While there are many famous dates in Flyers history, there are perhaps none fewer than May 19th.
Why? Because on this date back in 1974, the Flyers became the first expansion team in NHL history to hoist the Stanley Cup. It also marked the first Cup for the franchise after entering the league in 1967 and would be the first of back-to-back Cups with another coming the following season in 1975.
But while the Flyers’ second Stanley Cup remains a cherished moment in history, nothing quite tops the first triumph over the Boston Bruins in 1974.
The Flyers needed just one goal —a Rick MacLeish tip-in— in the first period to make a 1-0 lead over the powerhouse Bruins stick to win the series in six games as fans at the Spectrum flooded the ice to celebrate the historic win.
Part of what made the victory all the more special was how the Flyers did it, by beating an original six franchise in the Cup Finals for the first time ever, and doing so while topping some of the NHL’s most established and illustrious stars like Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito. In the end Orr and Esposito were no match for the Flyers’ netminding ace Bernie Parent, who turned aside all shots he faced along the way to the first of his two Conn Smythe Trophies as playoff MVP.
With Parent locked in and the Flyers’ defense air tight, MacLeish’s first period tally would be all that was need in order to get the iconic call from Flyers play-by-play announcer Gene Hart:
“Orr shoves it down the ice. Parent makes the save. Ladies and gentlemen, the Flyers are going to win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers have won the Stanley Cup!”
46 years later, it’s still the most important date in Flyers history, and one that won’t be forgotten for another half decade —no matter what happens between now and then.
Also on May 19th in franchise history...goaltender Michael Leighton, part of the Flyers’ magical and improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010, was born in 1985...he remains the winningest goalie in American Hockey League history...