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Today in Philadelphia Flyers history: Picking up a Rifle, Hextall hack, Richards' 'Shift' puts team in '10 Final

Flyers acquire a Rifle, blatant offside leads to goal in controversial Cup loss, Hextall takes a huge hack, team moves closer to closing out NYR in '95 ECSF, and Richards provides a shift for the ages to lead club to '10 Final headline May 24

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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 have shaped the organization throughout the club's storied history

Philadelphia has posted a 2-3 mark in five all-time May 24 playoff tilts, one a loss in the Stanley Cup Final that had a couple of controversial calls that eventually led to the opposition hoisting the ultimate prize, and a legendary shift from a captain that propelled the Flyers into the 2010 Cup Final.

Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place on May 24:

1980 -- The first-ever Flyers action on this calendar day turned into something of a nightmare as a couple of bad non-calls led directly to New York Islanders goals, and Bobby Nystrom provided the final dagger in overtime of Game 6 in a 5-4 Isles triumph at Nassau Coliseum to give N.Y. their first Cup in franchise history.

After Reggie Leach gave Philadelphia an early lead, but the Islanders took the lead with a pair of controversial tallies;

Denis Potvin's deflection goal four and a half minutes later that tied the game appeared to be played with a high stick when it beat Pete Peeters, but was allowed.

A Butch Goring zone entry was two feet offsides and the play was so far offsides the Flyers all stopped skating, but for whatever reason linesman Leon Stickle didn't blow the play dead as the Isles seized the opportunity and quickly put the puck into the net before the Flyers knew what was happening.

The team that found a way to go unbeaten in a North American professional sports record 35 consecutive games during the regular season (25-0-10) was a special bunch, and their resiliency would be tested time and time again in this potential elimination contest.

Rookie winger Brian Propp answered with less than a minute and a half remaining in the opening frame to send the clubs to their respective locker rooms knotted at 2-2.

The middle stanza was all Isles as Mike Bossy beat Peeters on what was an absolutely lethal power play during the entire series, and Nystrom made it 4-2 with just 14 seconds before the second intermission.

New York outshot Philly by a 25-12 count over the opening 40 minutes, but the Flyers carried play during the third with their backs against the wall. They outshot the home squad 11-5, tying the score on early goals by defenseman Bob Daily and John Paddock.

Nystrom redirected a John Tonelli feed high over Peeters into the net for the dramatic Cup-winning goal 7:11 into the overtime, helping the Islanders join the Flyers as the second 1967 expansion club to win a championship.

But those who watched in Philadelphia will always remember the bad calls in Game 6 --especially the Goring offsides -- and think of what might have been had there been a Game 7 back in Philadelphia.

Many have said to me throughout the years there is no way the Flyers would have lost a Game 7 in the Spectrum, but that's a point that will only be able to be debated. The Islanders had proven they could win in Philly -- taking Game 1 in overtime -- but the Flyers had handled them rather easily in the last two contests in the Flyers' beloved barn, 8-3 in Game 2 and 6-3 in Game 5.

Perhaps they would have won Cup number three had they had better fortune with the calls in Game 6 and had the chance for Game 7 back at the Spectrum, but the only thing that was definite was it was such a horrible finish to what had been a magical season in South Philly.

1987 -- The Flyers fell behind early in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, but there would be no repeat of the miraculous comeback victory in the previous contest as the Edmonton Oilers skated away with a 4-1 triumph at the Spectrum, and a commanding 3-1 series lead as the scene shifted back to Edmonton.

The game was marred by an ugly incident midway through the third period as combative rookie netminder Ron Hextall -- perhaps feeling the chance to win the Cup slipping away quickly and angry after taking a poke to the chest from Glenn Anderson as he juggled the puck trying to get a handle on it earlier -- took a two-handed lumberjack swing at Edmonton forward Kent Nilsson, chopping him down in the back of the legs in front of the Flyers crease.

The league surprisingly failed to take action on Hextall immediately -- or maybe not so surprisingly, as they probably knew ratings were likely to drop drastically without the Flyers' fiery emotional leader in goal -- as NHL justice didn't reign down on Hexy until a month later, when he was suspended for the first eight games of the 1987/88 campaign.

1995 -- Kevin Dineen scored a pair of unassisted goals as the Flyers built a 4-0 lead, and Ron Hextall made 32 saves as Philadelphia skated to a 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Mikael Renberg, Rod Brind'Amour, and defenseman Kevin Haller also scored for Philly, who grabbed a stranglehold 3-0 Eastern Conference Semifinal series lead in their first postseason action since 1989.

2010 -- Jeff Carter scored twice and Mike Richards added a spectacular shorthanded goal --- which would become known simply as "The Shift" -- and two assists to lead the Flyers to a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at the Wachovia Center and a 4-games-to-1 Eastern Conference Final series triumph and a berth in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.

With Montreal already up 1-0 and on a power play with Kimmo Timonen in the penalty box, Richards supplied one of the most memorable shifts in recent Flyers history.

First, he ran over Marc-Andre Bergeron as the puck came back to the left point, enabling Philadelphia to skate away on a shorthanded three-on-two rush. Claude Giroux hit Richards along the left wing, and Richards hit a trailing Braydon Coburn up the middle but Jaroslav Halak came up with the big stop to keep the Habs one-goal lead intact.

But as play continued in the Philly zone, the puck was dumped out to center ice and it became a footrace between a seemingly-gassed Richards and Montreal defender Roman Hamrlik. The race for the puck became a three player quest as it entered the Canadiens left wing circle, as Halak joined the chase.

All three arrived at the same time as Richards took a whack to try to push the disc past the wayward netminder, and it trickled through the pile as they all crashed to the ice together.

Richards was first to regain his skates and picked up the puck on the backhand at the left post, making sure to tuck i into the cage for a shorthanded marker that tied the game and nearly blew the roof off the Wachovia Center with the ensuing crowd reaction.

Arron Asham and Carter scored the lone goals of the second period, before Scott Gomez brought Montreal back to within a goal early in the third. But Carter iced the outcome with an empty netter with 23 seconds remaining and Halak pulled for an extra attacker, and the Flyers were set for their first Final series since 1997.

Michael Leighton stopped 25 of 27 Montreal shots and finished the series allowing just seven goals over the course of the five games, becoming the first goalkeeper in franchise history to record three shutouts in one series.

May 24 Flyers trade

On this day in 1974, Philadelphia GM Keith "The Thief" Allen acquired right winger Reggie Leach from the California Golden Seals in exchange for Al MacAdam, Larry Wright, and a 1974 first-round draft pick. Bobby Clarke had much success playing with Leach in junior hockey with the Flin Flon Bombers, and had lobbied Allen regularly on trying to bring "The Riverton Rifle" to Philadelphia. The Flyers had just won their first Stanley Cup, but Leach's shot and pinpoint sniper eye provided yet another lethal element to the club's Cup defense. He scored 45 goals in his first season on the LCB Line with Clarke and Bill Barber, then had one of the greatest seasons in NHL history when he netted a franchise-record 61 regular season goals and an NHL-record 19 more in the postseason in 1975/76. It was the first time any player had ever lit the lamp 80 times in one regular season and playoffs combined, and he became just the third player in NHL history to win the Conn Smythe Trophy from a team that did not ultimately win the Cup as the team's "Hat Trick in '76' came up just short. He again scored 50 goals during the 1979/80 campaign, and finished his time with Philadelphia with 306 goals in 606 regular season games, and 47 goals in 91 postseason contests and one Stanley Cup.

May 24 Flyers birthdays

Bruce Gamble was born on this day in Port Arthur, Ontario in 1938. He was the goaltender the Flyers traded Bernie Parent to the Toronto Maple Leafs in order to get back in 1971, playing in a total of 35 games over two seasons, posting a record of 10-14-4, with a 3.09 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. Gamble made 30 saves in a February 8, 1972 victory over the Canucks in Vancouver -- coming within 1:58 of earning a shutout -- when he complained of chest pains. He wasn't sure if he had take a shot off his chest or if he'd taken contact, but it turned out he had suffered a heart attack at some point during the game. He was forced to retire. Gamble suffered another heart attack in 1979, and eventually passed away in 1982.

Pelle Lindbergh was born Göran Per-Eric Lindbergh on this day in 1959 in Stockholm, Sweden. Growing up he was a fan of the Flyers and Bernie Parent, and his dream was to one day play in the NHL. It was a dream come true when Philadelphia selected him with their second round pick in the 1979 draft, and he would have a chance to play for his favorite team. After thriving during a year plus playing for the AHL's Maine Mariners, Lindbergh got the call to Philly. He was part of the All-Rookie team in 1982/83, and became a Vezina-winner with a 40-win season in 1984/85 and leading a young Flyers team to the Cup Final against the Oilers. Lindbergh and the Flyers were well on their way to another banner season in 1985/86, when after a November 9 game the diminutive netminder crashed his Porsche in the early-morning hours on November 10. He was pronounced brain dead, and tragically passed away too young at the age of 26.