PITTSBURGH - It wasn’t as epic as their five-overtime win over the Penguins in the 2000 playoffs, and it didn’t have as much meaning as their 4-3 comeback victory in OT that jolted Boston in Game 7 of the 2010 conference semifinals.
Still, the Flyers’ had-to-see-it-to-believe-it 4-3 win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday night was one for the ages.
They trailed 3-0 in the first period and looked doomed.
They trailed 3-1 with 11 minutes left in regulation and were about to lose the series opener.
They double-shifted defensemen because of a second-period injury suffered by defensemen Marc-Andre Bourdon.
And, still, they persevered.
And put doubt in the collective minds of the Penguins, who are in an almost must-win position for Game 2 on Friday.
Give these Flyers credit. They stage more comebacks than Don Rickles.
“I don’t necessarily believe in momentum in the playoffs,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “… One (game) has nothing to do with the next. It’s just one win, and now we have to focus on the second game and making sure we’re better in a lot of areas.”
Brayden Schenn became just the eighth rookie in Flyers history to notch three points in a playoff game, and Danny Briere continued his amazing playoff success with a pair of goals.
Briere, who had missed the previous three games because of back spasms, now has 31 goals in 58 playoff games with the Flyers. All told, he has 98 points in 98 playoff career games.
“On an individual basis, this is probably one of the top five,” said Briere when asked to rank the game. “Every game is special, but to come back out of a 3-0 hole with such a young team and battle back and not quit, it’s (gratifying).”
The Flyers faced a 3-0 deficit after the first period.
“We had two choices - either we start playing or pack it in and try to get ready for Game 2,” Briere said. “It was an easy choice.”
The Flyers took Option No. 1.
As a result, they overcame a three-goal deficit and won a playoff game for the sixth time in franchise history. They had last done it in the decisive game of the 2010 series against Boston, the one where they not only overcame a 3-0 deficit in Game 7, but a three GAMES-to-none deficit in the series.
“We had a couple bounces go our way and we got back in the game,” Briere said. “You put in all that work and come back _ and to win on top of it makes it even more special.”
Briere said his performance “wouldn’t have meant anything if we didn’t win that game….There’s only one goal here.”
They are 15 wins away from reaching it.
Briere and Flyers and bears, oh my. By Jaromir Jagr’s estimate, there were 70 fans who wore bear costumes to the game. The fans were mocking goalie Ilya Bryzaglov, who said he didn’t fear the Penguins _ just bears.
“How did they get tickets?” Jagr asked about the fans in costumes. “They were everywhere. I was scared, too.”
Breakaways. The Flyers had 39 hits, including eight by Scott Hartnell, seven by Wayne Simmons and five by Max Talbot … Flyers are 35-37 all-time in OT playoff games … In franchise history, the Flyers are 22-8 in playoff series after winning Game 1.