Thanks to a run of success that began in the mid-1990s, the Philadelphia Flyers
own a solid advantage over the Chicago Blackhawks
in their all-time regular-season series.
The Flyers beat the Hawks 3-2 on March 13 in their only meeting this season -- the 126th in the regular season since Philadelphia entered the NHL in the 1967 expansion. It was the Flyers' eighth consecutive victory over the Blackhawks at the Wachovia Center and the 13th in their last 15 overall, giving Philadelphia an all-time record of 53-43-30 against Chicago. That includes a record of 37-16-11 in the two buildings the Flyers have called home -- the Spectrum and the Wachovia Center.
It didn't start out that way. The Hawks tortured the Flyers in their early years in the NHL, both at home and on the road. The Flyers went winless in their first 15 visits to Chicago Stadium, losing 10 and tying five before escaping with a 3-2 victory on Jan. 13, 1973 -- their sixth season in the League.
Things weren't much better for the Flyers at home in the early years. The Hawks were 7-1-2 in their first 10 visits to Philadelphia, highlighted (or lowlighted, depending on your point of view) by Chicago's 12-0 victory at the Spectrum on Feb. 15, 1969. More than 40 years later, it's still the worst loss in Flyers history.
That 12-0 victory was one of four shutouts by Chicago in its first six trips to the City of Brotherly Love. However, the last of those games (3-0 on Jan. 31, 1970) is still the last time the Hawks have blanked the Flyers in Philadelphia.
In all, the teams have combined for 11 shutouts -- six by the Hawks, five by the Flyers. But Chicago hasn't had one since a 2-0 win at Chicago Stadium on Jan. 18, 1976. The Flyers have had the last three in the series, the most recent a 3-0 win at home on Oct. 30, 2006 -- a victory that ended a 27-year run without a shutout by either team.
Both clubs moved into new buildings in the mid-1990s, but the Flyers have fared much better at the United Center than the Hawks have at the Wachovia Center. Philadelphia is 5-3-1 in its nine visits to the Hawks' new home, while Chicago won its first visit to the Flyers' new building in November 1996 but lost the next eight.
Oddly, the teams haven't played a game that was decided in overtime in more than 20 years. Of the 32 meetings that were tied at the end of regulation, 30 finished as ties and Chicago won the other two in overtime -- both in a four-day span (March 13 and 17) late in the 1987-88 season. The last 16 games have been decided in regulation since a 2-2 tie at Chicago on Dec. 22, 1996.
One topic sure to rankle Flyer fans is their lone playoff meeting with the Hawks. Chicago swept their 1971 quarterfinal series, allowing only two goals in each game and outscoring the Flyers 20-8.