The Fourth Day of Claudemas: Dealing with a Game 4

Here we are in December with little to do in this tough lockout time. What’s a blog to do? Well, it looks like a 12 Days of Christmas-themed series of posts is the way to go. But, we realize that all of you hockey fans aren’t into Christmas, so we’ve named it after the man nicknamed Orange Jesus and called it Claudemas.

On the fourth day of Claudemas, Flyers Faithful gave to me…a Game 4 experience from Steve J!

I’ve only ever attended one playoff game, and indeed that was a Game 4, one like no other. The fourth in a best-of-seven series is typically associated with a sweep: a cold, devastating end to what was once a promising playoff run. This particular Game 4, on Friday, May 7, 2010 was no different.

The Flyers had easily taken down their longtime nemesis, the New Jersey Devils, in five games in the first round. Expectations were riding high, even with injuries to Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter. Then, the Flyers narrowly lost the first two games in Boston. A third loss in Philadelphia put them on the brink.

There wasn’t much reason for me to hope as I made my way down to the Wells Fargo Center that night. The one silver lining was the return of Simon Gagne. I met with my friends and hoped that the Flyers could at least win a game out of pride. No one likes getting swept. You may have put up a fight, but it sure as hell won’t show in the history books.

The crowd had a good energy, despite the impossible odds of a series victory. Sadly, it was the former Flyer (a personal favorite of mine) Mark Recchi that would strike first for the Bruins. The Flyers came roaring back and tied it shortly thereafter. Tensions remained high throughout the game.

The Flyers took a late lead thanks to a Ville Leino goal with 5:40 left. The crowd went nuts, of course. As the minutes ticked down it looked like the Flyers were going to at least get one game in this hard fought series. And then Dr. Recchi whipped out his scalpel and made the first cut in the Flyers’ presumptive corpse.

With under a minute left, Recchi had tied the game and depressed the hell out of everyone. We were headed to an unwanted overtime, where sudden death meant exactly that. The Flyers would have to fight some more, just to see another day. I slumped in my seat and wondered if I’d have to sleep at the stadium.

We didn’t have to wait long for our answer, but the minutes that we did were intense. There really is nothing quite like overtime playoff hockey. You live and die with every shot. And who was it that gave the Flyers one more chance to live? None other than Gagne, in his first game back from injury. We went nuts. We would have at least one more game to watch. We had no idea that the Flyers would go on to actually do the impossible and complete the 3-0 comeback, but at that moment we didn’t care. Our longest-serving veteran had given us new life.

What a game, what a night, and what a great thing to associate with the number four!