Flyers’ fairytale playoff run falls flat

By Christopher Kaufman

PHILADELPHIA (BestGrowthStock) – The Philadelphia Flyers’ dream NHL playoff run failed to produce a story-book ending but the Stanley Cup long shots held their heads high following Wednesday’s overtime defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks.

“(The series) was probably a lot closer than a lot of people gave us credit for,” defenseman Chris Pronger told reporters in the locker room after Chicago’s 4-3 win gave them a 4-2 victory in the best-of-seven championship series.

The Flyers had squeaked into the National Hockey League playoffs on a shoot-out goal on the last day of the season and the seventh-seeded team overcame a 3-0 deficit to eliminate the Boston Bruins on their way to the finals.

Their rousing campaign for their first Stanley Cup since they were known as the Broad Street Bullies in the mid-1970s came to a jolting stop four minutes into overtime on Patrick Kane’s rifle shot past goalie Michael Leighton.

“The guys should be proud of what we accomplished this year, but it definitely hurts right now,” said winger Jeff Carter, the team’s top scorer during the regular season.

Battling back from adversity was a Flyers’ theme.

Carter came back so early from foot surgery that he was said to be skating more surely than he walked, and he was not the only Flyer to return early from injury to chase the Cup.

Fellow winger Simon Gagne also returned early from foot surgery and Ian Laperriere came back after having taken a slap shot to the face that bruised his brain.

“It was a good experience for us,” to come back from so much, said team captain Mike Richards.

Last December, Flyers coach John Stevens was fired and replaced by Peter Laviolette. A couple of months later starting goalie Ray Emery went down with a season-ending injury.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville saluted Laviolette.

“I just said ‘Peter, you did a great job all year. You overcome incredible odds’,” he said.

Despite all that was going against them, the Flyers thrived and nearly wrote a perfect finish to the season.

“The story book ended the wrong way for us,” said left winger Scott Hartnell, who scored two goals in the losing effort.

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(Editing by Alastair Himmer)

Flyers’ fairytale playoff run falls flat