May the fourth be with you is an ode to Star Wars, but the Flyers sure have made May 4th somewhat of a dramatic saga in their own right.
First we start with perhaps the most epic overtime game in franchise history, a five overtime marathon in 2000 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh where the legend of Keith Primeau as a Flyer would burst onto the scene 12:01 into the fifth overtime.
With 8:01 left in the fifth overtime, and at 2:35 am, Primeau burst down the right wing and pulled the puck away from Darius Kasparaitis to the circle, then let go a wicked wrister that beat Ron Tugnutt to give the Flyers a 2-1 win and evened their Eastern Conference Semifinals series at two apiece.
After blowing home-ice advantage by losing the opening two games in Philadelphia, Primeau’s goal deep into the Pittsburgh night left the Flyers with all the momentum in the series after Andy Delmore gave the desperate team a much-needed overtime win in game three a few nights prior.
Of course Primeau would go on to have several dramatic moments in his time in Orange and Black, but none are as widely known as his heroics that night.
Also known for dramatic moments in his short time in Orange and Black would be one Jeremy Roenick, who enjoyed a similarity epic moment in overtime of the playoffs on this date too.
While Primeau’s five overtime winner merely evened the series with the Penguins (the Flyers would go on to win in six games), JR’s tally would be nail in the coffin in the Flyers’ six-game series win in the Eastern Conference Semifinals over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
And man was it an epic goal all-around.
For starters there was the finish from Roenick, which was a choice snipe on a two-on-one as Tony Amonte drove the net. But the other was the ridiculous action end-to-end in that overtime session. And then there was the courageous Sami Kapanen, who nearly got beheaded about a minute before the goal to keep a puck in at the blue line.
The entire sequence is a crazy few minutes of hockey, just pure pandemonium in every sense of the word.
An ending fit for the ages.
Adding insult to injury for the Maple Leafs, Roenick’s improbable winner marked the second-straight year that Toronto would be bounced from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Flyers.
The Maple Leafs haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967.
Also on May 4th...in 1975 the Flyers beat the Islanders to take a 3-0 lead in their Stanley Cup Semifinals series...they’d need seven games to close it out but wouldn’t go on to win the Cup over the Buffalo Sabres...James van Riemsdyk and Kent Huskins (remember him?) were both born on this date...