Is Flyers' historic win a sign something special is unfolding?
Less than two weeks ago, Scott Hartnell was known as the player who foolishly threw his glove at Tampa Bay's Ryan Malone as he skated in on a breakaway in the closing seconds.
Tonight, he was known as the player who sparked the greatest late-game comeback in the Flyers' 41-year history.
Hartnell's fourth career hat trick led the Flyers to a shocking 6-5 shoot-out win over the Carolina Hurricanes at the Wachovia Center.
The Flyers faced a 5-1 deficit entering the third period, then got two goals from Hartnell and single tallies from Scottie Upshall and Simon Gagne. Gagne's goal, with 1:44 left in regulation, forced the OT.
The Flyers dominated the scoreless OT, then won it in the shoot-out as Gagne and Mike Richards scored, while Antero Niittymaki stopped two shots.
The Flyers had overcome a four-goal deficit and recorded a win in just one other game in their history. They erased a 5-1 deficit and beat the host Red Wings, 11-6, in a 1988 contest in which Murray Craven and Mark Howe scored two goals apiece. (Current assistant Craig "Chief" Berube was one of the Flyers' scorers that night, as was Dave Brown, who is now in the club's front office.)
But the Flyers faced just a 6-4 deficit at the start of that 1988 game's third period, so tonight's stunner marked the best late-game comeback in history.
Maybe it's two early, but it looks like something special is unfolding for the Flyers, who are 11-1-3 in their last 15 games.
Forget the club's record. The thing that's most impressive thing about the Flyers right now is the way they have bought into coach John Stevens' system and how they refuse to quit in games.
Down 5-1, most teams would have packed it in. Instead, the Flyers swarmed and played what Hartnell rightfully called "our best period of the year."
Will they have enough in the tank when they host the Penguins in a delicious-looking matinee Saturday?