No shortage of playoff moments for the Broad Street Bullies
The Philadelphia Flyers' more than 300 playoff games have provided some unforgettable moments and individual performances that have defined the team and its legacy. We take a look at 10 of the greatest.
10. May 23, 1997: Game 4, Eastern Conference finals vs. New York Rangers (3-2 win)
After knocking off both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres in five games, the Flyers met a veteran Rangers team led by Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky. With Philadelphia holding a 2-1 series lead, the Flyers called on captain Eric Lindros to get a stranglehold on the series. With the score tied at 2 in the final seconds of regulation, the Big E beat Mike Richter for a power-play goal to win the game and lead the Flyers to a series win over the Rangers. This game would mark the pinnacle of postseason success for Lindros in Philadelphia. Lindros scored 12 playoff goals in 19 games that year, leading the Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals, where they were swept by the Red Wings.
9. May 11, 1989: Game 6, Wales Conference finals vs. Montreal (4-2 loss)
A bitter series against the top-seeded Montreal Canadiens hit a boiling point that led to one of the most infamous moments in Flyers playoff history. In Game 1, Chris Chelios hit Brian Propp into the boards with a high elbow. Propp suffered a head injury, left the ice on a stretcher and missed Game 2; Chelios wasn't penalized on the play. Ten days later, in Game 6, with the Habs just two minutes away from eliminating the Flyers, Ron Hextall charged out of his net on an offside and attacked an unsuspecting Chelios. The ensuing scrum saw a total of 37 minutes in penalties, including a five-minute attempting-to-injure match penalty to Hextall. Hextall's vigilante justice didn't go unnoticed by the league, which suspended him an additional 12 games to begin the next season. To add insult to injury, Chelios scored the series-clinching goal later in Game 6, the last playoff game the Flyers would play for six years.
8. May 6, 1976: Game 5, semifinals vs. Boston (6-3 win)
Reggie Leach followed his 61-goal regular season by scoring at least one goal in nine of the Flyers' first 11 playoff games that year. In one of those games, Toronto Maple Leafs center Darryl Sittler tied an NHL record by scoring five goals. Leach, not to be outdone, equaled that playoff record with his own five-goal game against the Bruins. Leach had Bruins goalie Gilles Gilbert at his mercy that night, scoring at will: low glove, from behind the net, 5-hole and on the backhand. Leach scored in all three periods, including a natural hat trick in a 15-minute span in the second period. It was one of the greatest playoff performances by a Flyer during one of the greatest individual streaks in league history. The Flyers won the game 6-3 and the series in six games. Though Philadelphia was swept by the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup finals, Leach earned playoff MVP honors and left his place in the NHL record books.[+] EnlargeGetty ImagesThe Flyers were able to get past a veteran Rangers squad to reach the 1997 Stanley Cup finals.
7. May 13, 1975: Game 7, semifinals vs. New York Islanders (4-1 win)
After winning the Cup a year earlier, the Flyers began the 1975 playoffs with seven straight wins, sweeping the Maple Leafs in the quarterfinals and going up 3-0 against the Islanders. Then things got interesting. The Islanders had just come back from a three-game deficit to shock the Penguins in seven and were now facing elimination against the Flyers. They fought back again. Philadelphia lost games 4, 5 and 6, scoring just five goals combined. Suddenly, the defending champion Flyers faced a one-game showdown, with a spot in the final on the line.
Philly wasted little time setting the tone, when Gary Dornhoefer scored just 19 seconds into the game. Two minutes later Rick MacLeish gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead. Philadelphia limited the Islanders to 15 shots on goal and survived a scare, winning 4-1. After the game, Islander goalie Glenn "Chico" Resch complained that anthem singer Kate Smith, who sent the Spectrum into a frenzy with her rendition of "God Bless America," threw him off his pregame routine. "She was singing right in my crease," Resch said. Smith boomed the anthem three more times that postseason, all before Flyers home wins, and Philadelphia won its second straight Stanley Cup.
6. April 11, 1989: Game 5, Patrick Division semifinals vs. Washington (8-5 win)
Leading by two goals, shorthanded with just a minute to play in the game, Ron Hextall made NHL history again. Two seasons earlier, Hextall had become the first NHL goalie to score by shooting the puck into the opposing net during a regular-season game. In this game, the enigmatic 24-year-old became the first NHL goalie ever to score a playoff goal. With Caps goalie Pete Peeters pulled, Hextall corralled a Scott Stevens dump-in behind his net and, from his goal line, rifled a high shot that landed at the far blue line and slid into the corner of the Capitals' empty net. Though he allowed four goals on the first 23 shots he faced, Hextall picked up the win and a place in the NHL record books. The Flyers beat the Caps in six games.
5. May 28, 1987: Game 6, Stanley Cup finals vs. Edmonton (3-2 win)
Facing elimination at home against the juggernaut known as the Edmonton Oilers, things were looking bleak for the Flyers early on. A Kevin Lowe shorthanded goal followed by a Kevin McClelland goal minutes later gave the Oilers a 2-0 lead just 15 minutes into the game. The intensity was building and things got chippy with seven roughing minors and four high-sticking penalties handed out in the first period. In the second period, rugged forward Lindsay Carson got the Flyers on the board, beating Grant Fuhr in the 5-hole. Then, with less than seven minutes left in the third period, a power-play goal by Brian Propp tied the game at 2.
With the crowd pumped up, the Flyers went on the attack. Less than two minutes after Propp's goal, J.J. Daigneault wired a shot from the point through a Scott Mellanby screen to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead. Ron Hextall then shut the door, making 30 saves to preserve the win and forcing a seventh and deciding game in Edmonton for the Stanley Cup. The Flyers lost Game 7 by a score of 3-1, but the comeback Game 6 by this injury-riddled underdog team, against the star-studded Oilers, is remembered as one of the most courageous efforts in team history.
4. May 9, 1974: Game 2, Stanley Cup finals vs. Boston (3-2 OT win)
Two nights earlier, the Flyers had been beaten by the talented and experienced Boston Bruins in their Stanley Cup finals debut. Most hockey experts thought nothing short of a miracle would permit the Flyers to wrestle the Stanley Cup away from a Bruins team led by Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito. In Game 2, Bobby Clarke elevated his play to cement his place as one of the game's all-time great leaders.
With the score tied at 2 in overtime and Philadelphia facing the prospect of trailing 2-0 in the series, Clarke took a pass from Bill Flett and backhanded the puck at the Bruins' net. Gilles Gilbert made the first save, but Clarke followed the rebound and on his forehand buried the game winner to tie the series at 1. Clarke's second goal of the game was arguably the most important one he ever scored in a Flyers uniform. His overtime celebratory leap left an indelible mark on Flyers fans and paved the way for the first Stanley Cup championship in Philadelphia.Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty ImagesBobby Clarke, left, and Bernie Parent led the Flyers to their first Cup in 1974.
3. May 4, 2000: Game 4, Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Pittsburgh (2-1 five OT win)
This, the most recent time the Flyers and Penguins met in the postseason, produced one of the most memorable games in playoff history. In the fifth overtime period, Keith Primeau, who had been scoreless in the series, made a rush down the boards, put a great fake on Darius Kasparaitis and beat Ron Tugnutt over his shoulder with a bullet wrist shot. Primeau's first career overtime playoff goal tied the series at two games and ended the third-longest game in NHL history. The Flyers carried the momentum and won the series in six games, despite the fact that the Penguins had won the first two games of the series in Philadelphia.
2. May 20, 1975: Game 3, Stanley Cup finals vs. Buffalo (5-4 loss)
Leading two games to none heading toward a second straight Stanley Cup title, the Flyers hit a wall -- a wall of fog. It was a warm spring night for Game 3 in Buffalo, a warmth that permeated the air throughout Buffalo Memorial Auditorium and created a heavy fog around the ice surface. Visibility was limited. Five goals were scored in the first period, including two by the Sabres on just six shots. The game went to overtime, where Rene Robert beat Bernie Parent, who couldn't find the puck through the fog. This game will forever be dubbed the Fog Game. Exactly one week later, back in Buffalo, Parent erased the Fog Game from everyone's memory by shutting out the Sabres 2-0 to win a second straight Stanley Cup for Philadelphia. Parent's playoff-record fifth shutout earned him a second straight Conn Smythe Trophy.
1. May 19, 1974: Game 6, Stanley Cup finals vs. Boston (1-0 win)
The 1974 finals pitted the Broad Street Bullies against a stacked Boston team that led the league in wins and boasted the NHL's top four scorers from the regular season, including Esposito and Orr. Still, the Flyers weren't intimidated. Led by the trio of Clarke, Bill Barber and Rick MacLeish, Philadelphia took a 3-1 series lead. The Bruins dominated in Game 5, winning at home 5-1, setting the stage for the series to return to Philly for Game 6.
The Bruins badly outplayed Philly in the first period, outshooting them 16-8. But late in the period, on the power play, MacLeish, a former Bruins draft pick, tipped a Moose Dupont shot past Gilles Gilbert to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. On this night, one goal was enough, as Bernie Parent made save after save, 30 in total, keeping the league's highest-scoring team off the board. Parent earned playoff MVP honors as the Flyers became the first modern expansion team to win the Stanley Cup. Head coach Fred Shero became the toast of the town, and the players each earned a $15,000 playoff bonus for the title.
ESPN reporter David Amber is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com.
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