The Bombers, led by their iconic captain Bobby Clarke, came out hard in front of the home crowd in game two. “We were determined not to go into New York down 2-0,” said coach Pete Green, “That is simply unacceptable.” Early on, Herb Gardiner buried Peter Forsberg with a questionable check along the boards and again the teams nearly came to blows before Clarke opened the scoring at 16:58 of the first, digging a loose puck out of Smith’s pads and chipping it cleverly into the upper corner. Claude Lemieux got called for tripping at 04:23 of the second and on the ensuing powerplay, Slava Fetisov scored on a powerful slapshot to give the home team a two goal lead. Mickey Redmond brought the Rangers to within one with a hard wrister before he, himself, was the victim of a questionable check, this one coming from Dale Hunter. In-between bites of a delicious looking hoagie, a visibly angry Pat Quinn said after the game: “If Flin Flon thinks they can take advantage of our star players, they are sorely mistaken. The next time I see Dale Hunter with his stick up, someone’s going to the hospital.” Sergei Makarov iced it with a quick one-timer off an Igor Larionov feed late in the third, to the delight of the home crowd.
Final Score: Flin Flon 3 – New York 1
Series tied 1 game to 1
When asked after the game if the series had turned into an all-out war, game three hero Igor Larionov cooly replied, “No. War is war. This is hockey. There is a difference.” Not surprising coming from the only man in Madison Square Garden who appeared to have kept his cool after a first period brawl between the teams that got as far as the visitors’ dressing room. “What does Bobby Clarke want, a cookie?” said Jerry “King Kong” Korab after the game. “He scores one and then goes showboating like that. I had to teach him a lesson on the next shift.” With the Bombers up one nothing, Korab laid a crushing check on the Flin Flon captain that sent him flying into the New York bench, where he was rudely greeted by Claude Lemieux and Craig Ludwig. Clarke came out swinging and in a matter of moments, the teams began fighting between the benches. The melee eventually made it into the hallway and as far as the Flin Flon dressing room before security restored order. Grant Fuhr squared off with Billy Smith at center ice and got the better of the action in the only clear KO. “Blood and thunder, baby…blood and thunder,” was all Punch Broadbent could mutter through a blood-stained grin after the game. There was also a bit of hockey played and a pair of beautiful third period goals from the KLM line. Vladimir Krutov converted a clever Larionov pass at 12:35 of the third and then returned the favor three minutes later to salt away the victory for Flin Flon.
Final Score: Flin Flon 3 – New York 0
Flin Flon leads the series 2 games to 1
Outscored 8 to 4 through the first three games of the series, the Rangers came alive tonight, potting a pair of goals in all three periods to run away with a game that seemed ready to descend into a free-for-all at any moment. Against the backdrop of forty of New York’s finest lining the tunnels and a surly, at times deafening crowd, the home team played relentless hockey on the evening and had the game well in hand by the opening of the third period. Referee Francis “King” Clancy, earning a little spending money while his Seals sit idle, was seen talking to the Flin Flon bench at the beginning of the third. “I warned them not to try any monkey business with the score like it was. Sometimes a team that’s way down in a game will try to send a message. I told Pete Green I didn’t want to see him take any pepper spray to the face.” The game was delayed for ten minutes while a clean-up team followed by a Zamboni tended to the ice after angry New Yorkers threw trash, beer, and all forms of flotsam and jetsam as the Bombers came out of the tunnel to begin their warm-up skate. Once the game commenced, it was all Rangers, who got two goals from Broadbent and one each from Beliveau, Propp, Naslund and Rolston. Vincent LeCavalier tallied for Flin Flon in the third, but it was too little, too late.
Final Score: New York 6 – Flin Flon 1
Series tied 2 games to 2
With literally every inhabitant of Flin Flon watching the game - either from the stands or on a jumbotron set up in the town square with money originally intended for an anti-domestic violence campaign – Grant Fuhr became the town’s newest hero after stoning the Rangers through sixty minutes of bloody, brutal hockey. “That was the single dirtiest game I’ve ever seen played,” said Canada One guest commentator Denis Potvin after the game, “I wish I could have been in it.” Staked to an early 1-0 lead on a Bobby Clarke rebound goal, the Bombers began taking runs at the New York team, trying to intimidate them physically. Early in the second period, Dale Hunter cut Peter Forsberg on the forehead with a high stick and the Swede replied by chopping at Hunter’s knees. What followed can only be described as an old-fashioned stick duel, with Forsberg getting the better end of it before both players were eventually restrained by their own teammates and sent to the showers with matching game misconducts. Hunter is listed as day-to-day with a “lower body injury”. Not surprisingly, things went from bad to worse after that. Punch Broadbent mauled Dave Manson in a fight later in the second, only to receive his comeuppance on the next shift in the form of a vicious crosscheck from Bombers captain Bobby Clarke. Surprisingly, there were only 8 minutes of minor penalties called in the game, in spite of exceptionally dirty play throughout. “I’m going to launch an inquiry into the officiating with the league office. What happened today was a disgrace,” said a visibly hungry Pat Quinn at the postgame press conference.
Final Score: Flin Flon 1 – New York 0
Flin Flon leads the series 3 games to 2
“Be-li-vo! Be-li-vo!” Jean Beliveau gave the New York Rangers new life in their darkest hour in game six, scoring the equalizer with Smith pulled and 15 seconds to play as the Rangers saw their season about to end. “It was one of those quick plays. Forsberg digs it out of the corner, whips it over to Howe and suddenly the puck is on my stick and in,” said a typically humble Beliveau. New York fans serenaded their captain with the most inspiringly clumsy Francophone name-chant since the Matteau goal, and the team carried that energy into the extra frame, finishing the comeback at 02:36 of the first overtime on a beautiful deke and finish by Chris Drury. After taking the early lead on an Eddie Goodfellow power play tally in the first, the Rangers had fallen into a hole after second period goals on successive shifts from Flin Flon’s Flyers and KLM lines. “When Leclair and Makarov made it 2-1, not one man on our bench so much as blinked. Not one man. We knew we were going to come back,” said Beliveau, “Sorry it took me so long.”
Final Score: New York 3 – Flin Flon 2
Series tied 3 games to 3
“Arguably the most bitter, violent and best first round series in which I’ve ever played,” - Bobby Clarke
“I don’t think there was a man on either team who left anything on the ice tonight.” – Billy Smith
“Theses series was a niiiice!” - Alexei Kasatonov
It was one for the ages tonight. Far better than any words can tell, scenes of destruction in and around the frozen city of Flin Flon stand as a still smoldering monument to the passions of the town and its team, the Bombers. Mark Recchi remains in critical condition in Flin Flon Memorial Veterinary Clinic, and many of the perpetrators of the already infamous Recchi Riot remain at large. There is much confusion for the league office to sort out in the wake of this incident, but for one team, the next round is all that matters. “All I care about is that we’re through,” said Claude Lemieux, “The press and the commissioner can talk all they want about dirty play, but at the end of the day, one team goes through and one team goes home.” And so it was; against seemingly impossible odds, the New York Rangers made it out of Flin Flon, victorious and alive after a game that may make Igor Larionov reconsider his stance on the difference between hockey and war.
Claude Lemieux was both hero and villain, ending the season’s hopes for the Bombers and possibly ending Mark Recchi’s career in the same night. “His feet got tangled up in my stick and he fell into the boards. Don’t ****ing accuse me of pushing him,” said the ever-taciturn Lemieux in response to questions about his role in an on-ice incident which left Mark Recchi lying motionless on the ice for almost twenty minutes. Referee Kerry Fraser issued only a 2 minute minor penalty to Lemieux for tripping on a play in which Recchi lost his edge and went head-first into the end boards while fighting with Lemieux as both men raced after a long dump-in in the Bombers’ zone. Video replay showed that Lemieux gave Recchi a shove as the left winger was going down, propelling him harder into Flin-Flon’s unforgiving old-style end boards. When the scene was replayed on the jumbotron in Flin Flon, the crowd nearly broke down the glass around the penalty box.
“I don’t want to think about what might have happened to me had that glass given way,” said Lemieux, “It was the longest two minutes of my life.” But Lemieux would not remain the villain for long. Just thirty two seconds after emerging from the penalty box, Lemieux broke a scoreless tie at 17:49 of the third, and then proceeded to kill off the first half of a penalty in the game’s dying moments as the Bombers mounted a desperate last-ditch assault on the New York goal. Before Lemieux asserted himself, the game was a messy, unpleasant affair. Punch Broadbent and Herb Gardiner were both ejected for their roles in a first-period fight that left Frazer, who bravely tried to intervene, with a badly broken, bloodied nose. A second period brawl cleared both benches and again Billy Smith got the worst of it from Grant Fuhr in a clash reminiscent of some of Patrick Roy’s lesser moments. “He’s not much of a goalie,” Smith said after the game, ”but he’s pretty tough. I wonder if he does that to his golfing partners, as well?” Thanks to Lemieux, Smith and his teammates had the last laugh in Flin Flon and quickly fled the arena as incensed, drunk and quite possibly just bored fans began tearing apart anything they could get their hands on. The Rangers’ team bus was last seen navigating its way through a maze of overturned cars, many of which were on fire, en route to the airport. A state of emergency has been declared in Flin Flon.
Final Score: New York 1 – Flin Flon 0
New York wins the series 4 games to 3