An almost-daily column that takes a look back at how the Philadelphia Flyers have fared on this day, recalling some of the more memorable moments, achievements, and events that shaped the organization throughout the club's storied history
The Flyers have a 4-2 all-time record in six postseason games played on May 16, with wins in each of the last four.
Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place on May 16:
1974 -- Bobby Orr scored twice to snap a 1-1 tie late in the second period to lift the Boston Bruins to a 5-1 victory over the Flyers at Boston Garden, helping the B's avoid elimination and forcing a Game 6 in the Stanley Cup Final back at the Spectrum.
1976 -- Reggie Leach scored his NHL-record 19th goal of the 1976 playoffs, but it wasn't enough to stop the Montreal Canadiens from taking a 5-3 decision at the Spectrum and a sweep of the Stanley Cup Final, spoiling Philadelphia's bid for a three-peat -- or as was the slogan at the time, a "Hat Trick in '76".
Leach finished with 19 playoff goals in just 16 games -- giving him 80 total goals when combined with the 61 he tallied during the regular season -- becoming the first player in NHL history ever to reach that plateau.
Despite Philadelphia's defeat, Leach was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason's most valuable player for his efforts -- the third consecutive year in which a Flyer picked up the honors, as Bernie Parent won it in the two preceding championship springs -- becoming only the third player ever to garner the award from a team that did not win the Cup.
1985 -- Dave Poulin scored while Philadelphia skated two-men shorthanded and Pelle Lindbergh stopped all 15 shots he faced as the Flyers blanked the Quebec Nordiques 3-0 at the Spectrum, closing out their Wales Conference Final series in six games and advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in five years.
Quebec head coach Michel Bergeron had presented to the media a 'greatest hits' video of what he felt were unpenalized Flyers infractions following a crucial Game 5 Philadelphia victory at Le Colisee, in hopes of swaying officials to give his team more power plays.
With Philly up 1-0 courtesy of a Rick Tocchet tip-in of a Mark Howe shot, Joe Paterson was whistled for interference just 31 ticks into the second and Brian Propp was shown the gate 37 seconds later, giving the lethal Nords' man advantage unit 1:23 worth of 5-on-3 time.
Quebec worked the puck around the perimeter, ending up with Peter Statsny and Mario Marios sending passes back-and-forth to one another along the blue line. Poulin took a gamble and as Marois attempted to send a return feed to Statsny, the Flyers captain suddenly had the puck on his stick and no one between him and goaltender Mario Gosselin.
Racing in alone for three-quarters of the ice surface, Poulin would say later he had a lot of time to think and remembered how the Flyers talked about shooting high on the diminutive 5' 8", 160-pound French-Canadian netminder.
Poulin did just that, going top shelf over Gosselin's glove side to give Philly a 2-0 lead and for all intents and purposes punching his club's ticket to face the Edmonton Oilers in the Cup Final. It was Poulin's second shorthanded marker of the series, and the first ever scored by a Flyer in the postseason while the team was two-men short.
Defenseman Doug Crossman's slap shot found the back of the net past a screened Gosselin while Philly was on a man advantage of their own midway through regulation to set the final score, but it was Poulin's shorthanded tally that deflated the Nords balloon. They hadn't put up much of a fight the rest of the way -- being outshot, 36-15 -- and the 15 shots on Lindbergh were a season-low for the high-powered Quebec offense.
The shutout was Lindbergh's third of the club's postseason run, and would prove to be his last playoff whitewash when he was killed in a car accident early the next fall.
For the Flyers it was a sort of validation that the vast organizational changes made the previous offseason -- Bobby Clarke's retirement to become Bob Clarke, the GM, Mike Keenan brought in as head coach, and a veritable infusion of a fountain of youth that saw rookies Rick Tocchet, Peter Zezel, Murray Craven, and Derrick Smith as regular contributors for the youngest roster in the league (nicknamed the 'Broad Street Babes') -- had the franchise on the correct course moving forward. It also showed they could not only win in the regular season as in the past few years, but also in the postseason, as well.
1997 -- Eric Lindros and John LeClair set up all three goals and Garth Snow stopped 24 shots -- including 12 of 13 in the third period -- to lead the Flyers to a 3-1 triumph over the New York Rangers at the CoreStates Center in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final.
Dainius Zubrus and Janne Niinimaa staked Philadelphia to a 2-0 lead in the first 4:39 of play, and Eric Desjardins added an insurance goal in the third period.
Luc Robitaille ruined Snow's bid for his first-ever postseason shutout with just 10 seconds remaining in the contest.
2000: Rick Tocchet and Daymond Langkow each scored within a 52-second span early in the third period to rally the Flyers to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the New Jersey Devils in Game 2 at the First Union Center of the Eastern Conference Final.
Philly had been thoroughly dominated by the Devils in Game 1, and the team knew they couldn't afford to drop both games on home ice to start the series as they had in the previous round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tocchet got the ball rolling in the right direction just 1:38 into the contest, digging the rebound of an Adam Burt point shot away from Martin Brodeur, kicking the puck across the crease, and batting it into the net as he was being hit.
After N.J. got their bearings they slowly began taking over play, and tied the game when Scott Gomez tipped Colin White's point shot past Brian Boucher late in the stanza.
Philadelphia had to wonder if the hockey gods were conspiring against them when Craig Berube turned the puck over to Jason Arnott at center ice, and Arnott's slap shot redirected off defenseman Chris Therien's stick, rang both posts behind Boucher before resting in the back of the net to give the Devils the lead early in the second.
That lead was doubled late in the session when Patrik Elias' fluttering backhander somehow snuck past Boucher on a two-on-one feed from Petr Sykora.
Trailing 3-1 late in the second period, Eric Desjardins got Philadelphia on the comeback trail when he beat Brodeur with 38.8 seconds left in the middle frame to give the team a sign of life. Tocchet had the puck in the corner and saw Desjardins moving in from the right point, and sent a perfect cross-ice feed that the defenseman knocked past Brodeur to cut the deficit to one goal at the second intermission.
Tocchet was the catalyst on Desjardins' goal, and he would knot the game up with his second of the night at 1:06 of the third. Keith Primeau controlled the puck behind the New Jersey net and hit Tocchet with a slick no-look pass at the right circle, where the winger snapped a shot past Brodeur to make it 3-3.
The crowd had barely quieted when Langkow took a pass from Keith Jones, and sent a slap shot towards the Devils cage. Tocchet was crashing the crease and a rebound bounced past Brodeur to give the Flyers the lead. Hats rained down on the First Union Center ice as it appeared Tocchet had scored to give him a hat trick, but video replay showed the puck caromed in off the back of White, who was attempting to wrestle Tocchet away from the crease.
"Whether we win or not, this team is special," Tocchet said after the game of the adversity the Flyers had endured -- head coach Roger Nielsen being diagnosed with cancer and replaced by Craig Ramsay, and concussions to both of the club's big centers Eric Lindros and Primeau, during the course of the season. "I don't care what happens from here on out, the stuff that has gone on here, it's amazing what these guys have done."
2010: Claude Giroux, Daniel Briere, Braydon Coburn, and Scott Hartnell each scored a goal and set up another, and Michael Leighton turned aside all 28 shots he faced to record his first career playoff shutout in a 6-0 drubbing of the Montreal Canadiens at the Wachovia Center in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final.
Just two days after their historic win in Game 7 of their conference semifinal against the Boston Bruins to become only the third team to ever advance after falling behind 0-3 in a series, the Flyers surprisingly had much more jump than visiting Montreal in this one.
Coburn notched his first career postseason goal when he jammed the crease and knocked home a loose puck with Scott Gomez off for roughing 3:55 into the game for the only marker of the opening stanza, but Philadelphia really got things going in the second.
Rookie forward James van Riemsdyk -- who two days earlier posted his first-ever playoff tally to start the epic comeback from 0-3 down in the first period of Game 7 in Boston -- lit the lamp for the second consecutive contest, swiping the puck past Jaroslav Halak following a Giroux faceoff win 30 seconds into the second period.
Briere rifled a slapper past Halak from the top of the right circle one second after a Maxim Lapierre roughing minor ended to make it 3-0 less than four minutes later, and Simon Gagne scored his fifth goal in five games since returning from a broken toe to end Halak's evening just before the midpoint of regulation.