Any notion that the Philadelphia Flyers' Stanley Cup championship in 1974 was a fluke was put to rest on the evening of May 27, 1975. On that night, the Flyers downed the host Buffalo Sabres, 2-0, in Game Six of the 1975 Stanley Cup Final to win the Cup for the second straight year.
The game was scoreless through two periods as Flyers superstar goaltender Bernie Parent turned back all 26 shots fired on his net, while Buffalo's Roger Crozier made 18 saves including a dozen in the middle frame.
In the third period, however, the Flyers forged ahead.
During the Flyers' practices, at the very end of the session, players sometimes competed among themselves in a fun little drill where they collected a puck behind the net, stepped out in front and tried to score a goal. The first one to do it successfully won a $5 bill.
Eleven seconds into the third period of Game 6, Bob "the Hound" Kelly claimed the puck behind the net. He swooped around and beat Crozier with a back hand shot to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. The goal was made possible by team captain Bob Clarke winning an initial puck battle with the much larger Jerry "King Kong" Korab.
Returning to the bench among gleeful teammates, Kelly turned to head coach Fred Shero and said, "Freddie, that's five bucks you owe me."
Shero remained outwardly stoic. But he issued what Flyers players had come to understand was his selectively-chosen equivalent of either in-game praise or consolation, depending on the situation: The coach gently put a hand on Kelly's shoulder before returning his focus to the game.
The skinny lead held as the minutes on the clock ticked down. Finally, with 2:47 remaining in the third period, the Flyers got some insurance.
Claiming the puck along the boards, Orest Kindrachuk spotted Bill Clement getting open over the middle. Kindrachuk fearlessly hung in, receiving a bone rattling hit from Korab that left the Flyers forward down in a heap, but not before sending a tape-to-tape pass to Clement. Going in all alone on Crozier, Clement scored to extend the lead to 2-0.
Not that Parent needed any extra help. Winning the Conn Smythe Trophy for the second straight year, Parent turned aside an additional six shots in the third period to complete a 32-save shut out. With time about to expire, Clarke took one final face off in the defensive zone and then jubilantly pumped his legs and arms in celebration as the rest of his teammates rushed onto the ice.
The previous year, when the Flyers clinched the Cup on home ice against the Boston Bruins, fans poured out onto the ice during the ceremonial victory skate. This year in Buffalo, the players had the ice all to themselves. Clarke's wide, toothless smile during the Cup presentation ceremony became one of the most iconic images in team history.
Just as with the 1974 championship, a crowd of more than two million Flyers fans jammed the Broad Street parade route the following day. This time around, the parade was better organized. Players and their families rode on flatbed trucks rather than seated in the back of convertibles. The parade route ended with a celebratory rally.
May 27 in Flyers History:
1974: Eight days after winning the 1974 Stanley Cup, the Flyers trade forward "Cowboy" Bill Flett to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Randy "Ozzy" Osburn and Dave Fortier.
May 27: Flyers Birthdays
Goaltender Darren Jensen was born May 27, 1960.
Speedy forward Richard Park was born May 27, 1976.
Forward Andre Savage was born May 27, 1975.
A Flyers Hall of Famer and the second captain in team history, Ed Van Impe was born May 27, 1940.