The Philadelphia Flyers overcame a 3-0 deficit on Friday night to steal a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Boston Bruins at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, MA and eliminated the the Bruins from the 2010 NHL playoffs. With the win, the Flyers will now face the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Final that begins on Sunday. In repeating a feat that had only been achieved twice previously in NHL playoff history, former Carolina Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette accomplished what Canes fans know he can do – lead a team to win.
The Flyers lost the first three games of the series with the Bruins and the outlook was bleak that they would not survive past the Conference semi-final round. Facing elimination and a daunting task in trying to come back as only two other teams had done before (1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders), the Flyers dug down deep and by the end of Friday night’s game, became the third team in history to accomplish the come-from-behind feat. Laviolette used a motivational talk during a key timeout that he called during Friday’s Game 7 when the Flyers trailed the Bruins 3-0, to get his team back on track.
After game 5, the Flyers were trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven series and had just found out that starting goaltender Brian Boucher injured his knee and could not play for at least a month. Backup goaltender, Michael Leighton, was called in to fill Boucher’s spot. However, Leighton had not played since March as he too had been coming back from an ankle injury. Leighton had been acquired by the Flyers in December after he was placed on waivers by the Carolina Hurricances. He got off to a tremendous 8-0-1 start with the Flyers, and showed he was capable of helping the team to be successful as a starter.
Motivational coaching and role playing
Ironically enough, Leighton was picked up just after Laviolette had started with the Flyers in December. Having coached Leighton with the Carolina Hurricanes, Laviolette knew what he was capable of doing when needed. While with the Hurricanes Leighton compiled an 8-12 record (28-25-4 with Albany) and proved that he was a solid back-up, but also showed that he could take on starting responsibilities. In preparing Leighton to play before Game 6, Laviolette told Leighton: “You worked hard to get back to this. It’s your show now.”
With those words, Leighton played his role in helping the Flyers advance to the Eastern Conference Final by winning the remaining two games of the series. During Friday’s Game 7, down 3-0 and facing elimination, Peter Laviolette played his role as the coach by calling a key timeout to re-focus his team. The rest as they say, is history as the Flyers played on to win the game 4-3.