When this wacky series started, the Stanley Cup favorites, the Pittsburgh Penguins, did the unthinkable - blowing multiple-goal leads at home as they lost Games 1 and 2.
Now the Flyers have a chance to make the Penguins pay for their grievous beginning.
On Sunday, at high noon, the Flyers will try to end Pittsburgh's season at the Wells Fargo Center.
It won't be easy.
After three straight losses, the March of the Penguins is in full throttle. Pittsburgh has won two straight and, with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury carrying a wave of momentum into Game 6, the Flyers have a major challenge.
They are embracing it.
"Pressure? I hope so because I love pressure," high-scoring Flyers center Claude Giroux said after the team's 3-2 loss in Game 5 Friday. "If the pressure's on us, that's good."
The Flyers outplayed the Penguins in the first and last periods Friday in Pittsburgh. They won the special-teams battle, 2-1. They held Penguins stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin pointless.
Yet they lost because Fleury stole the game.
"He stood on his head," Penguins defenseman Kris Letang said.
Fleury was especially strong in the final period, making 14 saves, including seven while the Flyers had a power play.
"You've got to build on some positive things, and I think the last 12, 13 minutes, we were all over him," winger Scott Hartnell said during a news conference Saturday at the Flyers' training facility in Voorhees. "We were determined, we were skating, we were physical."
Hartnell, whose team has tied a franchise playoff record with 11 power-play goals in the series, said the difference between a win and loss Friday was "a couple blown coverages" where the team was "standing around and watching them. That's when those guys are going to pick you apart. [Jordan] Staal's line can cycle, they can hit, they can create space for themselves. That's been the line that's done the most damage."
Staal leads NHL playoff scorers with six goals - one more than Giroux, who tops the league with 11 points.
Both teams say they haven't given their top performance yet in the series.
"We're due for a great 60-minute, all-around game," Giroux said.
Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma, who said his team needs to play with more discipline than it showed on Friday, said the Penguins are "still looking for our very best in Game 6."
Fleury, the goalie who had a 6.34 goals-against average in the first three games, was at his best in Game 5.
"He just looks like he's having fun," Crosby said. "When he's at his best, he's enjoying himself out there."
Fleury "was our best penalty killer," Letang said. "We were never worried about his confidence. You guys made a big deal about him earlier in the series because of the high scores, but I don't think it's something we have to look at. We were not playing very well in front of him. He's always the same guy. Confident. And he'll play the same the next game."
If he does, there will be a lot of nervous Flyers fans wondering if the Penguins can become the fourth team in NHL history to win a series after losing the first three games.
Flyers' record in Game 6's: 18-18
Flyers' record in home Game 6's: 7-8
Flyers' record in series when winning Game 6: 14-4
Flyers' record in series when losing Game 6: 6-12
Penguins' record in Game 6's: 13-13
Penguins' record in road Game 6's: 7-7
Penguins' record in series when winning Game 6: 13-0.
Penguins' record in series when losing Game 6: 1-12
Flyers' record in Game 7's: 9-6
Flyers' record in road Game 7's: 4-3
Penguins' record in Game 7's: 7-6
Penguins' record in home Game 7's: 2-6
- Sam CarchidiEndText