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Return Flight: Dave Schultz completes the sweep

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He wasn’t known for scoring goals, but Dave Schultz provided a pretty important goal during the 1974 Stanley Cup run.

Arizona Coyotes v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Throughout the season, we’ll be taking a walk down memory lane whenever the Flyers open their season series against an opponent. We’ll be remembering a game, goal, or highlight Philly created while playing against that particular team. It won’t always be the most notable memory the Orange and Black have against that team, but it’ll be something that Flyers’ fans will want to remember.

Dave Schultz holds a special place in the history of the Philadelphia Flyers. As the enforcer of the Broad Street Bullies, The Hammer provided several iconic fights in his time as the toughest member of the toughest team in the history of the NHL. His pummeling of Dale Rolfe, making Keith Magnuson bleed, and trying to take on New York Islanders’ fans are some of his most infamous moments of violence. Not only do his 2,292 penalty minutes rank 35th all-time, Schultz led the league in PIMs in four different seasons. His 472 penalty minutes during the 1974-75 season is the most for a single season and he has two of the four 400-plus PIM seasons in NHL history.

All things considered, Schultz posted alright numbers for being a facepuncher in the 1970’s. Over 535 games spanning nine seasons, Schultz recorded 79 goals and 121 assists for an even 200 points over his career. He recorded two 20-goal seasons, one of which was a 20-goal campaign he had for the Orange and Black during the 1973-74 season. In addition to his regular season production, Schultz took part in six postseason runs where he accumulated eight goals, 12 assists, and 412 penalty minutes. Only one of his eight postseason goals was a game-winner, but it served as a pretty important game-winner in Flyers’ history.

Over the first five seasons of their history, Philadelphia reached the postseason three times and were swept in two of those series. The lone series where they won a game was the opening round of the 1968 playoffs, where they erased a 3-1 series deficit to the St. Louis Blues but ultimately lost in seven games. In the 1973 playoffs, the Flyers finally earned their first playoff series win in franchise history, as a Gary Dornhoefer overtime goal in Game 5 helped Philly take down the Minnesota North Stars in six games. Although they were eliminated by the Montreal Canadiens in the following round, the Flyers were poised to make a deep postseason run in 1974.

With a record of 50-16-12, the Flyers finished the 1973-74 campaign with 112 points, which was good enough to finish first in the eight-team West Division and second behind the Boston Bruins’ 113 points across the entire 16-team NHL. With a defense of Jimmy and Joe Watson, Ed Van Impe, Andre Dupont, Barry Ashbee, and Tom Bladon paired with Bernie Parent in net, the Flyers finished at the top of the league in several defensive categories. They finished tied with the Chicago Blackhawks for the least amount of goals allowed with 164, finished first with a penalty kill percentage of 88.39, first with 20 shorthanded goals, the least amount of shots allowed with 2,209, and the second-best save percentage across the league with .927. Offensively, Bobby Clarke finished 12th across the league with 35 goals, tenth with 52 helpers, and fifth with 87 points. Rick MacLeish finished tied for 17th with 32 goals, tied for 16th with 45 assists, and tied for 15th with 77 points. Ross Lonsberry also had 32 goals, while Bill Barber finished tied for 13th with 34 goals for a well-rounded and dangerous Flyers’ team.

Since the top four seeds from each division advanced to the postseason, the top-seeded Flyers took on the fourth-seeded Atlanta Flames in the opening round of the 1974 postseason. With a record of 30-34-14 and a goal differential of minus-24 in their second season in the NHL, the Flames’ 74 points was the lowest for any of the playoff clubs that season. Tom Lysiak was the only Flame to finish in the top 20 of any of the major scoring fields, as he finished tied for 16th in helpers with 45. Lysiak led the 1973-74 Flames with 64 points, which would have been fourth on the 1973-74 Flyers, while Jacques Richard led Atlanta with 27 goals, which would have been fifth on that Flyers’ team. Needless to say, things weren’t looking too great for the Flames, which was proven over the series.

In Game 1 at The Spectrum on April 9th, the Flyers jumped out to a 1-0 series lead thanks to a 4-1 victory. Orest Kindrachuk recorded one of his three postseason two-goal games over his career and a game-high seven shots on net in his very first NHL playoff game, while Parent stopped 31 shots. Not only did Dornhoefer open the scoring with a shorthanded goal in the final seconds of the first period while Clarke sat in the sin bin for interference, but he also fought Bryan Hextall Jr. (Ron’s dad) in the second period. Bladon potted a power-play goal on one of his four shots on net, as the Flyers outshot the Flames 41-32.

Two days later, Philly provided another decisive win at The Spectrum to earn a 2-0 series lead, as they headed to Atlanta after a 5-1 win in Game 2. MacLeish completed a natural hat trick over a 15-minute span in the second period for the first of his three career postseason hat tricks. He also provided the primary helper on Jimmy Watson’s first career playoff goal halfway through the third period for the first of his two four-point playoff performances. Lonsberry had a pair of assists and Rey Comeau was the only Flame to beat Parent in the win, as the Orange and Black finished with a 33-21 shot advantage.

As the series shifted to the Omni Coliseum, the Flyers continued their dominance of the Flames with a 4-1 win in Game 3 for a commanding 3-0 series lead. This loss, however, wouldn’t sit well with Atlanta. After Don Saleski and Clarke gave the visitors a 2-0 lead just 5:02 into the contest, Larry Romanchych made it a one-goal game with 11:13 left in the second period before a big brawl broke out.

As a result of this brawl, Schultz finished with 25 PIMs due to a fighting major, 10-minute misconduct, and a game misconduct. It was one of three postseason games Schultz had where he finished with 25 penalty minutes or more. Bill Flett had 15 PIMs, his highest for a single playoff game, and Van Impe finished with 12. For Atlanta, Curt Bennett had a game-high 30 PIMs, while Butch Deadmarsh had 17 penalty minutes and John Stewart had ten. Thanks to 73 penalty minutes from the Flyers, their ninth-highest total for a single postseason game, and 81 from the Flames, their eighth-highest for a single postseason game, the teams combined for 154 PIMs.

Atlanta failed to use the violence as a turning point, as MacLeish made it a 3-1 game 16 seconds after the brawl. Barber finalized the score with 17:40 left in regulation, as the Flames failed to win the first game in the series where they finished with more shots.

Game 4 finally presented a challenge for the Flyers. After Romanchych opened the scoring for Atlanta 3:28 in, Jean Lemieux made it 2-0 early in the second period and Comeau extended the Flames’ lead to three with 3:41 left in the middle frame. Dupont’s first goal of the 1974 postseason came just 29 seconds after Comeau’s to make it a two-goal game heading into the third period. Dornhoefer and Bladon scored power-play goals 5:18 apart to make it a 3-3 tilt with 13:26 left in regulation, which is where the score stood at the end of 60 minutes.

A few minutes into overtime, Clarke lined up for a faceoff in the neutral zone against Hextall. Flett jumped on the puck after the draw and fed it back to Clarke at the top of the circles. With a swift move to get around Noel Price, Clarke dished it to Schultz, who walked in and ripped one past Phil Myre for a 4-3 overtime win and a series sweep.

Out of the 608 regular season or postseason games Schultz played over his career, this was Schultz’s only overtime goal (a big reason behind that is there was no regular season overtime until the 1982-83 season, three seasons after Schultz’s final NHL appearance). Clarke’s assist on Schultz’s OT goal was his third helper of the game for the first of his three three-assist postseason games over his career. The sweep was the first of the Flyers’ six sweeps in franchise history to date and the first of five series to date that the Flyers have won with an overtime goal.

The Flyers then went on to beat the New York Islanders in seven games before they beat the Boston Bruins in six games to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

*Stats via Hockey Reference, NHL.com, and Flyers History

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