The last time the Flyers played Chicago in the NHL playoffs, Bobby Clarke was a 21-year-old budding superstar, 26-year-old goalie Bernie Parent had been traded to the Maple Leafs two months earlier, and the Blackhawks were known as the Black Hawks.
It was April 1971, and the Flyers were coming off a 28-33-17 season and a third-place finish in the old seven-team West Division. Vic Stasiuk was the coach, and Doug Favell and Bruce Gamble were the postseason goaltenders.
The top scorers during the regular season for the Flyers had been Clarke, with 27 goals, and right winger Serge Bernier, with 23 goals.
As the playoffs opened, the Flyers were anything but hot. They had won just two of their final nine games, losing three of them and tying four others.
The Black Hawks, on the other hand, ended the season at 49-20-9 and finished first in the West after having moved over from the East Division because of expansion. Coached by Billy Reay and featuring established stars such as Bobby and Dennis Hull, Stan Mikita and goalie Tony Esposito, the Hawks won five of their last eight games and rolled into the playoffs having beaten the Flyers, 3-1, just two weeks earlier.
And they continued their dominance by sweeping the Flyers in four games.
"They killed us," said Joe Watson, then a 27-year-old Flyers defenseman. "Vic Stasiuk, our coach, said we had to watch Bobby Hull closely, and I think we watched him score a lot of goals. They were a big, physical team."
In those days, the playoffs consisted of only three rounds, and the Flyers stumbled their way through that one. Clarke failed to collect even one point in the four games, and Bernier had just one goal and one assist. Right winger Simon Nolet, then 29, led the Flyers with two goals and one assist as Philadelphia managed just eight goals against Esposito.
Gamble was burned for 12 goals in two games; Favell allowed eight in his two starts.
After routing the Flyers, the Black Hawks went on to beat the New York Rangers, four games to three, in the Stanley Cup semifinals. But they lost to the Montreal Canadiens and rookie goalie Ken Dryden, four games to three, in the Finals.
In the decisive seventh game against Montreal, Chicago's Danny O'Shea scored the first two goals. But the Habs roared back for three straight goals and won the Cup.