While ousting a defending champion is nice —and puts you one team away from Lord Stanley’s Cup— it’s even sweeter when that team is one of your rivals, and the Rangers to be exact.
After Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, and Mike Richter led the Rangers to the 1994 Cup, the Flyers swept them right out of the 1995 playoffs a year later. The Legion of Doom wreaked havoc on the Rangers in the series, though it was defenseman Karl Dykhuis who led the way in the road win in game four with a pair of early power play goals for the Flyers.
Mikael Renberg and Rod Brind’Amour added insurance tallies to give the Flyers a 4-1 win to take the series on Broadway. Ron Hextall made 31 saves in the win, which sent the Flyers to their first Eastern Conference Final since 1989.
In less fond memories, it was on this day in 2000 that the Flyers suffered a critical loss in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Devils. Not only did the Flyers surrender a 3-1 series lead with the 2-1 loss in game seven, they also lost Eric Lindros to a severe concussion by virtue of a nasty hit from Scott Stevens.
Lindros and Flyers management —then already at odds— would never be the same and it would mark No. 88’s last game as a member of the Orange and Black. He’d be traded to the Rangers the following season and it would be more than a decade before the relationship between the Flyers and Lindros would be repaired.
It’s safe to say that the course of Flyers history was very much changed in that game seven, and one wonders just how different things would have been had the Flyers pulled through in that series. Instead, we’re left with a pile of “what ifs” and one of the more transcended moments in team history.
Also on May 26th in franchise history...the Flyers erase a 3-1 deficit in Edmonton to steal game five of the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals behind a Rick Tocchet game-winning goal...they’d go on to force a hard fought game seven against the mighty Oilers in that series...fan favorite Peter Zezel passes away in 2009 after battling a rare blood disorder...he was just 44 years old...