The Flyers earned their fifth trip to the Stanley Cup Final by prevailing over the offensively potent Quebec Nordiques in six hard fought games in the 1985 Wales Conference Final. Philadelphia skated to a 3-0 win at the Spectrum in the clinching game in May 16, 1985.
The pivotal play came at 2:01 of the second period. The Flyers were clinging to a 1-0 lead provided by a first-period goal by Rick Tocchet but were in penalty trouble. With Joe Paterson and Brian Propp in the penalty box, the Nords had a 5-on-3 power play for one minute, 23 seconds. Suddenly, Flyers captain Dave Poulin intercepted a puck near the defensive blueline and found himself with a clean breakaway on diminutive (5-foot-8) butterfly style goaltender Mario Gosselin.
"I had way too much time to think," Poulin recalls. "All series we had been preaching, 'Shoot high on Gosselin.'"
That's exactly what Poulin did, and he made no mistake as he elevated the puck over the goalie and sent the sold-out Spectrum into a frenzy.
Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Pelle Lindbergh took it from there. The Nordiques became increasingly frustrated and disheartened, especially after Doug Crossman tacked on a power play goal.
As the game wore on, Mike Keenan's Flyers dominated. Philly would up outshooting the Nordiques by a 36-15 margin to clinch the Prince of Wales Trophy and move on to play the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Final.
May 16: Through the Years
- 1976: The two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Flyers are unable to protect a 3-2 lead and go on to lose Game Four of the 1976 Stanley Cup Final to be dethroned by the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs score two unanswered goals in the third period to win 5-3. Although the Canadiens sweep the series, it is worth noting that each of the first three games of the series are one-goal margins and that neither Hall of Fame goaltender Bernie Parent nor high-scoring star Rick MacLeish are available due to injury. Reggie Leach, who scores his record 19th goal of the playoff drive in the opening minute of Game Four, is named Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP despite playing on the vanquished side.
- 1997: The Flyers open the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals with a 6-3 win over the New York Rangers. Dainius Zubrus, Janne Niinimaa and Eric Desjardins score for Philly, while Garth Snow (25 saves) comes within 10 seconds of a shutout.
- 2000: Trailing the New Jersey Devils, 3-1, in the final minute of the second period of Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final, the Flyers roar back for three unanswered goals in two minutes and 37 seconds of game action to stun the visiting team. First, with 39 seconds remaining in the middle frame, Eric Desjardins scores to narrow the gap to one goal. In the third period, Rick Tocchet's second goal of the game ties the score at 2-2. A mere 52 seconds later, Daymond Langkow put the Flyers ahead to stay. Brian Boucher (30 saves on 33 shots) makes the lead stand up the rest of the way as the Flyers knot the series at one game apiece. Tocchet has a three-point game to take first-star honors.
- 2010: The Flyers roar out to a one game to zero lead in the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals behind a 6-0 home whitewashing of the Montreal Canadiens. Michael Leighton stops 28 shots, and the Flyers get goals from six different players, including power play goals by Braydon Coburn and Simon Gagne. James van Riemsdyk, Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux also score for the Flyers.