EVEN AFTER the Flyers lost in overtime in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals last night, fans showered the team with admirations and chants of "Let's go, Flyers."
"It was killer. The Flyers played a great game," said Steve Loncki, of New Castle, Del. "They did us proud all year long."
The talk inside the Wachovia Center after the game among dazed fans was how nobody saw the game-winning goal sneak past Flyers goalie Michael Leighton to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 win and the Cup.
"When have you ever not seen the light go on, when have you ever not seen the replay?" said Jerry Scheliga, of Blue Bell.
"It was a very odd ending," said his friend, Brian Anmuth, of South Jersey, "it was like a dull thud."
But Scheliga and other disappointed fans were still happy with how far the Flyers got this season. "They got a lot further than anybody gave them credit for," Scheliga said.
BOOED BY HIS OWN: Jerry, 52, a pediatric dentist from Chicago who was so paranoid that he wouldn't give the Daily News his last name, appeared to be a Flyers fan, dressed in an orange button-down shirt and carrying a bag of Flyers freebies.
So when he approached a group of Blackhawks fans, he seemed to be an ambassador of good sportsmanship for Philadelphia. But he had a dark secret to reveal.
"I'm a Chicago fan incognito," he said. "My friends came for Games 3 and 4 and were punched, so my wife made me play it cool and wear a little orange."
The group of Chicago fans he approached, led by Debbie Lane, 37, booed Jerry when he told them his secret.
Lane, who drove 777 miles to attend last night's game, said she and her friends hadn't gotten too much hell from Flyers fans.
"Your Highway 76 is worse than your fans," she said of the Schuylkill Expressway.
SIGN OF THE TIMES: Vito D'Amelio, 38, and his daughter, Kailee, 10, were getting mad props from female Flyers fans last night.
Kailee walked around the Wachovia Center carrying a sign that read: "I wear skirts and I like to play hockey. Sorry?"
Kailee said her dad gave her the idea for the sign after reading of the poster that appeared in the Chicago Tribune this week of Chris Pronger in a skirt with a headline that read: "Chrissy Pronger. Looks like Tarzan. Skates like Jane."
NORTHERN BRETHREN: Lou Brzozowski and his two buddies, all from Ontario, were hard to miss in their Canadian-flag umbrella hats and Flyers shirts. Brzozowski hung a sign around his neck that read: "Canada loves Flyers hockey."
"We're the hugest, greatest Flyers fans in Canada," he said. "If we weren't living there, we'd be living in Philly."
The three men, two of whom drove 10 hours overnight to get to Game 6, were laden with tons of free Flyers gear.
"You guys are giving us so much stuff we don't know what the hell to do with it," Brzozowski said. "Now just give us free beer and we'll be all right."