On May 22, 1970 the Flyers traded Darrryl Edestrand and Larry Killop in exchange for Ashbee in what was virtually regarded at the time as a minor-league trade. But the deal would turn out to be far from a “minor” deal in any way as Ashbee emerged for the Flyers as a 31-year-old rookie to provide steady play and a competitive warrior-like style to the team while playing through a myriad of injuries over his short career.
Though his career was cut short by an eye injury in the 1974 Stanley Cup Semifinals, Ashbee helped establish the Flyers’ blue collar identity on the ice and was a pivotal force in the Stanley Cup the team won without him that thereafter. Forced to retire due to the injury, Ashbee joined Fred Shero on the bench as the Flyers won back-to-back Cups in 1975.
Ashbee’s hockey legacy lives on Philadelphia today as the team award for most outstanding defenseman is awarded in his name.
On the ice the Flyers pulled them back in the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals with a gritty game three win at the Spectrum to cut the Oilers’ series lead to 2-1 following a 5-3 comeback win. After trailing 3-0 midway through the game, the Flyers exploded for five unanswered goals in the second half of the game to stun the Oilers and send the home crowd into a frenzy. Ron Hextall shut the door to facilitate the comeback bid, which was unheard of given the Oilers’ scoring prowess during that time.
The momentum wouldn’t last though, as the Flyers were downed 4-1 in game four two nights later. The loss left left facing a daunting 3-1 series deficit heading back to Edmonton for Game 5.
More overtime heroics for the 1995 team, as Kevin Haller plays hero as the Flyers beat the Rangers in overtime by a final of 4-3 to take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Haller took the baton from Eric Desjardins, who ended things in game one, and put the cap on a comeback from a 2-0 hole early on in this one. Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg were key, both scoring three points and providing helpers on Haller’s winner.
Also on May 22th in franchise history...the Flyers lose 2-1 in Game 7 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals in Tampa Bay, a game that could only be described by watching paint dry as both teams keyed off in a game that didn’t even come close to the dramatics of the previous six...One of the better names in Flyers history, Janne Niinimaa, was born on this day in 1975...Niinimaa registered 78 points in 138 games with the Flyers over two seasons...