By Tim Panaccio, CSNPhilly.com
What a bizarre way to end a Stanley Cup final.
If ending in overtime wasn't enough, Chicago forward Patrick Kane delivered the knockout blow to the Philadelphia Flyers' season with a goal no one - not even his own teammates - was certain ever went into the net.
"I don't think anyone saw it in the net," said Kane. "I knew it was in. I tried to sell the celebration a bit. Everyone came down, and I think some guys were still kind of a little iffy to see if the puck was in the net."
He shot from the left side. A bad angle of a goal. And worse, it beat Michael Leighton to the far side through the short side.
"There was a guy driving the net and I kinda cheated a little bit," Leighton said. "He put a quick shot on net. It went right under my pads. Everyone was wondering whether it was in. I looked back and saw it was stuck in the net."
Several players called the ending "surreal." Certainly, it was anti-climatic.
"I haven't seen it yet," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. "I didn't see the goal. Things happened quick. It came in off the angle. I saw one of their players skate across the ice like he had won something. I got a little pit in my stomach. But I didn't know it went in."
Chicago players didn't know what to do. The Flyers were preparing for a faceoff that never caqme.
"I thought it was a whistle," centre Danny Briere said. "I was getting ready, waiting for Peter [Laviolette] to send some guys for a defensive zone faceoff. I had no clue, and then all of a sudden I saw guys being confused, a few guys jumping on the ice not knowing what was going on.
"Then all of a sudden, I thought no, that can't be it, they can't win a Stanley Cup not even knowing, not even being sure if you really won it or not. I couldn't even believe that they'd win the Stanley Cup this way. But it doesn't change how much it hurts."
Break Propp's Record: Danny Briere had three points in Game 6 (goal, two assists), giving him 30 points on the post-season. That broke Brian Propp's franchise record (28) for post-season scoring set in 1987. Briere finished with 12 goals.
Gotta Have Heart: From head coach Peter Laviolette on down, the Flyers players talked about how much heart this team had this season.
They went from 14th in the Eastern Conference to the final.
"I'm proud of our team and the way we compete," said coach Peter Laviolette. "The way we played, the way we never quit. We never gave up. They kept fighting."
From Briere ...
"With everything that we were going through, we just believed that this was the way it was supposed to go, just the way it was supposed to happen," Briere said.
"We scored late in the third period to send it to overtime. We just thought we were meant to go back to Chicago. At this point, not too many guys can say much. It just hurts too much."
Chris Pronger, who was a viable Conn Smythe candidate, offered praise, as well
"I'm very proud [of them]," said Pronger, who has won one Cup and lost two since 2006.
"The way we battled to come back time and time again. There was no quit in this team, even tonight. We didn't come out with our best effort but we hung around to give ourselves a chance and got a late goal there.
"We got it to overtime to give ourselves a chance ... We had a couple of chances there in overtime but they were fortunate enough to get one."
Record Scoring: There were 47 goals scored in this series. Chicago had 25 and the Flyers had 22. That's the most in a Stanley Cup final since 1980 when the Flyers and New York Islanders combined for 52 in a six-game series win for the Islanders.
The Captain Laments: Mike Richards had a real learning experience this season. He had said even before Game 6 this was a growing and maturing process for him and thanked Pronger for his help.
Richards was asked whether most great players and most great teams have had to at least been hurt once and feel this kind of sting to make a push the next level.
"I mean, I hope so," Richards replied. "We went through a lot this year as a group. I can't analyze the season right now, but like I said, we went through a lot. We've gone through a lot together. When you go through stuff like that, I think it brings the group closer together."