A sometimes frequent 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 perfect 2-0 record in a light all-time May 21 playoff calendar, taking the lone Stanley Cup Final contest played on this day as well as another in a conference semifinal that required overtime.
Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place on May 21:
1985 -- Tim Kerr, Ron Sutter, and Dave Poulin each notched a goal and an assist, while Pelle Lindbergh turned aside 25 of 26 shots as the surprising upstart Flyers -- the youngest team in professional sports -- took Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final from the mighty defending champion Edmonton Oilers by a 4-1 count at the Spectrum.
Ilkka Sinisalo opened the scoring by beating Grant Fuhr late in the first while Philadelphia skated with a man advantage, and that one-goal lead surprisingly held up all the way into the third period against perhaps the greatest offensive machine in league history, which had broken the 400-goal barrier for a fourth consecutive regular season in the 1984/85 campaign.
Mike Keenan used a heavy dose of the line of Derrick Smith, Ron Sutter, and Rick Tocchet and the defensive pairing of Mark Howe and Doug Drossman (Howe's usual partner, Brad McCrimmon, was lost for the remainder of the playoffs with a separated shoulder in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Quebec Nordiques) to neutralize the Wayne Gretzky line, and it worked tremendously in this contest as "The Great One" was held without even picking up a single shot on goal.
Philadelphia carried play over the course of the first 40 minutes -- outshooting the visitors by a wide 29-12 margin -- and it was only because of the play of Fuhr that the lead wasn't bigger than one goal.
But goals from Sutter and Kerr -- who was playing in his first contest after missing five in a row with a shoulder injury suffered in Game 1 against the Nords in the conference final -- in a 2:11 span made it a 3-0 lead near the midway point of the third period.
Edmonton's Willy Lindstrom -- who once had torched the Flyers for five goals in a game while a member of the Winnipeg Jets in 1982 -- spoiled Lindbergh's bid for a shutout with 3:08 left, before Poulin capped the scoring into an empty net with Fuhr pulled in favor of an extra Oiler attacker with just 21 seconds on the clock.
After the game, Oilers head coach Glen Sather complained about Lindbergh's use of a water bottle on top of the net. It was something the goaltender employed due to problems with dehydration during games, a practice that the diminutive Swede pioneered and is now commonplace for all goaltenders.
"Why not have a bucket of chicken or hamburgers up there?" -- Sather's rather curmudgeon-like, classic post-game quote
1986 -- Bob Froese and Darren Jensen shared the Jennings Trophy as the goaltenders for the team with the lowest goals-against average during the regular season, and Mark Howe received the Emery Edge Award as the player with the top plus/minus rating in the NHL with a staggering +85 mark.
1995 -- John LeClair posted his first career postseason hat trick and Eric Desjardins' second goal of the contest was the game-winner 7:03 into overtime that lifted Philly to a hard-fought 5-4 victory over the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semifinal series opener at the Spectrum.
After a relatively easy five-game quarterfinal series triumph over the Buffalo Sabres in their first playoff appearance in six years, the Rangers were historically one of their most-hated spring arch-rivals from the old Patrick Division days. The Broadway Blue Shirts tortured the Flyers and their fans throughout the 80's. Many times the club barely qualified for the postseason until the final weekend of the regular season while Philadelphia battled for overall league supremacy, only to have New York unceremoniously oust them in the first round.
Philadelphia put up 13 more points than the reigning Stanley Cup champion Rangers during a lockout-abbreviated, 48-game campaign, but the way Game 1 began seemed all too similar to past playoffs.
Undisciplined penalties by Eric Lindros and Kevin Dineen led to power play tallies from Brian Leetch and Petr Nedved -- with Nedved's coming with just 15 seconds remaining in the period -- and down 2-0 at the first intermission, things looked bleak for the Orange-and-Black.
LeClair began to take over in the middle period, getting the Flyers on the board early while on a man advantage of their own, then pulling his club back to within a goal again late in the frame after Pat Verbeek had made it a 3-1 game with another power play marker.
"Johnny Vermont" appeared to have completed the hat trick just under nine minutes into the the third, but referee Don Koharski ruled that the whistle had blown play dead just prior to LeClair knocking the puck loose from Mike Richter and pushing it over the goal line.
It didn't take him that much longer to get the one that actually counted, as LeClair tied the contest at 3-3 with 7:10 remaining in regulation.
Desjardins gave Philly their first lead of the contest with 4:49 left, and it looked like Ron Hextall would make it hold up until Verbeek conjured up some ghosts of past postseasons by scoring with just 19 ticks remaining on the clock and send the game into overtime.
The home team controlled play in the extra session, outshooting New York 7-3 in the 7:03 played when the Flyers finally won it.
The winning sequence began with Craig MacTavish winning a faceoff back to Desjardins at the right point. As the centerman headed to the net and tangled with Nedved, Desjardins skated into the right circle, then fired a shot that sailed past both skaters, going over Richter's shoulder and under the cross bar for the game-winner, sending the Spectrum into total pandemonium.