PHILADELPHIA - MAY 24: The Philadelphia Flyers celebrate after defeating the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 4-2 to win Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals and to advance to the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Wachovia Center on May 24, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Montreal: 2 - Philladelphia: 4 (Flyers Win Series 4-1)
And so the clock has struck midnight in Montreal.
Since the NHL switched to it's playoff format of needing four series wins to claim a Stanley Cup, 12 teams that have won their first two series going the full seven games failed to win the third series they played in, so the odds were greatly stacked against the Canadiens before this series even started. Not to mention the Flyers were facing the prospects of getting someone like Jeff Carter back in the series and Michael Leighton was playing as well as any goalie remaining in the playoffs.
Montreal players, coaches and their fans should be very proud because never in a hundred years would anyone have thought the Habs would have beaten both the Capitals and Penguins back to back. Not with their small-ish forward set that has been the butt of many jokes from hockey fans all season, not with what pretty much amounts to a no-name defense with their number one defenseman in Andrei Markov out with an injury, and not with Jaroslav Halak in goal. Yet it did happen and it should be a very interesting summer in Montreal as Halak now enters it without a contract and considering before the playoffs started the feeling was that it was Carey Price that would be the man going forward and Halak on the way out.
But tonight is of course about the Flyers who equally have defied all odds and naysayers themselves over the last two months and are now four wins away from the Stanley Cup. For as much as we all want to hate the guy, how can one not at least tip their hat to someone like Chris Pronger who has been an anchor for the Philadelphia defense and has shown just how effective he can be when he doesn't take stupid penalties.
Do these Flyers have a chance against the Blackhawks come Saturday night when the Stanley Cup final starts? I'm sure most feel they don't.
Truth be told, I didn't think they were going to beat the Rangers in game 82 to make the playoffs, nor did I think they'd beat the Atlantic division champion Devils nor did I think they'd beat the Bruins before that series started and I sure as hell didn't think they'd beat them after going down 0-3... So I guess what I am saying here is that betting against them isn't maybe the smartest thing to do really.