Flyers Headed to the Stanley Cup Finals

Team wins Eastern Conference Championship for first time since 1997

By Dan Gelston
|  Monday, May 24, 2010  |  Updated 10:43 PM EDT
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RAW: Fans Celebrate Flyers Win at Cottman and Frankford

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PHILADELPHIA - MAY 24: Jeff Carter #17 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates with Mike Richards #18 and members of his team after scoring a goal in the second period against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wachovia Center on May 24, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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Richards on Cup: Forget the Superstition

The Philadelphia Flyers proudly march back to the locker room after winning the 2010 Eastern Conference Championship.
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The Stanley Cup finals are back in orange and black.

Led by players who stormed back this postseason from injury and a colossal deficit, the Philadelphia Flyers have rekindled some of their old "Broad Street Bullies" championship days and can win their first Stanley Cup since 1975.

Mike Richards scored an empty-netter in a most bruising fashion, Arron Asham and Jeff Carter scored goals 84 seconds apart in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals and the Flyers beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 on Monday night to advance to their first Cup finals since 1997.

The Flyers, who needed a shootout win in the last game of the season to clinch a playoff spot, will play the Western Conference champion Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 on Saturday.

Michael Leighton allowed a goal 59 seconds into the game, then shut down the Canadiens, who showed a resilient comeback spirit in the first two rounds.

The Flyers took a 3-1 lead into the third period, leaving the final 20 minutes as one raucous coronation party. Nearly 20,000 giddy fans dressed in pumpkin-orange giveaway T-shirts chanted "Let's Go Flyers!" but couldn't exhale until the end.

"I was counting down the clock the last 2 minutes, I couldn't wait for it to wind down," Leighton said. "Last couple of minutes we did a great job."

Once Carter scored the empty-netter in the final seconds, the crowd exploded in a championship frenzy.

The finals seem a fitting result for a Flyers organization that still has some  "Broad Street Bullies" in their bloodlines.

Forget dropping the gloves: This year's Flyers have shown an awesome ability to fight back on guts alone. Down 3-0 in the conference semifinals vs. Boston and trailing 3-0 in Game 7, the Flyers rallied to win in one of the sport's all-time great comebacks.

"We kept going and didn't quit. Down 0-3 we didn't quit all year that has been our motto. It feels good especially for the fans," Richards said. "It's been great so far. It's been great along the way. The journey hasn't ended. Hopefully we have a Cinderella story in the end, but we need to prepare for Chicago."

Carter, Simon Gagne and Ian Laperriere all pushed through potential series-ending injuries to return earlier than expected and deliver a shot at the Stanley Cup to Philadelphia.

"It's a great feeling. We got a great team here, a great bunch of guys I'm proud of every one of them," Leighton said. "I said right from the beginning of the year, we just got to get in the playoffs and anything can happen. That's a tough team over there and we just played great."

For all the knocks Philly takes as a title-starved sports town, all four major pro teams have made the championship round of their sport in the last 10 years. The Phillies in 2008 have won Philadelphia's only championship since 1983.

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