SWEPT AWAY by the roaring orange river of diehards flooding down the Wachovia Center escalators after the Flyers' sudden-death win in Game 3, Broad Street Bully hopes our backs-to-the-wall boys do it again tonight for thousands of true believers like these:
KEEP ON TRUCKIN': "My father, Joe 'Rock' Giovanetti, of South Philly, is the biggest Flyers fan on the face of the earth," said daughter Monica, 29, offering her dad's incredibly Flyered-up Dodge Ram truck as proof.
Giovanetti, 62, returned from Vietnam in 1968, married his South Philly sweetheart, Linda, and was watching roller derby on TV at a big family dinner when an uncle said, "Why are you watching this? We could be watching the Flyers."
Giovanetti said, "What's the Flyers?"
"They switched channels," Monica said, "and my dad has been hooked ever since. We were among the first to have PRISM. Everyone gathered at our house to watch Flyers games. It was a big Italian family affair."
In 2000, Giovanetti got a new truck and had his friend, Fred Sicoli, from Killer Kreations, custom-paint it with beautifully detailed Flyers hockey action.
Monica - who shares section 214 season tickets with three siblings - and her dad go to games together.
"Every year, I say to my dad that I will live to see the Flyers win the Cup again," she said. "And every year, he says to me, 'I hope I am right there with you.' Hopefully, this is our year!"
HE TALKS TO KATE: "I always ask for Kate Smith's help before I go to home games," wrote lifelong fan Ed Slivak, 47, of Summerdale in Northeast Philadelphia, enclosing a photo of himself schmoozing Kate's statue in front of the Spectrum.
"It seems to be working."
When Lauren Hart (live) and Kate (on the giant scoreboard TV) sing "God Bless America" together, Slivak said, "I cry tears of Orange and Black.
"It reminds me of going to so many games with my best friend, [the late] John Brutosky. I am sure John is watching this Stanley Cup run. Rest in peace, my friend."
CUP BABY IN OVEN? Ian Jenkins, 32, of Oreland, Montgomery County, a Flyers lifer and season-ticket holder, said he has grown "a nice, thick playoff beard" and "never lost confidence" during this gut-wrenching, roller-coaster season and postseason. "We are expecting our third child this month," Jenkins said. "Our first two kids were born two weeks early and I'm expecting no different with the third. Back in October, I joked with my wife, Lesley, that we would be having the baby during Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and if it was a boy, we'd name him 'Stanley.' Well, it will be a boy, so I held up my end of the bargain. Can the Flyers hold up theirs? Flyers in seven!"