For one night, normalcy was restored in the hockey world.
As the "Fire Bettman" and "We want hockey" chants rained down to the Art Dorrington Ice Rink on Saturday evening at the Boardwalk Hall, people got a sense that this lockout just has to end.
For one night, Flyers, Rangers, Devils and even a few Penguins and Islanders fans were united with a select handful of other fans in Atlantic City's historic Boardwalk Hall. They were there for Operation Hat Trick, a charity game featuring 90% of the Atlantic Division's current and former star players, all still active in the NHL.
In all, 10,792 fans showed up, selling out the venue. It was the first sellout for a hockey event in Atlantic City since 1933.
Today, the Philadelphia Flyers announced the signing of LW Scott Hartnell to a six-year contract extension. The signing comes after Hartnell’s most productive season in the NHL (37 G, 30 A), where he earned himself a spot on the top line as well as a trip to the All-Star Game.
Hartnell has been with the Flyers since the 2007-2008 season, after he was traded - along with Kimmo Timonen - from the Nashville Predators. He signed a six-year, $25.2 million contract with the Flyers almost immediately after coming to Philadelphia, a contract that would have expired at the end of next season.
The Philadelphia Flyers will have to win or go home tonight as they are on the brink of elimination for the first time in this season's playoffs when they host the New Jersey Devils in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals.
They will be doing so without the NHL's leading goal scorer in this year's playoffs, Claude Giroux.
( 4 ) PITTSBURGH PENGUINS vs. ( 5 ) PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
Bloodbath. That's the word that Flyers forward Scott Hartnell used to describe the mindset of these two teams heading into this series. Some of us here at The Checking Line may be proponents of pacifism and the reduction of violence in hockey, but even we get a kick about what's probably going to happen between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in this first round match-up. The two teams set up their series in a game in the final week of the season, and if that was any indication, this one shouldn't disappoint. Expect a lot of violence, lots of scoring, contr...
Hard hitting, desperation saves and a little bit of extra-curricular activities sprinkled in.
Perhaps, it was a look at what the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals has in store for the Flyers and Penguins. 60 minutes of full throttle hockey with the addition of the playoffs, and the hockey world will be in store for another classic Flyers/Penguins series.
Sunday afternoon's battle - as well as one more game next Saturday afternoon to finish the season - was a preview of the almost inevitable 4/5-seed match up between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
In Philadelphia, spring is in the air you can hear the birds sing during the day and the crickets chirp at night. The weather is starting to warm up now, Major League Baseball's spring training has already begun and the Philadelphia Flyers are getting in playoff mode.
The feeling arrived this weekend during back-to back matinee games starting with the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.
Making Ilya Bryzgalov the story for every game has become tiresome to the fans, the front office and Bryzgalov himself.
But when he does something as special as he's done the past couple of weeks, it's hard to just take all the focus away from the Russian netminder, nicknamed the $51 Million Man.
The Flyers have been winning, and they have been playing a brand of hockey many expected them to play down the stretch. Scoring, defense and goaltending - those are the three things that win championships.
So why does the focus all come back to Bryzgalov? Because of the franchise shutout streak that he just broke that stood tall for 13 years midway through the second period.
Meeting for the second time in three days, the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils will close out a home-and-home set when they faceoff tonight at Wells Fargo Center.
In their meeting on Sunday, Martin Brodeur and a tight Devils defensive scheme held the Flyers in check for two thirds of the game until Claude Giroux tied it just sixteen seconds into the third period.
That would last all of 2:30 seconds as Anton Volchenkov scored to give the Devils the lead and they never looked back.