Philadelphia Flyers fans have been treated to hundreds of thrilling games during the franchise’s long and illustrious history. They have won two Stanley Cups, eight Conference Championships and 16 Divisional Championships, while they have one of the best all-time points records in the NHL. These are five of the most amazing games in Flyers history:
Overwhelming the Bruins in 1974
The Flyers were massive underdogs as they prepared to face the brilliant Boston Bruins in the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals. The Bruins had home-ice advantage after finishing one point ahead of the Flyers in the regular season, and they had just destroyed Toronto and Chicago in previous rounds, so they were the clear favorites in the hockey betting lines. Yet the aggressive, combatant Flyers were not to be taken lightly, and they showed their mettle in a battling 3-2 defeat in Game One at Boston Garden.
Game Two remains one of the most amazing clashes in franchise history. The Flyers were without a win in their previous 20 visits to Boston, and they looked all but certain to extend that unwanted streak to 21 when they went 2-0 down in the first period. They pulled one back in the second period, but it was still 2-1 to Boston with less than a minute of regulation time to play. Fred Shero pulled goaltender Bernie Parent for an extra attacker, and defenseman Andre Dupont grabbed a crucial goal to tie the score at 2-2. It went into overtime, and Bobby Clake scored the winner for the Flyers. That goal from Dupont marked the turning point in the series, which the Flyers went on to win 4-2, clinching their first ever Stanley Cup.
Broad Street Bullies Go Back-to-Back in 1975
The Flyers were the most feared team in the league as they prepared for their title defense the following season. Dave “The Hammer” Schultz led the charge, while Parent, Clarke, and Bill Barber provided a great deal of quality amid the carnage that the Broad Street Bullies wrought. They surged through to the Stanley Cup Finals once again, taking down the Maple Leafs and Islanders, and then cruised to victory in their first two games against the Buffalo Sabres.
The greatest game of the Finals was Game 3, known as The Fog Game. Humid weather turned the Memorial Auditorium into a sauna, causing fog to rise from the ice. More than 15,000 fans packed into the arena, with no air conditioning, and a bat even flew down from the rafters in a bid to cool off on the ice. Sabres forward Jim Lorentz flicked it out of the air with his stick, earning him the nickname “Batman”. Chaos ensued. The players legs were obscured, making it difficult to see the puck, but the Flyers raced into a 2-0 lead within 3:09.
They led 3-2 and 4-3, but Buffalo kept coming back to level the scores, and the game went into overtime at 4-4. Play was continually stopped, but the Sabres eventually scored at 18:29 to earn victory as Parent could not even see the shot coming at him. In the end it did not matter, as the Broad Street Bullies bounced back to win the series 4-2 and clinch a second Stanley Cup.
Crushing the Red Army in 1976
The famed Soviet Red Army team had already swept the Rangers, Canadiens and Bruins aside by the time they arrived in Philly for a big exhibition game in 1976. HC CSKA Moscow had dominated international play for several years, and their reputation preceded them. Yet the Broad Street Bullies looked distinctly unimpressed as they squared off against the Soviets on that day. Ed Van Impe set the tone by flattening Valeri Kharlamov, leaving the Russian prone on the ice for several minutes. Coach Konstantin Loktev pulled his team off of the ice for 17 minutes to protest the refs failing to call a penalty.
When the Soviets finally returned to the ice, they were totally overwhelmed by the Broad Street Bullies’ raw physicality, which neutralized any speed, skill or tactical advantages the Red Army team boasted. They outshot their opponents 49-13 and wrapped up a famous 4-1 victory. “Yes, we are the world champions,” said Shero after the game. If they had won, they would have been the world champions. We beat the hell out of a machine.”
An Offensive Masterclass from Tom Bladon in 1977
The most emphatic victory in franchise history came when the Flyers demolished the Cleveland Barons 11-1 back in December 1977. Tom Bladon scored four goals and delivered four assists. His eight-point game remains a record for a defenseman. He began with a goal and two assists in the first period, and scored twice in the second period. The Barons were in disarray by the third, as Gary Edwards was pulled, and Bladon added another goal and two assists to his tally. The Flyers did not score a power-play goal in the game, but they simply blew the Barons away with their offensive brilliance.
Beating the Mighty Oilers in 1987
The Flyers’ victory over the all-conquering Edmonton Oilers in Game Six of the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals was positively spine-tingling. The Oilers are remembered as the greatest team in history, as they won five Stanley Cup titles between 1984 and 1990, with Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, and Mark Messier tearing teams apart on a regular basis. Yet the Flyers put up one hell of a fight in 1987. They had beaten the Rangers, Islanders, and Canadiens to reach the Finals, and they were determined to seize glory. They were 3-1 down after suffering a comprehensive defeat in Game Four, but they battled back with two famous victories.
Edmonton’s newspapers published plans for a future victory parade on the day of Game Five, but the Flyers made them eat their words by securing a 4-3 comeback victory. The atmosphere was electric inside the Spectrum for Game Six, but the Oilers were all over the Flyers in the opening stages, outshooting them 19-5 and opening up a 2-0 lead. However, goals from Lindsay Carson and Bryan Propp tied the game. The unheralded J. J. Daigneault then stepped up to a dying puck inside the Oiler’s blue line and cranked in an unstoppable shot, sparking pandemonium among the home fans. The Flyers may have lost Game 7, but the Night the Spectrum Shook has gone down in legend.
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/Icon Sportswire