Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

What we said then

We have run out of words before the Flyers have run out of rallies.

Here is an excerpt from Jay Greenberg's story in the Daily News on May 29, 1987, recounting the Flyers' win over Edmonton in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals:

We have run out of words before the Flyers have run out of rallies.

They reached the boundaries of imagination several games ago, but that's our limitation, not theirs. A team that prompted legitimate concern whether it had enough legs to survive one round of the playoffs, has arms long enough to have reached right through your heart to within one game of its dreams. And your dreams, too.

"I guess we had a little more to give than what everybody thought," winger Dave Brown said.

It's a child's fantasy, really, winning a Stanley Cup. So it is appropriate that this drive, this absolute refusal to sag under the weight of three substantial leads forged by the greatest offensive machine in NHL history, has taken on a near mystical sense.

Down three games to one headed into Game 5, the Flyers will play Game7 Sunday night in Edmonton. Down, 2-0, after 15 minutes in Game 6 last night, they rallied for two third-period goals in the final 6:56 to beat the Oilers, 3-2, and reach the game of their lives.

Brian Propp put one up over Grant Fuhr's glove on a power play to tie it, and 1:24 later, J.J. Daigneault's screened point drive won it, and the Spectrum walls shook from an earthquake created by the Flyers' heartbeat. It was magical.

It was unbelievable. Maybe the second description shortchanges a team that last night completed its fifth rally from a two-goal deficit in its last 10 games going back to the Montreal series. Ron Hextall should make you believe by now.

Miracle is a much overused term in sports. So is character. Would you really expect any team as close to the grand prize as the Flyers to pack it in?

Destiny is another cliche. Many a team has believed itself to have it, only to run into the reality of a powerhouse such as the Oilers. All we know for sure about the Flyers' destiny is that they were destined all along to play a seventh game. Winning it? They've got a shot. We'll see.

History probably will record them as one of its great sporting wonders only if they win one more. But anyone who has watched them claw through three rounds, through all their injuries, knows them as wonderful already.