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Rangers Classics Preview: Rangers vs. Flyers (4/15/86)

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers


Tune-in to MSG Network on Wednesday, March 2 at 8:00 PM ET as Rangers Classics, presented by Panasonic, looks back at the deciding Game Five of the 1986 Prince of Wales - Division Semifinals series between the Blueshirts and Philadelphia. With the Rangers leading the series, 2-1, the Flyers stormed back with a 7-1 win in Game Four to force a fifth and final game between the two rivals. The date - April 15, 1986 ... the place - The Spectrum in Philly.

The Rangers took a 3-1 lead into the third period and didn't look back, securing the series with a 5-2 win. New York defenseman Willie Huber (photo - right) played the unexpected role of playoff hero in the decisive game, collecting one goal and two assists in the win. Pierre Larouche (one goal, one assist), Mike Ridley (two assists) and Bob Brooke (two assists) also chipped in offensively. John Vanbiesbrouck turned aside 36 of 38 shots on the night.

With the series win, the Rangers snapped a three series playoff losing streak and won a deciding game in a series that went the distance for the first time since 1928.

New York winger Don Maloney, who sealed the victory with an empty-net goal with 17 seconds remaining, summed up the upset win following the game.

"Without Barry Beck, Tom Laidlaw and Mark Pavelich in the lineup, we just didn't know if we had the horses. I guess it shows you what hard work and super goaltending can do."

With the victory, the Rangers advanced to the Prince of Wales - Division Finals against the Washington Capitals. Be sure to tune-in to MSG Network on Wednesday, March 9 at 8:00 PM ET for Game One of that series.

GAME 5 - BOX SCORE:
First: NYR 1 - Larouche 3 (Patrick, Miller) 11:36. Pen-Ridley (NYR) 4:54; Greschner (NYR) 19:57.

Second: PHI 2 - Sinisalo 2 (Froese, Howe) 6:26; NYR 3 - Huber 1 (Larouche, Ridley) 9:45; NYR 4 - Osbourne 1 (Brooke, Huber) 10:56. Pen - Smith (P) 11:51; Melnyk (NY) 16:07.

Third: PHI 5 - McCrimmon 2 (Craven, Howe) 11:36; NYR 6 - Miller 2 (Huber) 19:20 (en); NYR 7 - Maloney 1 (Ridley, Brooke) 19:43 (en). Pen - none.

Goaltending:
NYR - Vanbiesbrouck (W) - 36/38
PHI - Froese (L) - 27/31

1985-86 RANGERS FAST FACTS:
General Manager: Phil Esposito
Head Coach: Ted Sator
Assistant Coaches: Jack Birch, Reg Higgs

NYR Regular Season Record: 36-38-6 (78 points / 4th Patrick Divison)
PHI Regular Season Record: 53-23-4 (110 points / 1st Patrick Division)
1985-85 Season Series vs. PHI: 1-6-0

RANGERS REGULAR SEASON LEADERS:
Goals: Tomas Sandstrom (25)
Assists: Mike Ridley (43)
Points: Mike Ridley (65)
Penalty Minutes: Bob Brooke (111)
Wins: John Vanbiesbrouck (31)
GAA: John Vanbiesbrouck (3.32)
Save %: Glen Hanlon (.893)


RANGERS CLASSIC PROFILE:
WILLIE HUBER


BACKGROUND:
Born in Germany, but moved to Canada as an infant ... Was Detroit's first round choice, ninth overall, in 1978 NHL Amateur Draft ... Among best passing defensemen in the league during the 1980s, had the ability to make quick, accurate passes to forwards on the move ... Possessed a hard, low shot from the point ... A friendly, outgoing personality, "Hubie" was very popular among his teammates ... Appeared in 238 career games with the Blueshirts from 1983-84 to 1987-88, posting 28 goals and 58 assists for 86 points, along with 284 penalty minutes ... Registered 10 points (five goals, five assists) and 33 penalty minutes in 28 career post-season games with the Rangers.

1985-86 NOTES:
Appeared in 70 of New York's 80 games in 1985-85, his highest single-season games total since 1982-83, after various injuries sidelined him for 91 games his first two seasons with New York ... Really emerged during the playoffs, playing his finest hockey as a Ranger ... Scored a goal in each of New York's three playoff series while contributing strong defensive play, especially on the penalty killing unit.

HOW HE BECAME A RANGER:
June 14, 1983 - Traded from Detroit to New York with Mike Blaisdell and Mark Osborne for Ron Duguay, Ed Johnstone and Ed Mio.
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