Berube remembers Flyers' rally from 0-2 deficit against Pittsburgh

Flyers' Jeff Carter checks the Penguins' Kris Letang during the first period.
Flyers' Jeff Carter checks the Penguins' Kris Letang during the first period.
Posted: April 22, 2009

Stanley Cup playoff statistics show that a team that falls behind in a series 2-0 has very little chance of winning.

And certainly, the Flyers' 3-1, Game 4 loss last night to Pittsburgh is going to make their task that much more difficult.

In the last 20 series played in the NHL, every team that lost the first two games lost the series. For the Flyers, coming back from 0-2 has been done only twice in 13 attempts.

Two of the players from the 2000 Flyers team that came back and beat Pittsburgh after losing the first two at home, are still with the Flyers.

Simon Gagne was a rookie that year and Craig Berube a veteran player. Berube is now an assistant coach and Gagne is the vet. Both said yesterday it is as difficult as it is being made out to be, but both remember it being done.

"It's hard," Berube said before last night's game, which put the Flyers in a 3-1 series hole. "It's very hard. It's an uphill battle playing a real good team like Pittsburgh that's real competitive. They're not only talented but [Sidney] Crosby and [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sergei] Gonchar, they're competitive guys, [Marc-Andre] Fleury, all of them. They play hard. I'm impressed. It's not an easy test, for sure.

"But our guys, our leaders, they're positive, they believe they can win it. That's just their mentality. It's the same as 2000. We had a lot of good leaders and good veterans and we believed we could win."

According to the way Berube remembers the series, it was not the losses at home that got talked about going out to Pittsburgh for Games 3 and 4, it was the brawl at the end of the second game.

"We actually still thought we could win even though everyone was all depressed," he said. "We were actually mad. Remember, we brawled after that [Game 2] here.

"The reason that happened was because [Rick] Tocchet was mad at that [Tyler Wright] for something he did on the ice. So we all went out there and had a little melee.

"All the focus went on that. We were all a bunch of goons and dummies for doing that. So it wasn't really on the game itself. So we went into Pittsburgh and ended up winning a close game and got back in it."

Game 4 was the historic, five-overtime game that was won by Keith Primeau with a shot coming off the wing. Pittsburgh was never the same and the series swung on that win.

"When we came back here after that five-overtime, they had nothing left. [Jaromir] Jagr had nothing left. He quit. He really did . . . well, not that he quit. He had nothing left and we ended up beating them here and it was over," Berube remembered."

"I liked our game the other night," Berube added, referring to Game 3. "It was hard and physical and [Pittsburgh] never packed it in, they battled and we ended up coming out on top, good win.

"When you've got a team like Pittsburgh and they come in our rink like they did the other night and stand up a lot of times, if you don't get the bounces you go down 3-0. That's what happens because they smell it and they want to end it. But it didn't happen. We beat them."

Gagne, like Berube, sees the two series as difficult to compare.

"It's completely different," Gagne said. "We did lose the first two games at home and came back and won the next two. It's maybe the same emotion on both teams because it's Pittsburgh and Philly, but at the same time we have a different team than we had in 2000.

"In playoffs, it's hard to win two games in a row, three games in a row. When you get down by two games, it means at one point you're going to have to win games in a row, maybe three games in a row.''

Now, that is exactly what the Flyers must do. *

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