THIS WILL BE the Flyers' eighth trip to the Stanley Cup finals. They won their first two appearances but have lost the last five times.
This will be their first appearance since 1997. After winning in 1974 and '75, the Flyers reached the finals in 1976, '80, '85, '87 and '97. Through it all, there has been Kate Smith renditions, controversial calls, an arena filled with fog and a bat killed by a stick. Take a trip down memory lane before the Flyers go for the third Cup in franchise history.
Flyers beat Boston, 4-2
Other playoff rounds: Beat Atlanta, 4-0; beat NY Rangers, 4-3
Playoff MVP: Bernie Parent
Highlights: The Bruins entered the series as favorites as the Flyers were 0-17-2 in their previous 19 games against the Bruins. Down 1-0 in the series, a Bobby Clarke goal in the first overtime gave the Flyers a 3-2 win in Game 2, for their first victory in Boston since 1967. Bernie Parent allowed three goals total in home victories in Games 3, 4 and 6. Energized by a rendition of "God Bless America" by Kate Smith, the Flyers closed things out in Game 6, becoming the first expansion team (Philadelphia was awarded a franchise for the 1967-68 season) to win the Stanley Cup.
Flyers beat Buffalo, 4-2
Other playoff rounds: Beat Toronto, 4-0; beat NY Islanders, 4-3
Playoff MVP: Bernie Parent
Highlights: This was the first finals without an Original Six team. The most memorable moment was the fog game in Buffalo in Game 3. Due to abnormal heat in Buffalo in May, fog formed around the arena, leaving it hard for players, officials and fans to see the action, especially the puck. Things got crazier when Buffalo center Jim Lorentz used his stick to kill a bat that he saw flying around. The Sabres went on to win, 5-4, on a Rene Robert goal in overtime. After losing Game 4, the Flyers won the next two to earn the repeat. Parent, who allowed 12 goals in six games, was the first player in NHL history to win the Conn Smythe Trophy 2 straight years. The 1975 championship team holds the distinction as the last Stanley Cup champion to be comprised of all Canadian-born players and the last major professional sports team in Philadelphia to repeat as champs.
Flyers lost to Montreal, 4-0
Other playoff rounds: Beat Toronto, 4-3; beat Boston, 4-1
Highlights: The Canadiens stopped all hopes of a hat trick with a sweep. Guy Lafleur had game-winning goals in Game 1 (4-3) and Game 2 (2-1). The Canadiens won the Cup for the first time since 1973. Despite playing for the losing team, the Flyers' Reggie Leach was named playoff MVP. He netted four goals in the series (19 total in playoffs). He ended the season with 80 goals (61 in regular season), becoming the first player in league history to reach that total.
Flyers lost to NY Islanders, 4-2
Other playoff rounds: Beat Edmonton, 3-0; beat NY Rangers, 4-1; beat Minnesota, 4-1
Bob Nystrom, Islanders
Highlights: The Islanders showed no proof of it being their first finals appearance. In Game 1, Denis Potvin scored an overtime power-play goal to give New York the 4-3 win. The Flyers evened the series in Game 2, 8-3. The Islanders would take command by winning the next two. The Flyers forced a sixth game with a 6-3 win in Game 5. A Bob Nystrom overtime goal gave the Islanders the 5-4 win and the championship. It was surrounded by controversy, however, after linesman Leon Stickle admitted to a blown offsides call on an earlier goal.
Flyers lost to Edmonton, 4-1
Other playoff rounds: Beat NY Rangers, 3-0; beat NY Islanders, 4-1; beat Quebec, 4-2
Playoff MVP: Wayne Gretzky, Oilers
Highlights: The Flyers were the youngest team in professional sports in 1985 and were facing an Edmonton team in its third straight Cup appearance. The Flyers got their only win, 4-1, in Game 1 at the Spectrum. Conn Smythe Award winner Wayne Gretzky carried his team to a 4-3 Game 3 victory. He scored twice in the first 90 seconds and ended the first period with a hat trick. The Flyers came out with fight in Game 4, charging out to a 3-1 lead. Edmonton responded with four unanswered goals (two by Gretzky).
Flyers lost to Edmonton, 4-3
Other playoff rounds: Beat NY Rangers, 4-2; beat NY Islanders, 4-3; beat Montreal, 4-2
Playoff MVP: Ron Hextall
Highlights: The finals went seven games for the first time since 1971, fitting for the teams with the top two regular-season records. In Game 1, goals in the third period by Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey and Jari Kurri helped give the Oilers a 4-2 victory. The Flyers led 2-1 after two periods in Game 2, but Kurri scored the winning goal in OT. Edmonton looked to take a commanding lead in Game 3 at the Spectrum, taking a 3-0 lead. But goals by Murray Craven and Peter Zezel got the Flyers back into it. Goals by Scott Mellanby and Brad McCrimmon gave the Flyers a 5-3 victory. Edmonton got back on track with a convincing, 4-1 victory in Game 4. In a 4-3, Game 5 win, the Flyers' Rick Tocchet scored the winning goal in Edmonton. Defenseman J.J. Daigneault scored to seal a 3-2 win in Game 6. A first-period goal by Craven gave the Flyers the lead in Game 7 in Edmonton, but Mark Messier, Kurri and Anderson scored for the champion Oilers.
Flyers lost to Detroit, 4-0
Other playoff rounds: Beat Pittsburgh, 4-1; beat Buffalo, 4-1; beat NY Rangers, 4-1
Mike Vernon, Red Wings
Highlights: Detroit never trailed in Game 1 at the Wachovia Center, sealing the deal with a goal by Sergei Fedorov for a 4-2 win. Goals by Brendan Shanahan and Steve Yzerman were quickly answered with two power-play goals by Rod Brind'Amour late in the first period of Game 2. Kirk Maltby scored the winner in the second period of the 4-2 victory. In Game 3 at Joe Louis Arena, the Flyers led for the first time in the series on a John LeClair goal in the first period. The Red Wings struck back with goals by Fedorov, Yzerman and Martin Lapointe and won, 6-1. The Red Wings took a 2-0 lead in Game 4 before Eric Lindros (his only goal of the series) scored with 15 seconds to play. *