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Flyers Earn 1st Trip to Stanley Cup Final: May 5, 1974

by @NHLFlyers

The 1974 Stanley Cup Semifinal series between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers was a seven-game roller coaster ride of emotions, attrition and ferocity on the ice. It marked a changing of the times of sorts in the NHL as the Flyers, for the first time in franchise history, knocked off one of the six pre-expansion old guard teams in the playoffs.

The series saw the home side win every game of the series; luckily, the Flyers held the home-ice advantage at the Spectrum for Game Seven. Through the first six games alone, the two teams combined for 368 penalty minutes. During the series, Philadelphia lost heart-and-soul defenseman Barry Ashbee to a career-ending eye injury and energy winger Bob "the Hound" Kelly to a season-ending knee injury.

A capacity crowd of 17,007 packed the Spectrum for Game Seven, and it didn't take long for the sticks and elbows to come up after the opening faceoff. The game was tied, 1-1, after the first period. Philadelphia took a 3-1 lead in the middle frame. New York made a final desperation push in the third period, outshooting the Flyers by a 15-9 mark, but Philly went on to win, 4-3.

Gary Dornhoefer's point-blank goal from the right slot off a Ross Lonsberry centering pass at 9:01 of the third period - his second tally of the match and fifth of the postseason- proved to the game-winner and series-winner. Rick MacLeish (power play, 11th goal of the playoffs) and Orest Kindrachuk (third) also scored for the Flyers.

To some, the series was symbolically over at 11:55 of the still-scoreless first period. A scrum in the New York zone escalated after the whistle. Dave "the Hammer" Schultz pummeled Rangers' defenseman Dale Rolfe in a one-sided fight. None of the Rangers players attempted to come to their teammate's defense; something unlikely to happen with the tight-knit Flyers if the roles had been reversed.

In the series' final battle between Hall of Fame goaltenders, eventual Conn Smythe Trophy winner Bernie Parent stopped 31 of 34 shots while Eddie Giacomin turns back 42 of 46 Philadelphia shots.

With the victory, the Flyers earned the right to play the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final; the Flyers' first of eight trips to the NHL's ultimate stage.


May 5: Through the Years

  • 1985: The Quebec Nordiques takes a one-game lead in the Wales Conference Final with a 2-1 overtime win at Le Colisée. The game is scoreless until the third period when Dale Hunter and Brad McCrimmon trade off goals. Peter Stastny wins the game for the Nordiques at 6:20 of overtime. Pelle Lindbergh stops 42 of 44 shots in a losing cause for Philadelphia, while Mario Gosselin turns back 28 of 29 for Quebec.


  • 1997: The Flyers jump out to a two games to zero lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Buffalo Sabres with a 2-1 road win in Game Two. Early goals by Mikael Renberg and Chris Therien hold up the rest of the way behind a 29-save goaltending performance by Garth Snow.


  • 2010: Setting the stage for what become a history-making comeback, the Flyers fall into a three games to zero hole in their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Boston Bruins. Boston earns a costly 4-1 road win in Philadelphia; costly because center David Krejci, who had been highly effective in the series, went down with a season-ending wrist injury on an open-ice hit by Flyers' captain Mike Richards.


May 5: Flyers birthdays

  • Holder of the Flyers' rookie scoring record and, subsequently, the original right winger on the Legion of Doom, Mikael Renberg was born in Piteå, Sweden on May 5, 1972.


  • Defensive-minded winger Radovan Somik was born on May 5, 1977 in Martin, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia).


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