About 10 seconds before the puck dropped on Sunday afternoon, Claude Giroux circled by Danny Briere at the Flyers bench.
"He came over to me and said, 'Watch the first shift,' " Briere said after the Flyers eliminated the favored Penguins from the NHL playoffs with a 5-1 rout.
In one 32-second burst, Giroux quelled the fears of a quiet, on-edge capacity crowd at the Wells Fargo Center with a first shift out of a scene in the cult classic flick Slap Shot.
Bodies decorated the ice after three big hits. Giroux drilled superstar Sidney Crosby, then collected a pass in the neutral zone and broke across the Penguins' blue line.
Then, Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup dreams were over before Giroux's perfectly placed shot hit the back of the net. Max Talbot said Giroux "called it."
"From start to finish, he made sure that the Flyers moved on to the second round," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said of Giroux. "When the best player in the world comes up to you and says, 'I don't know who you're planning on starting, but I want that first shift,' that says everything you need to know about Claude Giroux."
It was the first game in this series in which the team that scored first went on to win. By the time Game 6 ended, with a traditional handshake after chants of "You can't beat us" and "We don't like you," the Flyers found themselves one series closer to their first Stanley Cup parade in 37 years.
After jumping out to a choke hold of three games to none, the Flyers knocked off the Penguins, four games to two, in one of the most thrilling best-of-seven series in franchise history. This is the third straight spring the Flyers have advanced past the first round.
"For us, it was a Game 7," Flyers winger Jaromir Jagr said. "It would be tough to lose at home and go back to Pittsburgh."
In addition to Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Erik Gustafsson, Briere, and Brayden Schenn scored goals. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov ended with 30 saves.
The Flyers' opponent for the next round is still to be decided, and there is the possibility of facing any of the six teams remaining in the Eastern Conference. The second round would likely begin on Friday or Saturday, possibly in Philadelphia.
During this round, records were shattered. Goals and knuckles were traded like shares on the stock exchange, and the Flyers collected their first playoff series win over Pittsburgh in three tries in the Crosby era.
Only eight out of 45 randomly polled hockey experts picked the Flyers to top the Penguins in the first round. Now, the Flyers will likely be the favorites against any team they face in the second round with the exception of the New York Rangers.
"I think it's real satisfying to be able to move on against that team," Laviolette said, referring to the Penguins. "At some point, you have to go through really good teams."
Talbot described it best when he said the Flyers played "fast and dangerous." He was referring to Game 6, but he could have been talking about the whole series.
In all, 56 goals were scored in the series - 30 for the Flyers, 26 for Pittsburgh - also a franchise record for a six-game series. The series was just four goals short of becoming one of the top five highest-scoring battles in the NHL's 94-year history.
Despite all the scoring, Bryzgalov - likely the Flyers' biggest question mark heading into the next round - rounded into form by allowing just one goal over the series' last 90 minutes, 7 seconds. The good news is that the remaining six teams in the East scored an average of 49.8 fewer goals than the Penguins this season.
"This was pretty wild," Briere said. "I'm proud of how everybody responded for such a young team after [the] pressure was building up. So many guys sacrificed their bodies. I can't think of one guy who didn't go above and beyond the call of duty. I think, like everyone else, I'm going to remember this series for a long time."