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What Season Was the Flyers Best Shot at Stanley Cup #3

View Poll Results: Which Flyers Team Had the Best Chance to Win SC#3?
1976 - Had Bernie Parent and Rick MacLeish played 5 12.50%
1980 - Had Stickle not blown the OffSide & Game 7 was played in Philly 2 5.00%
1985 - Had Lindbergh, Kerr, McCrimmon & Poulin been healthy 2 5.00%
1987 - The team that went the furthest... with a little more luck 4 10.00%
1997 - Without a depleted D, goaltending concerns & possible 'choking situation' 2 5.00%
2010 - With average NHL goaltending and luck in Game Seven in Chicago 10 25.00%
2004 - With a healthy Defense including Weinrich & Therien 15 37.50%
None/Other - Please explain 0 0%
Voters: 40. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
05-21-2014, 06:45 PM
  #1
Sawdalite
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What Season Was the Flyers Best Shot at Stanley Cup #3

Per Bill Meltzer:

1976: Now two-time defending champions and the only NHL team to defeat CSKA Moscow (Red Army) during the legendary Russian team’s North American tour during the 1975-76 season, the Broad Street Bullies still got little respect from the Canadian or New York-dominated hockey media. At most, they entered the 1976 Finals considered an even match for an extraordinarily deep and talented Montreal Canadiens team. Montreal went on to sweep the series – something the Flyers’ critics still crow about to this day. It should be noted, however, that Parent was injured and unable to play in the finals. The Flyers were also set back by an injury to second-line sniper Rick MacLeish, rendering the vaunted LCB line (Conn Smythe Trophy winner Reggie Leach, Hart Trophy winner Bobby Clarke and future Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Bill Barber) the club’s only dangerous line in the last series. Three of the four games were decided by one goal. The deciding game was tied, 3-3, heading into the third period but two latter-period goals by Montreal won the game and series for the Habs.

1980: On the heels of an incredible regular season that saw the club post a record 35-game unbeaten streak, the Flyers were favored to beat their Patrick Division rival New York Islanders. In a war of a series, the Islanders prevailed in six games. Although the series’ most infamous moment was a blown first-period offside call by linesman Leon Stickle that led to a goal and contributed to the Islanders’ Cup-clinching overtime victory, the Islanders’ red-hot power play was the biggest single factor in the series outcome. New York, like the Habs, went on to win four straight Stanley Cups.

1985: The Flyers always seemed to fare well against the Edmonton Oilers dynasty during the regular season, but fell short when they met again in the Stanley Cup Final. The youngest team in the NHL, the Flyers shocked the league by posting the league’s best record during the regular season and advancing to the Finals behind Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Pelle Lindbergh and the fiery coaching of rookie NHL bench boss, Mike Keenan. The Flyers were nevertheless the underdogs heading into the Final against an Edmonton team widely considered the best in NHL history. Lindbergh and company stymied the Oilers in Game 1 at the Spectrum, but eventually a knee injury to Lindbergh (suffered originally in the Semifinals and aggravated in Game 4 of the Final) forced him out of the series. The club was also set back by key injuries to Tim Kerr, Brad McCrimmon and the lingering effects of broken ribs suffered by captain Dave Poulin earlier in the playoffs. The Flyers lost a winnable second game of the series, and Edmonton went on to win the next three, including a blowout win in Game 5.

1987: The Flyers were once again banged up heading into the Final with Edmonton, and were once again prohibitive underdogs. But a fiery rookie goaltender named Ron Hextall and a never-say-die team in front of him gave the Oilers all they could handle. The Flyers battled back from a 3-to-1 series deficit when virtually everyone else had conceded the Stanley Cup to the Oilers, forcing a seventh game in Edmonton. In the deciding game, the Flyers took an early lead but soon ran out of steam, and the Oilers went on to win the game, 3-1. In a losing cause, Hextall was named Conn Smythe Trophy winner.

1997: The Flyers entered the 1997 Stanley Cup Final as the favorites to beat a Detroit Red Wings club that had developed the reputation for excelling in the regular season but folding under playoff pressure. Instead, the series turned into a debacle for the Flyers. The Red Wings proved to be a far superior club, taking advantage of shaky goaltending by Hextall and Garth Snow and a depleted blue line. The Wings also shut down the Legion of Doom line (Eric Lindros, John LeClair and an injured Mikael Renberg, who was replaced by rookie Dainius Zubrus in Games 2, 3 and 4). An ill-stated remark by head coach Terry Murray, who said his team was in “a choking situation”, further cemented the collapse and led to his dismissal as coach after the series.

Above source Bill Meltzer: http://flyers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?...______________

2010: The Philadelphia Flyers earned the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs after finishing the regular season with 88 points, and winning the tiebreaker over the Montreal Canadiens, having more wins (41 to 39). The Flyers were the last team to qualify for the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. Their Cinderella march to the Final began on the final day of the regular season when they met the New York Rangers in a winner-take-all match-up for the final playoff spot. Philadelphia beat their Atlantic Division rivals 2–1 in a historic shootout, the first do or die shootout for a playoff spot in NHL history.[6]

In the first round of the playoffs, the Flyers upset the second seed New Jersey Devils, another of their division rivals, in five games. In the second round, against the sixth-seeded Boston Bruins, Philadelphia became the fourth sports team to win a seven game series after being down three games to none (the others being the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders, and the MLB 2004 Boston Red Sox). In addition, in game 7 of that series, the Flyers overcame a three goals to none deficit to win the game and series, 4-3.[7]

In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Flyers eliminated the Canadiens in five games to advance to the Final for the first time since 1997.[2] They were also the first team to reach the Final with less than 90 points in the regular season since the Vancouver Canucks in 1994, when they had 85. (Remainder snipped)

Above source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Stanley_Cup_Finals

The 2010 team was without season starting goaltender Ray Emory and Brian Boucher was injured during the postseason and they a hot rode Michael Leighton past Montreal. The Finals against Chicago proved to be a high scoring shootout between the two normally defensive teams and ultimately lost in Game Six in Philly in OT on an awful goal. Arguably average goaltending in Game Six by Leighton or potting a gaping OT net by Jeff Carter could have sent them to Chicago for a Game Seven.

Above source: Sawdalite


2004: (Note: The team did not reach the SCF but many say they should have.) The Eastern Conference Finals pitted the Lightning, 8–1 in the postseason up to that point, against the third-seeded Flyers, who had just defeated Toronto in a six-game series.

Game one, at St. Pete Times Forum, saw Philadelphia take only 20 shots on goal, a sign of the strong Tampa Bay defense. Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, all but impenetrable in the first two rounds, stopped 19 of those 20 shots, the only miss being a Michal Handzus goal in a 3–1 Lightning win. However, game two saw a stunning turn of events: Khabibulin was shelled in goal, only seeing 12 shots and getting yanked after giving up four goals in a 6–2 Flyers victory. Backup goalie John Grahame went 15-for-17 in relief of Khabibulin, and the series was tied, 1–1, going to Philadelphia.

Game three at the Wachovia Center saw Khabibulin return to his dominant form in net, which was bad news for the Flyers, as Khabibulin stopped 24 out of 25 shots, the only miss being a Keith Primeau goal in a 4–1 Lightning win. Game four saw the Flyers pull even with a critical 3–2 victory that tied the series headed back to Tampa Bay.

Back in Tampa Bay for a critical game five, the Lightning used home-ice advantage in a 4–2 victory, and they were now one win away from the Stanley Cup Finals. Brad Richards' two goals marked the first time all series a player had scored more than one goal in a game. Philadelphia's backs were against the wall in this critical game six, but they had home-ice advantage. Trailing 4-3 in the third period, Keith Primeau continued his impressive playoff performance by tying the game with under two minutes remaining, beating Khabibulin on a wraparound and sending the Wachovia Center into a frenzy. The Flyers won the game in overtime, 5–4, on a Simon Gagne goal 18:18 in, his second of the game and his first two goals of the series. The series was going back to Tampa Bay for a game seven, and both defenses were strong, but Tampa Bay had a little bit more, winning the game, 2–1, and moving on to the Stanley Cup Final.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Stanley_Cup_playoffs

The Flyers were on an emotional high and Keith Primeau carried them on his shoulders with a Defense so depleted by pre-TDL trades and injuries that Forward Sami Kapanen had to play as a D-man... By Game Seven the team had no gas in the tank... Many people believe had them gotten past TB, they would have beat Calgary for the Cup.

Source: Sawdalite


Please select one choice to designate which Flyers team, had they not hit BAD LUCK would have won the Cup?


Last edited by Sawdalite: 05-21-2014 at 07:04 PM.
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Old
05-21-2014, 09:14 PM
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I'd probably say 2004.

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05-21-2014, 09:51 PM
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Tough choice. 1997 probably wins had they got an average goalie and a coach that didn't completely demoralize his team... That was still the most talented team I've watched in my life. 2004 is close but the defense was completely shot in the Tampa series and kipper was playing lights out that post season. I don't know if they would of beaten the flames for sure. 2010 wins no doubt with even back up level goaltending. Leighton was echl bad that series and it didn't help that the third defense pairing couldn't be trusted more than 2 minutes a game. I chose 2004 but really close.

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05-27-2014, 01:29 AM
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From what I've heard (and I wasn't even born then) the 1976 team was a Dynasty calibre team that was dragged down by inconsistent goaltending due to Parent's eye injury before the wheels came off. Veterans are still talking about them like they could have won 4-5 cups in the 70s with a little luck...

The 2004 team was the most talented I've seen so far, 2010 was a different case because the whole goaltending mess was apparent from the beginning...

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05-27-2014, 11:05 AM
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dats81 View Post
From what I've heard (and I wasn't even born then) the 1976 team was a Dynasty calibre team that was dragged down by inconsistent goaltending due to Parent's eye injury before the wheels came off. Veterans are still talking about them like they could have won 4-5 cups in the 70s with a little luck...

The 2004 team was the most talented I've seen so far, 2010 was a different case because the whole goaltending mess was apparent from the beginning...
1976 was before Bernie got the stick in the eye... he had a pinched nerve before that season that required surgery and he only played in a handful of games that season and was not a go for the PostSeason... Wayne Stephenson did an admirable job and got them to the Finals and the four losses were all close... Had Bernie been healthy and especially in his prior two year form, that could well have been the difference.

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05-27-2014, 11:26 AM
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Most of the earlier matchups were against really great legacy teams. Not very confident here.

Definitely not 1997. Detroit completely owned them.

2004 team, I suspect would have still had to deal with Calgary. Maybe they would have won. Not sure.

2010 probably. If you recall, in game one, despite the high goal tally, all they had to do was keep the one goal lead in the third. Needed better goaltending. Carter's whiff hurts. Even the game six loss, I was convinced they were going to win as they went into OT with absolutely tons of pressure and chances. Chicago was on their heels. If they win that, or had taken Game One-- different series. A lot of pressure would have been on Chicago for Game 7 in their own barn. 50/50 chance then.

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05-27-2014, 11:35 AM
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60% + for the last two runs shows the age of this group on HF.

'76 (without the key injuries) & '87 were the best shots.

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05-27-2014, 11:37 AM
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You could make a valid argument for all the teams but I finally settled on and voted for the one that the Officiating stole... 1980.

In the game the Isles took in Philly I was sitting behind the net when Jimmy Watson, IIRC, was called on a (then rare) OT cheap call which led to the loss of Home Ice... But that was no excuse and a part of the game and understandable... The kicker was in Game Six at Nassau when an Off Side play that was obvious that a person who knew little about could have called it -- I will pass on the Stevie Wonder remark -- but Leon Stickle missed it and after the game admitted he blew the call... The game went into an OT that never should have happened... On the Isle Cup clincher there should have been a whistle stopping play due to a high stick that was ignore -- Mr. Snider is pissed at that one also, but it is generally not discussed, and is more of a judgment call rather than a blown call I suppose.

I firmly believe with all my heart that a game Seven at the Spectrum with Kate Smith's GBA anthem and the way the Flyers play in the Intimidation Capital of the World and their record, the Islanders would not have won a second game of the series and the Flyers would have won the Cup... The team was a special one that may forever stand as the team with the longest time between losses -- especially now that all NHL games are decided -- with 35 straight after IIRC losing the Opening Game of the season (or it might have been the second game) not losing between mid October until the end of the first week of the new year... Pat Quinn had them playing well as a team and it made no difference whether Rookie Peeters was in net or veteran Phil Myre.

Had that team won the Cup they may well have been considered arguably one of the greatest teams in NHL and Professional Sports History when their 35 game consecutive streak is taken into account... but without the Cup, the argument is lost. As it is, the team doesn't get its due credit even among the Flyers' faithful.

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05-27-2014, 11:38 AM
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2004 for me.

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