There are only four survivors.
Four players who last played on the Flyers in a Game 7.
And it was only as recent as 2011, when Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen played a Game 7 at Wells Fargo Center against Buffalo.
Coincidentally, they are also the same four survivors of the historic Game 7 against Boston in 2010 at TD Garden.
No one else on Craig Berube’s roster has experienced a Game 7 in a Flyers uniform.
The Flyers have never played a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden. Wednesday night, against the Rangers, they will.
“If we win Game 7, it’s going to feel even more special because it’s over there,” said team captain Claude Giroux. “We’ve got to take that as a motivation.”
Everyone treats Game 7s differently.
In 2004, coach Ken Hitchcock stared into a dressing room with a veteran group of players facing a final hurrah as Flyers that included Tony Amonte, Keith Primeau, Mark Recchi, John LeClair and Jeremy Roenick. It was a team so banged up it had Sami Kapanen on defense.
Hitchcock told them to “embrace the moment,” because they may never get another shot.
“Game 7s are a wonderful gift,” Hitchcock said. “You should feel proud to play in these kind of games.”
Tonight, it’s Craig Berube’s turn.
“I think it’s the same as [Game 6],” Berube replied, when asked what he’ll say to his players. “We need to come out and we need to be an aggressive hockey team [tonight] and play with a lot of passion and energy.
“You want to move on? You’ve got to give everything you got. Give everything you’ve got [tonight], everything. We can’t have anybody not giving everything they got every shift [tonight].”
Berube’s last Game 7 as a Flyer was the 2000 Eastern Conference finals against New Jersey. It would be the last game Eric Lindros ever played in a Flyers uniform after being crushed by Scott Stevens during the 2-1 loss.
Unlike the Boston series a few years ago, the Flyers didn’t rally from an 0-3 series deficit to force a Game 7 against the Rangers. It’s been back and forth the entire series.
“I don’t think it matters how you get to Game 7,” Berube said. “We’re there and that was our goal and we accomplished one goal and we’ve got to go in and accomplish another one and that’s the way we look at it.
“We all talked about getting to that game. We’re there now. So we’ve got to prepare ourselves to go win a game and that’s about it. I don’t think it matters how you get there.”
History is on the Flyers side. Sort of.
The Flyers have won their last three Game 7s – vs. Buffalo, vs. Boston, and vs. Washington in the 2008 Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Interestingly, their 2004 Game 7 loss at Tampa Bay to John Tortorella’s Lightning, a series in which Vinny Lecavalier played, was also the last series the Flyers played in -- until this one -- in which neither team was able to win consecutive games.
That’s one streak the Flyers want to break tonight. That’s also one streak the Rangers want to keep going.
Young defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who has the Flyers' only goal in this series coming out of the penalty box, was big-eyed talking about the moment about to come.
“It’s going to be unreal,” Gustafsson said. “I’ve been watching the games up there. It’s been pretty intense. The atmosphere has been unreal so I’m just going to try to soak that in as well and we’ve just got to come in and play a full 60-minute effort.”
Jakub Vorcaek has never played in a Game 7 in the NHL.
“It’s come down to the one game,” he said. “Obviously it’s been a long series. We won there before. We’ve just got to play the kind of game we did [in Game 6] and be good on the puck and be good on the power play. Hopefully we will get a win.”
Giroux and others have been saying all through this first round how important it was for the Flyers to have faced so much adversity this season, going back to their 1-7 start, and their long climb back into the playoff picture.
They feel they’ve overcome odds and tonight’s game is just one more obstacle to deal with.
“They’re used to it,” Berube said. “Since I’ve taken over, they obviously had a tough start, it’s been an uphill climb the whole time.
“They’ve played a lot of hockey where their backs have been against the wall and they’re used to it. It’s in them they have good character, we’ve got the same test [tonight].”
The Flyers are 1-1 when facing elimination at Madison Square Garden. They lost the third game of a three-game preliminary round series, 9-3, on April 9, 1983 and won Game 4 of the 1986 Patrick Division semifinal, 7-1, on April 14, 1986.
This is the first Flyers playoff series to go six games without requiring overtime since the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals vs. New Jersey, which the Flyers lost in seven. It’s just the eighth Flyers playoff series all-time to go at least six games without an overtime.
Wayne Simmonds had a hat trick in Game 6 (see story / montage). The last Flyer to record a hat trick against the Rangers (regular season) was Simon Gagne on Dec. 30, 2009. Eric Lindros had a hat trick in Game 3 the last time these teams met in the playoffs back in 1997, when the Flyers won the conference and then were swept by Detroit in the Stanley Cup Final.