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Return Flight: Brian Propp scores hat trick in win vs. Calgary

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A 7-1 slaughter of the Calgary Flames; this was the mid 80’s Flyers at their best.

Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via 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.

The 1984-85 Philadelphia Flyers were a very special hockey team. Transitioning out of the Broad Street Bullies era, a team full of hungry kids and established vets took the league by storm. After being swept by Washington in the first round the previous year, Mike Keenan was brought in to replace Bob McCammon. Keenan’s rough and tough mentality wore on the players as his tenure went on, but you can’t argue the success Iron Mike had in the beginning.

The most important element of this Flyers team however, was their young star goaltender, Pelle Lindbergh. Lindbergh was sensational to start the season and quickly won the starting job over Bob Froese. On a mid-January night vs. Calgary, this Flyers team was at their peak.

In the previous return flight I mentioned how difficult it can be at times to find save clips from the 1990’s, so clearly it’s even harder to find ones from the 80’s. Thankfully, there’s this clip of Lindbergh making a huge save early in this game, to keep it scoreless.

Brian Propp would start the Flyers’ scoring in this one with a power play goal, assisted by Tim Kerr and Miroslav Dvorak who I had no idea existed before writing this. You learn something new every day, folks! Thomas Eriksson would follow up Propp’s goal with a power play marker of his own just after the halfway mark. Another Flyer that I had no idea existed, this game is more interesting than I originally thought!

The highlights of this game, though, were the three shorthanded goals the Flyers scored, and it all started with, naturally, Dave Poulin. Captain of the team at the time, Poulin had a sort of specialty at scoring these kinds of goals, and he made no mistake on this kill.

Poulin’s shorthanded tally made it 3-0 Flyers. Before the end of the period, some old-time hockey, or just regular hockey as they would have called it then, broke out with a fight between Dave Brown and Jim Peplinski. Now if this was to get his team going, Jim I have to ask, why wait til the end of the period? That’s some Brandon Manning shit right there.

Well whatever he was trying to do, it didn’t work. Just 38 seconds into the second period Propp and the Flyers were shorthanded again. Brad McCrimmon kept a puck in at the blueline, skated all the way around the net before trying to center to Propp, the first attempt failed but the second did not, and Propp made no mistake.

Just about seven minutes later wouldn’t ya know, the Flyers were shorthanded yet again. If you’ve been paying attention thus far, I think you know what’s coming next.

Propp split the Calgary defense like they were stuck in the ice and scored his second shorty of the game, and picked up the hat-trick. This would be Propp’s 26th goal of the season and it would give the Flyers a commanding 5-0 lead. Dan Quinn (not the Rangers coach) would get Calgary on the board just over four minutes later, but that would be the only goal they’d score in this one.

That doesn’t mean the highlights wouldn’t keep coming, we got two more goals, fights, and a line brawl to get to. It starts with the fights, first up it’s Dave Brown again, this time involved with Tim Hunter who ... well we’ll get to him later.

Then as the second period was ending, we get Derrick Smith vs. Neil Sheehy. This one ends up more as a wrestling match than anything else, but clips like this are so difficult to find from the time period so why not throw it in there.

The third period is where things get interesting. Tim Kerr would score his 34th of the season to make it 6-1 Flyers at the 6:15 mark of the period. About five minutes later, Tim Hunter (see I told you we’d get to him) hit Propp in front of the Flyers’ bench and all hell broke loose.

Eight penalties would be handed out as a result of this melee that somehow didn’t end up in one actual fight? There was plenty of pushing and shoving and bear hugging but no one-on-one tilts. Hunter absolutely lost his mind on this play and would receive a roughing penalty along with a 10 minute misconduct which brought his penalty minutes for the game up to a game-high 19.

Peter Zezel would score the seventh and final goal of the game shortly thereafter, on a snipe shot by Reggie Lemelin. The Flyers would go on to win 7-1 in a beatdown of the Calgary Flames.

This 1984-85 team would go on to the Stanley Cup Final vs. the Edmonton Oilers with some guy named Gretzky, he might have been kinda good? Although they’d lose in five games, this team went on a fantastic run, including some great moments. Tim Kerr scoring four goals in a game in the first round clincher vs. the Rangers, knocking off the New York Islanders in five games just two years off their fourth straight Stanley Cup, and Dave Poulin’s 5-on-3 shorthanded goal vs. Quebec in game six of the conference finals.

This was a Flyers team that most years probably wins the Stanley Cup, much like their team in 1986-87 that went up against the same Oilers. But these 80’s teams gave fans many memories to look back on, and one of them would be this eventful game vs. Calgary.

All stats courtesy of hockey-reference

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