Mark Stuart #45, Michael Ryder #73, Johnny Boychuk #55 and...

Mark Stuart #45, Michael Ryder #73, Johnny Boychuk #55 and Daniel Paille #20 of the Boston Bruins congratulate Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. (May 14, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

News that the NHL's Boston Bruins lost Game 7 of their playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday brought a smile to the faces of some Yankees fans.

The Bruins, you see, blew a 3-0 series lead. And had a 3-0 lead in the first period of Game 7. At home. In Boston. And lost.

It doesn't make up for the 2004 Yankees, who are the only baseball team in history to lead a postseason series 3-0 and not win it. Some consider that ALCS collapse to the Red Sox the worst in professional sports history. But the Yankees never led in Game 7. They fell behind 6-0 in the first two innings behind Kevin Brown and Javier Vazquez and got waxed by the Red Sox, 10-3.

The Bruins had a 3-0 lead in the first period Friday, which is kind of like having a 6-0 lead in baseball. And they lost, 4-3, on a power-play goal by Simon Gagne after drawing a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty, which is sort of like losing a baseball playoff series on a walk and three balks.

So does it mean the Bruins' collapse is worse than the 2004 Yankees' collapse? "Yes. Definitely. Sure," said John Flaherty, the former Yankees catcher and current YES broadcaster who was a member of the 2004 team.


"Because I remember Game 7 against Boston," Flaherty said. "Kevin Brown was pitching and there was a lot of concern that we weren't in good shape going into that game. When you're up 3-0 in an NHL game in Game 7, you're looking forward to playing defense and kind of going to the four corners, if you will. I can't imagine losing the game, but being up 3-0 in that game's got to hurt."

Flaherty said it will take the Bruins a long time to get over what happened Friday night.

"You're numb," he said. "You're in disbelief that it was only a couple days ago that you were feeling in total charge of a series and it slips away. I remember just feeling incredible momentum changes in that series when we lost a couple of those extra-inning games. But I think the day after, it's just total disbelief. You're numb. And it takes a long time to get rid of it."

The only other NHL teams to win a series after trailing 3-0 were the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, who beat Detroit, and the 1975 Islanders, who eliminated Pittsburgh.

"The bottom line is we had a 3-0 lead in the series, we had a 3-0 lead [in Game 7] and we blew them both," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "We have to take the responsibility that goes with it. Everyone."

Of course, as much as Boston is hurting, Philadelphia is jubilating. That's the other side of these comeback stories. The team that comes back gets to celebrate and carries a wave of momentum into the next round, which for the Flyers is the Eastern Conference finals against Montreal starting Sunday night.

"This is like a storybook," Flyers chairman Ed Snider said. "How can you go down 3-0 in their barn and come back and beat them 4-3? How can you come back from 0-3 in games and beat them 4-3? These guys are unbelievable. They just won't quit. They're incredible."

With AP

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