Philadelphia Flyers. New York Rangers. Game Six. Win, and the Flyers force Game 7. Lose, and our season is over.
As I do with every game, I donned my orange and black shirt in support of the team. Over the course of the day, I saw my fellow comrades wearing their orange and black as well. As we caught each other’s attention, we smiled and gave a familiar nod. Each interaction today had the same message: “We got this.”
I go to school outside of Philadelphia and one of the major cultural shocks is how unaware some people are of what sports mean to us. I have been ridiculed for referring to my teams as “we.”
“We got a big game coming up.”
“We can’t loose him. He’s our heart and soul.”
“We got this.”
It always has and always will be “we.” The Flyers have put together a season to remember. They have played the underdog the whole season. When Claude Giroux proclaimed we would make the playoffs, most people laughed. This is familiar territory for the orange and black. We are used to the underdog role. We actually love it.
Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center, with the season on the line, the Flyers will hope to play their best game of the year. They will need to attack from the first drop of the puck. The Rangers may have the better system but determination and an unyielding attitude has upset the odds.
Erik Gustafsson will make his first appearance in this year’s playoffs. The 25-year-old defenseman replaces Hal Gill. Gustafsson has seen limited action during the season, but head coach Craig Berube inserted him into the lineup to give the offense a spark. The forward lines remained intact during Tuesday’s morning skate.
Steve Mason will make the start for the Flyers. He is 1-1 with a .935 save percentage and a 1.92 goals against average.