Over the last three months, the Flyers have been a resilient bunch that has thrived on being the underdog.
But they sure would appreciate being recognized as only the second team in modern NHL history to go from worst in the league one year to the conference finals the next. The Detroit Red Wings did it in 1987.
"I was a little disappointed with the quotes I saw" from the Canadiens after the series victory over Montreal, Flyers center
said yesterday. "When you win a series in five games, at some point you had to do something well. But that's the way it has been for us all year."
"There might be some truth to that," Flyers coach
said, referring to the Canadiens' saying that they had outplayed the Flyers. "That's because [goalie]
stole Game 2 and 3.
"I felt in Game 4 we started to show we could skate with them and mount an attack. And in Game 5, we kept getting better and better. We got down, but we were equally as good an offensive team as them, maybe a little bit better to come from behind and win it.
"We have every right to be here . . . and we deserve to be here."
When the Flyers played the Washington Capitals in the first round, the talk was all about
Against the Canadiens, it was about brothers
, and goalie
Now, against Pittsburgh in the conference finals, it will be about Penguins stars
"Everybody's talking about the turnaround Montreal had this year," Briere said. "It would be nice to be the favorites [against Pittsburgh]. But that's what we've been dealing with so far in the playoffs.
"I wouldn't say we're more comfortable [as underdogs]. I would rather be where people expect you to win. . . . It's not going to change now. We like a little adversity. It makes us play well."
was still cherishing the moment of scoring the game-winning goal Saturday in Montreal that eliminated the Canadiens. Until this spring, the 24-year-old winger had played in only two playoff games as a Nashville Predator.
"To have that happen in the playoffs, it was something new to me," Upshall said. "I haven't been in too many games like this in my career."
Half a minute
So how long will it take for the Flyers and Penguins to show their dislike for each other?
"You look at Washington, you look at Montreal, it took a game and a half to get the emotions involved into the games," Biron said. "I think against Pittsburgh, it will be a half minute and things will get going. They might not want to say that. They might not feel the same way, but that's how things will go.
"It's going to be fun hockey again, and that is what playoffs are about."