Peter Laviolette is screaming again, but this time, it’s not as he daydreams about throttling Dan Bylsma to death. It’s out of joy, which is very clear if you look at the picture and squint while looking at it upside-down.
Sure, Lavy’s “celebratory” face is the same as his “hatchet murder” face. But tonight, we didn’t have to wonder which he was trying to convey. A playoff win is one thing, a playoff road win is another, a playoff road win after overcoming a three goal deficit against intrastate rivals… well! I know somebody whose going to be doing some celebratory hatchet-murdering tonight!
Which of course takes us back to square one.
Entering the second period in Pittsburgh, the Flyers had been victimized three times already, setting the mood for a bitter contest on the ice and a toxic shit-fit-fest on Twitter. One of the goals had even come from Sidney Crosby, whom the NHL treasures so dearly it has considered letting his goals count for triple the amount of one scored by a “normy.”
3-0 in the playoffs can feel like a death sentence, but fortunately, Danny Briere scraped together all the firepower he could find and put the Flyers on the board. And then, one period later, he did it again. Suddenly, we were forced to pay attention, which was kind of annoying, because some of us were watching the game on our phones at work, and the Phillies were scoring a lot, and we were finding it difficult to focus on three things at once.
By the time Brayden Schenn’s goal slapped the back of the net, the Penguins were on the verge of tears.
“Why won’t anyone just let us win?!” they sobbed. But their undignified melancholy fell on deaf, vengeful ears; the Flyers outshot the Pens 13 to 5 from third period into OT.
Two minutes into overtime, Jakob Voracek poked in the winning goal past Penguins goaltender Marc Fleury, and well, Sidney Crosby did not look too happy. Someone’s My Little Pony collection was getting hurled off the dresser tonight.
Across the state, the Phillies were disappointing people again. Fortunately, all of those people played for the Miami Marlins. After a 1-3 start, things were obviously looking grim for the next 158 contests. The home opener had been a bust, the Fish had already scored a run on Roy Halladay, and god damn it, somebody had to do something.
That somebody was Josh Johnson’s baseball glove. The Miami ace offered his assistance to a Phillies’ outburst of runs in the third inning, letting a groundball bounce off his mitt that allowed Juan Pierre to score from second. The game was tied. As luck would have it, the Phillies did not stop scoring runs for some reason. J-Roll singled, Hunter Pence singled, and suddenly there was run support.
But then Freddy Galvis stepped up to the plate. At 22 years old, the Chase Utley replacement has been having issues getting comfortable up there, starting the season 0-for-12. Carlos Ruiz had already been intentionally walked, so Johnson was clearly spitting in the youngster’s face.
“I AM GOING TO HUMILIATE YOU IN FRONT OF ALL OF YOUR FANS,” Johnson most certainly did not yell from the pitcher’s mound, flailing his arms in the air.
As young Freddy fouled off a few pitches, the crowd began to chant… “FREDDY! FREDDY!”
And, to appease the masses, Freddy laced a double into right field, knocking in two runs and letting Phillies fans be comfortable with a lead for the first time all season. Throw in two more runs–one a Ruiz dinger that popped Choochgasms all over the internet–and the Phils pulled off a satisfying 7-1 win.
Slightly further to the north, the Sixers were unfortunate enough to spend the night in Canada. Having lost four straight going into tonight, nobody really wanted to see where this was going. And not just because it went to Canada.
The NBA playoffs are about to start, and once again, the Sixers appear to be one of those teams dangling on the fringes of success by a narrow thread. The third Philadelphia sports team to overcome a deficit in the same night, the Sixers found themselves fiddling with the Raptors, in an initially even contest. Unlike real Raptors, which would have had the advantage over six humans from the first minute, Toronto found themselves scattered, unorganized, and scared.
Things would stay fairly calm for a while, until Jrue Holiday clobbered Jose Calderon in the eye–the same one in which Andre Iguodala clobbered him last week–and the Sixers began to pull away. Thad Young went in for 17 points, and Nikola Vucevic downed 12 with five rebounds. Meanwhile, Iguodala offered the occasional choke-slam just to drive the point home.
The Knicks also won, keeping pace with the Sixers for playoff juggling, but after a four game skid, it was just nice to see them play in a less terrible way.
And so, for only the somewhat humiliating 24th time in history, three Philly sports teams won on the same night. The key to their success? Relentless athleticism. Concentrated support. And as always, Peter Laviolette being seconds away from a vicious crime.