breakaway shot.
The "Let's Go Flyers!" chant echoed throughout the arena and the team seemed to feed off the energy. Briere, who has been sensational in the postseason, made it 2-0 on a power-play goal that deflected high off Rask's shoulder.
Rask was solid in goal. 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 get any offense goin, 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.
The Flyers had good reason to root for Montreal. Philadelphia would have home-ice advantage with a series win.
This was only the seventh 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.
The Flyers are 17-17 in Game 6s. … The Flyers have a 12-4 series record when winning Game 6. … Boston is 16-0 when leading a series 3-0. The Bruins swept 12 of them.
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