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The Flyers’ biggest goal against every Atlantic Division team

Including goals from Rick MacLeish, Eric Lindros, and Keith Primeau.

Montreal Canadiens v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Five Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

With the Western Conference out of the way we move on to taking a look at the Philadelphia Flyers’ most important goals against teams currently in the Eastern Conference. Let’s start with the Atlantic Division, which might be the division that has produced some of the biggest tallies in franchise history as a pair of Stanley Cup-clinching goals, a series-clincher in overtime, and the quintessential goal of a former Flyers’ captain are included below. Without further ado let’s look at some goals.

Boston Bruins
There’s no question it’s Rick MacLeish’s goal in Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final. After they jumped out to a 3-1 series lead the Flyers were shellacked 5-1 on the road by the Boston Bruins during Game 5 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final to force a Game 6. With 5:12 left in the first period a MacLeish shot beat Gilles Gilbert to serve as the game’s lone tally. Bernie Parent handled the rest, as he stopped all 30 of the Bruins’ shots in the contest.

There is no topping the first Stanley Cup-clinching goal in team history in a game where there was only one goal, which is why you can look for a BSH article that will take a deep dive on this marker later in the week.

IN CONSIDERATION: Bobby Clarke’s OT goal in Game 2 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final, Simon Gagne’s OT goal in Game 4 of the 2010 comeback, Gagne’s game-winner in Game 7 of the 2010 comeback, and Andre Dupont’s game-tying goal in Game 2 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final.

Buffalo Sabres
Much like MacLeish’s goal, there’s little question that Bob Kelly’s opening goal in Game 6 of the 1975 Stanley Cup Final is the Flyers’ most meaningful goal against the Buffalo Sabres. After the Flyers took Games 1 and 2 in Philly, the Sabres took the Fog Game in Game 3 and evened the series with a 4-2 win in Game 4. Dave Schultz potted a pair of goals in Game 5 to help the Flyers win 5-1 to push the series back to Buffalo for the decisive Game 6.

After the first 40 minutes failed to produce a goal for either side, Kelly muscled his way to puck possession behind the net before working his way to the front of the cage and backhanding the game-winning goal past Roger Crozier just 11 ticks into the third frame. It was the only goal support Parent needed in a 32-save Cup-clinching shutout, but Orest Kindrachuk’s willingness to get laid out while serving up a great pass set up Bill Clement’s insurance marker with 2:47 left in regulation. Without Kelly’s goal there’s no guarantee of a win in Game 6 or a second Flyers’ Stanley Cup.

‘The Hound’ Kelly was known more for his tenacity and energy on the ice than his goal scoring, as evidenced by his 128 goals and 1,285 penalty minutes in 741 games over 10 seasons with the Orange and Black. Luckily for Philly that marked Kelly’s third tally of the 1975 playoffs as he had scored two days earlier in the first period of the Flyers’ 5-1 decision in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final and had the lone goal in a 5-1 loss to the New York Islanders in Game 5 of the 1975 Semifinals.

IN CONSIDERATION: Clement’s goal in Game 6 of the 1975 Stanley Cup Final, Ville Leino’s Game 6 OT winner in 2011, Shjon Podein’s goal in Game 5 of 1997 Eastern Conference Semifinals, and Danny Briere’s shootout winner to end a ten-game losing streak in 2008.

Detroit Red Wings
Since the Flyers’ lone playoff experience against the Detroit Red Wings is being swept in the 1997 Stanley Cup Final it’s hard to pick franchise’s most important goal. Considering the importance at the time, Rod Brind’Amour’s game-tying goal in Game 2 of that Final is the hockey team on Broad Street’s biggest goal against the Wings.

Philly scored a grand total of six goals in the four-game 1997 Stanley Cup Final with three of those being Brind’Amour power-play goals at home in the first periods of Games 1 and 2. His first goal on the man advantage came 59 seconds after Kirk Maltby’s shorthanded goal to open the scoring in Game 1, but the Flyers went down again before the end of the period on the way to a 4-2 defeat. Game 2 didn’t start off in Philadelphia’s favor as Brendan Shanahan and Steve Yzerman gave the visitors a two-goal lead 9:22 in. With under three minutes to go in the first Slava Fetisov was sent to the penalty box for a high stick, which led to a Brind’Amour redirection of a Janne Niinimaa shot from the point past Mike Vernon to make it a one-goal game. Igor Larionov was caught hooking 55 seconds later to set up another Brind’Amour redirection on a Niinimaa point shot to level the score at two with 1:09 to go in the first period.

Unfortunately Maltby gave Detroit the edge early in the second period and the Red Wings grabbed a 2-0 series lead thanks to a 4-2 decision in Game 2 before the clubs headed to Michigan. John LeClair gave the Flyers their only lead of the 1997 Stanley Cup Final early in Game 3, but it lasted all of two minutes before the Wings scored their first of six unanswered for a 6-1 victory. The Red Wings of course completed the sweep two days later with a 2-1 score in Game 4.

As for Brind’Amour the future Carolina Hurricanes’ captain had an incredible 1997 postseason. He led the team with 13 goals in 19 playoff games and his 21 points was tied for second with LeClair trailing only Eric Lindros’ 26. This was his last of four two-goal games during that postseason, as he completed the feat once in each of the team’s four playoff rounds in 1997.

IN CONSIDERATION: John LeClair giving Philly their only lead in 1997 Stanley Cup Final, Scott Hartnell’s game-winner to snap 23-year winless streak in Detroit, and Claude Giroux’s game-winner in April of 2010.

Florida Panthers
Similar to the Red Wings, the Florida Panthers are a team the Flyers have only faced once in the playoffs and it resulted in a loss in the late 1990’s. For that reason the Orange and Black’s biggest strike against the Cats is Lindros’ game-winning goal in Game 3 of the 1996 Eastern Conference Semifinals.

After reaching the 1995 Eastern Conference Final the Flyers were set to make another deep playoff run in 1996. They had defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games during the 1997 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to face the Panthers, who had taken out the Boston Bruins in five games during the opening round. Florida took the low-event Game 1 in Philly 2-0, as John Vanbiesbrouck posted an 18-save shutout against Philadelphia in a tilt where the Panthers needed just 15 shots on net to win. Lindros broke a 2-2 tie with 10:49 remaining for a 3-2 Game 2 win to set the Flyers up with a chance for their first series lead in Game 3.

Late in the goalless first period of Game 3 Brian Skrudland caught Brind’Amour up high with a stick following a faceoff in the Flyers’ zone to earn a double minor. Dan Quinn put home a rebound seconds before the first Skrudland minor ended to open the scoring while Lindros beat Vanbiesbrouck 54 ticks later to hand the Orange and Black a 2-0 lead. Paul Laus cut the lead in half in the second period, but Trent Klatt tacked on another goal in the third to finalize the 3-1 win to give the Flyers a 2-1 series lead. Unfortunately for Philadelphia a Dave Lowry overtime goal in Game 4 and a Mike Hough double-overtime goal in Game 5 helped the Panthers take the series in six games before ultimately being swept in the 1996 Stanley Cup Final by the Colorado Avalanche.

As for Lindros that was his fifth of six shots he had light the lamp during the 1996 postseason. It was one of 24 playoff goals he had as a Flyer to help him accumulate 57 points and 118 penalty minutes in 50 games over five different playoff runs. Combining his 1995-96 regular season and playoffs Lindros had 53 goals and 74 assists for 127 points in 85 total appearances.

IN CONSIDERATION: Lindros’ game-winner in Game 2 of 1996 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Mikael Renberg’s game-tying goal with 1:07 left in Game 4 of 1996 Eastern Conference Semifinals, and Giroux clinching a playoff spot in April of 2014.

Montreal Canadiens
The play that defined Mike Richards’ career is also the Flyers’ most important goal against the Montreal Canadiens. Philly’s hockey club and the Habs have quite a bit of playoff history against one another, but no goal tops the end of the former captain’s shift in Game 5 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Final.

The Flyers and Canadiens have met in the playoffs six times with almost each series playing a big role in one of the team’s histories. Montreal beat Philly on their way to a Stanley Cup in 1973 before beating them in the Stanley Cup Final in 1976. They were also the franchise the Orange and Black beat in the 1987 and 2010 Eastern Conference Finals on two of the team’s better playoff runs ever. The other two meetings were the 1989 Eastern Conference Finals, where Ron Hextall tried to kill Chris Chelios, and the 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals, where the sixth-seeded Flyers upset the top-seeded Canadiens in five games. Although Rick Tocchet’s game-winner in Game 6 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals came with 12:49 left in an eventual 4-3 game, Richards’ goal halted a trend in the 2010 series to help the team reach the Stanley Cup Final.

Through four games of the 2010 Eastern Conference Final the team that scored first won and did so in emphatic fashion. The Flyers won Games 1 and 2 6-0 and 3-0 respectively before Mike Cammalleri potted Montreal’s first goal of the series in the first period of Game 3 for a 5-1 Habs’ win. Giroux opened the scoring in an eventual 3-0 Game 4 victory to give Philadelphia a chance to close out the series on Broad Street. Things didn’t start off on the best note though, as Brian Gionta had a shot somehow go through Michael Leighton 59 seconds into Game 5 to give the visitors a lead in the game’s first minute. A roughing call on Kimmo Timonen put the risk of the Orange and Black going down by two, a goal total the losing team in each of the first four games of the series failed to match. Around halfway through the kill the puck worked its way back to Marc-Andre Bergeron at the right point and the rest is history.

Although it only tied the game it marked the first time in the series that either club had erased a deficit of any kind and moved the Canadiens out of their comfort zone of protecting the house once a lead was gained. Arron Asham and Jeff Carter made it three unanswered tallies from the Flyers as they scored 1:24 apart in the second period to help Philly win 4-2 to earn a spot in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. For Richards it was one of seven goals he had in the 2010 postseason and one of his 23 points, the second-most for the Flyers in that postseason behind Briere’s 30.

IN CONSIDERATION: Tocchet’s series-winner in Game 6 of 1987 Prince of Wales Conference Finals, Scottie Upshall’s series-winner in Game 5 of 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals, and Dave Poulin’s overtime goal in Game 5 of 1989 Prince of Wales Conference Finals.

Ottawa Senators
The Flyers have an interesting history with the Ottawa Senators, but it’s all about violence. When it comes to lighting the lamp the distinction of having the Orange and Black’s most important goal against the Sens might belong to Michal Handzus for scoring the lone goal in Game 4 of the 2003 Eastern Conference Semifinals.

When most Flyers’ fans hear Ottawa Senators they immediately remember the crazy fight-filled game back in March of 2004. On top of that the clubs also got into a pretty heated line brawl back in 2011 and even mixed it up earlier this season. Outside of the violence however the Flyers’ rivalry with Ottawa is rather forgetful from Philly’s perspective. The clubs have only met twice in the postseason, as the Sens knocked out Philly in back-to-back playoffs in 2002 and 2003.

The 2002 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals may be one of the worst Flyers’ playoff series in franchise history. Following Ruslan Fedotenko’s overtime goal for a Game 1 win, Philadelphia was blanked for three straight games and went 183:53 without a goal before Dan McGillis opened the scoring in an eventual Game 5 2-1 overtime loss. Martin Havlat’s overtime winner concluded a five-game series where the Orange and Black beat Patrick Lalime just twice in 17 periods as the goaltender posted a .985 save percentage in the series.

The following postseason the Flyers knocked out the Toronto Maple Leafs in a seven-game Eastern Conference Quarterfinals that featured three games going to at least double overtime to face the Sens, who had just beat the New York Islanders in five games, in the 2003 Eastern Conference Semifinals. The series started with the Flyers blowing a two-goal lead in Ottawa to drop Game 1 4-2 for their fifth straight postseason defeat at the hands of the Senators. Gagne’s fourth goal of the 2003 postseason was all Roman Cechmanek needed in Game 2, as he stopped all 33 of Ottawa’s shots in a 2-0 win to send the series back to Pennsylvania tied.

The Flyers once again found themselves trailing in the series, as Wade Redden was able to beat Cechmanek with a shot from the boards just under seven minutes into overtime of Game 3. This set up a pivotal Game 4 for the Flyers, as it was either fall down 3-1 in the series for a must-win on the road or head to Canada with a chance to grab a series lead in Game 5. Cechmanek yet again stopped everything thrown at him, as he denied 28 Sens’ shots to help the Flyers to a 1-0 win. Handzus provided the lone goal in the Game 4 win, which went something like this according to the AP:

‘Handzus gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead with 2:54 left in the first period, deflecting a shot by Chris Therien into the top left corner. It was Handzus’ first playoff goal in 34 games.

Handzus won a faceoff and passed the puck back to Therien, who wristed a shot from just inside the blue line. With two defenders draped on him, Handzus got the blade of his stick on the puck, sending it over Patrick Lalime’s shoulder.’

The goal gave Philly their win that came deepest in either of the 2002 or 2003 series against the Sens and also gave the club a realistic shot to beat Ottawa. Unfortunately for the Flyers Cechmanek gave up four goals on 16 shots in a 5-2 Game 5 defeat before the Senators closed out the series at the First Union Center with a 5-1 shellacking in Game 6. Ottawa went on to reach the 2003 Eastern Conference Finals before bowing out to the eventual Stanley Cup winners in the New Jersey Devils. As for Philly this series marked the end of Cechmanek’s time with the Flyers.

IN CONSIDERATION: Ruslan Fedotenko’s overtime goal in Game 1 of 2002 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Gagne’s game-winner in Game 2 of 2003 Eastern Conference Semifinals, and Wayne Simmonds’ game-winner in April of 2016.

Tampa Bay Lightning
With only two possible options for Flyers’ most important goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning there’s really no wrong answer. However, since his goal did lead to Gagne’s overtime-winner, Keith Primeau’s game-tying goal with 1:49 remaining in Game 6 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Final is Philadelphia’s most important goal against the Lightning.

The 2003-04 Flyers were a pretty deep squad who looked like they might be able to end the team’s nearly 30-year Stanley Cup drought. After they finished first in the Atlantic Division with a record of 40-21-15-6 (wins-losses-ties-overtime losses) for 101 points, Philadelphia lost a total of three games during the first two rounds of the 2004 playoffs. Danny Markov eliminated the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals before Jeremy Roenick sent the Toronto Maple Leafs packing in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to set the Flyers up against the Bolts.

The clubs traded wins throughout the series. A 3-1 win for Tampa Bay in Game 1 was countered with a 6-2 drubbing by the Flyers in Game 2 to send the series back to Philly tied. The teams returned to Florida for Game 5 in a 2-2 series as the Lightning took Game 3 4-1, but Keith Primeau’s shorthanded game-winner in Game 4 helped the Flyers to a 3-2 decision. The Orange and Black made it a one-goal game halfway through the second period after they fell behind by three, but they ultimately lost Game 5 4-2 to set up a must-win Game 6.

Despite holding a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes of Game 6, the Flyers found themselves down by a goal late in the third period when Primeau miraculously kicked the puck across the crease following a Nikolai Khabibulin rebound only to swing around the net and put it in himself with 1:49 left in the team’s season. Late in the first overtime period Gagne rifled home a Roenick feed to force a Game 7, which the Flyers lost two days later in Tampa Bay.

Flyers’ OT goals in Games 6 or 7 of a series

Playoff Series Game Opponent Goal scorer OT Period OT Time Final score Playoff outcome
Playoff Series Game Opponent Goal scorer OT Period OT Time Final score Playoff outcome
1968 Quarterfinals 6 St. Louis Blues Don Blackburn 2 31.18 2-1 lost in Quarterfinals
2004 ECSF 6 Toronto Maple Leafs Jeremy Roenick 1 7:39 3-2 lost in ECF
2004 ECF 6 Tampa Bay Lightning Simon Gagne 1 18:18 5-4 lost in ECF
2008 ECQF 7 Washington Capitals Joffrey Lupul 1 6:06 3-2 lost in ECF
2011 ECQF 6 Buffalo Sabres Ville Leino 1 4:43 5-4 lost in ECSF

For Gagne that was his fifth and final goal of the 2004 playoffs, as well as his first of two playoff overtime goals in his career with the other being in Game 4 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Bruins. It’s also just one of five playoff overtime goals in Flyers’ history that happened in either Game 6 or Game 7 of a series. As for Primeau it was his team-high fourth goal in those Eastern Conference Finals and his eight points over the seven-game series was tied for the most with Tampa Bay’s Brad Richards.

IN CONSIDERATION: Gagne’s overtime goal in Game 6 of 2004 Eastern Conference Finals, Primeau’s shorthanded game-winner in Game 4 of 2004 Eastern Conference Finals, and Dale Hawerchuk’s goal in Game 4 of 1996 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Toronto Maple Leafs
Much like the Lightning the Flyers have two distinct choices for biggest goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs even if the two choices aren’t as obvious as the tallies against Tampa Bay. Although Roenicks’ overtime goal in Game 6 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Semifinals clinched the series for Philly, Andre Dupont’s series-clinching overtime goal in 1975 is the Flyers’ biggest goal against Toronto as it came in a postseason that resulted in a Stanley Cup for Philadelphia.

After their first Stanley Cup in 1974, the Flyers finished first in the Patrick Division with a record of 51-18-11 for the most wins in the league and 113 points to finish tied for first in the 18-team NHL. This led to a bye in the Preliminary Round and a Quarterfinals series against the Maple Leafs, who upset the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Kings as a 12th-seed that finished the regular season under .500. The Orange and Black took Game 1 by a score of 6-3 thanks to four-point games from Bill Barber and MacLeish (who recorded a hat trick) before Parent posted a 13-save shutout in a 3-0 Game 2 win and a 31-save shutout in a Game 3 2-0 victory to put the Leafs on the brink of elimination.

Despite the Leafs’ ability to grab a lead twice in the first period of Game 4 Reggie Leach made sure the Flyers exited the first period tied while on the road. Leach scored 51 seconds after Blaine Stoughton opened the scoring 2:47 into the first period and then answered Ron Ellis’ tally 4:31 later which allowed Barber to grab a potential series-ending lead with 11:38 left in the second frame. Ellis beat Parent for a second time in two periods to make it a 3-3 contest with only 6:37 left, which is where the score stood at the end of regulation. Less than two minutes into the extra period Schultz caught an errant Stoughton pass in the Flyers’ zone before breaking up ice to set up Dupont for a series-clinching overtime goal that went five-hole on Gord McRae 1:45 into the extra stanza. The hockey club on Broad Street proceeded to eliminate the Islanders in seven games during the 1975 Semifinals before they beat the Sabres in six games to repeat as Cup champions.

Flyers’ playoff series-clinching OT goals

Playoff Series Game Opponent Goal scorer OT Period OT Time Final score Playoff outcome
Playoff Series Game Opponent Goal scorer OT Period OT Time Final score Playoff outcome
1974 Quarterfinals 4 Atlanta Flames Dave Schultz 1 5.4O 4-3 won Stanley Cup
1975 Quarterfinals 4 Toronto Maple Leafs Andre Dupont 1 1.45 4-3 won Stanley Cup
1980 Preliminary Round 3 Edmonton Oilers Ken Linseman 2 23:56 3-2 lost Stanley Cup
2004 ECSF 6 Toronto Maple Leafs Jeremy Roenick 1 7:39 3-2 lost in ECF
2008 ECQF 7 Washington Capitals Joffrey Lupul 1 6:06 3-2 lost in ECF

Dupont and Roenick have two of only five of the playoff overtime goals in Flyers’ history that clinched a series. Although Roenick’s dramatic series-clincher in 2004 was more aesthetically pleasing, its case for most important goal isn’t as strong as Dupont’s marker in 1975. Roenick’s goal came in the sixth game of that Flyers’ series, but that might be the only point for putting it above Dupont’s. That was the 1975 Flyers’ first playoff series, but it was the second round of the 1975 playoffs much like Roenick’s goal came in the second round of the 2004 postseason, so both goals came at essentially the same point in the playoffs.

Roenick’s goal helped the club clinch a tougher series overall, but we have the advantage of hindsight and know how both of these postseason runs turned out. If Roenick doesn’t score his goal the Flyers still have a chance to win Game 6 if not Game 7 in 2004 or ultimately are eliminated in the Semifinals rather than the Eastern Conference Finals. If Dupont doesn’t score at that point in time in 1975 there’s no guarantee the Flyers win that game or series. Sure, it was a 3-0 series lead, but one of the most iconic achievements in franchise history came after the Bruins didn’t score in overtime of Game 4 in the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals. The team Philly beat after the Maple Leafs in 1975, the Islanders, nearly overcame 0-3 series deficits in back-to-back rounds. Similar to Schultz’s overtime winner to put away the Atlanta Flames a year earlier, the Flyers needed Dupont’s goal to win a Stanley Cup.

IN CONSIDERATION: Roenick’s series-clincher in the 2004 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Mark Recchi’s triple overtime goal in Game 4 of 2003 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, and Jimmy Watson’s series-winner with 2:38 left in Game 6 of 1977 Quarterfinals.

*Stats courtesy of NHL.com and Hockey-Reference.

The Flyers’ biggest goals series