PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Flyers have rekindled some of their old "Broad Street Bullies" championship days and are back in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 13 years.
Mike Richards had a highlight-reel goal early, Arron Asham and Jeff Carter scored 84 seconds apart in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals and the Flyers beat the Montreal Canadiens, 4-2, last night.
The Flyers, who needed a shootout win over the Rangers in the last game of the regular season to clinch a playoff spot, will play the Western Conference champion Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 on Saturday.
The Flyers have not won the Stanley Cup since consecutive titles in 1974 and 1975.
Michael Leighton allowed a goal 59 seconds into the game, then shut down the Canadiens, who showed a resilient comeback spirit in the first two rounds.
The Flyers took a 3-1 lead into the third period, leaving the final 20 minutes as one raucous coronation party.
"I was counting down the clock the last two minutes, I couldn't wait for it to wind down," Leighton said. "Last couple of minutes, we did a great job."
Once Carter scored an empty-netter in the final seconds, the crowd exploded in a championship frenzy.
Richards, their gritty gold medal-winning captain, scored a goal that will surely be shown over and over. Playing shorthanded and just trying to clear the puck from along the boards, Claude Giroux fired the puck about 175 feet down the ice and that sent Richards scrambling.
Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak inexplicably skated toward the top of the circles to try and stop the puck. Richards dived headfirst and slid perfectly between Halak and Canadiens defenseman Roman Hamrlik. The puck squirted away from the crashing Canadiens and Richards tapped it into an empty net to make it 1-1.