On This Date in Sports May 14, 2010: Comeback

in collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

The Philadelphia Flyers become the third team in NHL history to win a seven-game series after trailing 3-0. Much like the series, the Flyers trailed 3-0 in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. The Flyers would win the game 4-3, as Simon Gagne netted a power-play goal with 7:08 left in regulation. The Flyers would go on to play in the Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks.  

 The Philadelphia Flyers needed to beat the New York Rangers in the final game of the season just to make the playoffs in 2010. They had an up and down season as coach John Stevens was fired and replaced by Peter Laviolette in December. By winning their final game, the Flyers finished seventh in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 41-35-6. In the first round of the playoffs, they would stun the Atlantic Division Champion New Jersey Devils in five games. 

The Boston Bruins coached by Claude Julien also had their ups and downs during the 2009/10 season. They finished with a record of 39-30-13 to grab the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. In the first round, the Bruins also beat the winner of their division, taking out the Northeastern Division Champion Buffalo Sabres in six games. 

The second-round series between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers was the fifth time the teams played in the postseason. They had split four series in the 1970s, including the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals won by Philadelphia. The most recent meeting had been the 1978 semifinals won by Boston. Game 1 saw the Bruins dominate early, building a 3-1 lead in the second period. The Flyers battled back in the third period, tying the game 4-4 on a goal by Daniel Briere with 3:22 left in regulation. The Bruins would win the game in overtime 5-4 on a goal by Marc Savard. In Game 2, the Bruins and Flyers goals in the first two periods, in the third with the score tied 2-2, it was Milan Lucic got the game-winner for the Bruins with 2:57 left in regulation. 

After two hard-fought losses, the Flyers hoped a return to the Wachovia Center could get them back in the series. Instead, they gave their worst performance in Game 3, losing 4-1 as Tuukka Raski stopped 34 of 35 shots. Looking for the sweep in Game 4, the Bruins showed the ability to rally, as Mark Recchi scoring his second goal of the game tied the game with 32 seconds left. However, Simon Gagne scored at 14:40 into sudden death to keep the Flyers alive with a 5-4 win. 

Back at TD Garden, the Flyers rode the momentum of their overtime win into Game 5. The Flyers would face adversity as goalie Brian Boucher was forced out with an injury after making the game’s first nine saves. Michel Leighton came on in relief and made all 14 stops as the Flyers won 4-0, with Gagne scoring twice. Leighton was sharp in Game 6, making 30 saves as the Flyers won 2-1, with the Bruins only goal coming in the final minute off the stick of Milan Lucic.

Coming into Game 7, only two other teams had fought back from an 0-3 deficit, the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1942 Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings, and the 1975 New York Islanders in the second round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders nearly repeated the feat in the 1975 semifinals but lost Game 7 to the Flyers. 

Game 7 at TD Garden would be a microcosm of series as a whole as the Bruins jumped out to a fast 3-0 lead as Lucic scored twice in the first period. James van Riemsdyk scored later in the first period to get the Flyers back on the game. In the second period, the Flyers tied the game on goals by Scott Hartnell and Daniel Briere. In the third period, the Bruins got caught with too many men on the ice. On the ensuing power play, Simon Gagne scored with 7:08 left to give the Flyers a 4-3. A lead that would stand up as Michael Leighton kept the Bruins out of the net, winning the game and the series. 

The Flyers would move on to beat the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Finals but lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Bruins would rebound in 2011, winning the Stanley Cup along the way they would sweep the Flyers in the second round. 

In 2014, the Los Angeles Kings became the fourth team to win a series after trailing 0-3. It has never been done in the NBA and was only done one in MLB when the Boston Red Sox stunned the New York Yankees in the 2004 ALCS.