After taking a look at the other three divisions in the NHL it is now time to figure out the Philadelphia Flyers’ biggest goal against the teams of the Metro Division. Today we’ll take a deep dive on three memorable playoff overtime tallies in franchise history as well as a couple of postseason game-winners from the 1970’s against the two teams from New York. Let’s get to the goals.
Since they don’t have playoff history against them the most important Flyers’ goal against the Carolina Hurricanes’ franchise might be Jakub Voracek’s game-winner in April of 2018.
The Orange and Black needed every point they could grab during the 2017-18 regular season, as they didn’t secure a playoff spot until they won the 82nd game of their season. The team’s 81st game that campaign came two days earlier against the Hurricanes. The clubs skated to a 2-2 tie through 40 minutes before a put-ahead goal by Claude Giroux with 9:42 left was answered by Jordan Staal with 6:19 left. Following a defensive zone draw Nolan Patrick carried the puck into the neutral zone and left a drop pass for Voracek, who flew into the Canes’ zone and sniped one top corner past Scott Darling for a one-goal advantage with 5:45 remaining to secure a crucial second point for Philly.
The tally was Voracek’s 20th and final goal of 2017-18 for his second of three consecutive 20-goal seasons while it was the Czech’s third game-winner that year. As for the Flyers the win pushed them to 98 points in 2017-18, which was only one more point than the Columbus Blue Jackets and New Jersey Devils had as the Wild Card teams.
When it comes to their history against the Hartford Whalers the Flyers’ biggest goal might be Mike Bullard’s game-winner in December of 1988. After Joel Quenneville made it a 4-4 affair with 3:47 left in regulation, Bullard put one past Mike Liut with 29 seconds left for the 5-4 win. Philly needed the victory, as they finished the 1988-89 season with the second-fewest points among Prince of Wales Conference playoff teams with 80.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Thanks to Philadelphia’s inability to beat them in Ohio, Sean Couturier’s overtime goal in February of 2018 is the Orange and Black’s most important goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
As mentioned above the Flyers needed every dang point they could grab during the 2017-18 regular season when they visited the Blue Jackets on February 16th. The problem is Columbus has been a place Philly has struggled to produce wins over the years, as they only won once on the road in 14 tries against the BJs from 2001-02 to 2016-17. When the teams met for this contest the Flyers had gone 0-5-6 in Columbus before the squads endured a low-scoring battle that needed extra time. After a goalless first frame Wayne Simmonds opened the scoring halfway through the second when he redirected a Gostisbehere point shot through Sergei Bobrovsky’s five-hole, but Cam Atkinson forced the contest to overtime with a no-look backhanded chop at the puck in the slot that beat Michal Neuvirth with only 3:28 remaining. Travis Konecny took the puck away from Artemi Panarin at the Flyers’ blue line early in the overtime to spring Couturier on a 2-on-1 with Ivan Provorov before the future Selke Trophy winner ripped one past Bobrovsky for the additional point.
It’s one of 24 game-winning goals Couturier has in the NHL and it was the second of his four overtime goals. He finished 2017-18 with 31 goals and 45 helpers for 76 points in 82 appearances.
New Jersey Devils
Although Danny Markov’s game-winner late in Game 5 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals put an end to the trap-era New Jersey Devils, Daniel Carcillo’s overtime goal in Game 3 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals is the Flyers’ most important goal against the Devils.
The Orange and Black only needed five games to take out the Devils in 2010, but Carcillo’s goal came at the most critical point in that series. Philly managed to steal Game 1 despite only getting 14 shots on net which meant Jersey’s 5-3 decision in Game 2 split the series as it moved to Pennsylvania. Brian Rolston had his opening goal in Game 3 answered 1:34 later by Giroux before the Devil answered Mike Richards’ second period go-ahead goal in the middle stanza to set up a 2-2 tilt after 60 minutes. David Clarkson was sent to the penalty box for interference just 90 seconds into overtime, which led to Jersey taking a d-zone draw at a 5-on-4 disadvantage a few minutes into the fourth period. Although Clarkson got the satisfaction that his team didn’t lose while killing his penalty, the Flyers did outnumber the Devils near New Jersey’s cage when Carcillo pounded home the deciding goal while Martin Brodeur looked lost.
The goal was the only one of Carcillo’s 55 total goals in the NHL to come in overtime and was the first of two tallies for him in the 2010 postseason, as he provided the insurance marker two days later in Philly’s 4-1 Game 4 outcome. If Carcillo doesn’t plant the game-winner in overtime of Game 3 it’s possible and maybe even likely the Flyers still win the series, but to not give home-ice advantage back to New Jersey while setting up a chance to take a 3-1 series lead at home was huge. Markov’s goal closed the Devils’ dynasty and helped the Flyers win a series, but Carcillo’s tally created separation in a series that was deadlocked when and helped Philadelphia on their way to a Stanley Cup Final appearance.
The Devils aren’t the only iteration of New Jersey’s hockey team. The franchise was introduced to the NHL in 1974 and spent two seasons as the Kansas City Chiefs. They went a combined 27-110-23 between the 1974-75 and 1975-76 regular seasons failing to make either of the postseasons they could have competed in. The hockey club on Broad Street played Kansas City a grand total of ten times while they existed going 9-0-1 (wins-losses-ties) against the Scouts including a pair of 10-0 decisions and five other wins decided by three goals or more. Outside of the teams’ 3-3 tie in December of 1974, the closest contest between the two was the first meeting ever on October 13th, 1974. Andre Dupont beat Michel Plasse 3:54 into the third frame of that game to hand the Flyers their only one-goal win over the Scouts with a 3-2 score.
In between the Scouts and Devils were the Colorado Rockies, who took part in six NHL seasons from 1976-77 to 1981-82. Over those six campaigns the Rockies’ lone trip to the playoffs came in 1978, where they were the 12th-seed with 59 points while the 11th-seeded New York Rangers entered with 73 points, and faced the fourth-seeded Flyers in a best-of-three Preliminary Round. Despite the fact they had outshot the Rockies 44-18 former Flyer Doug Favell was doing all he could to keep Colorado in Game 1 until Mel Bridgman lit the lamp 23 seconds into overtime for a 3-2 win. The Broad Street Bullies made quick work of the series thanks to Bridgman’s OT strike and outshot the opposition 45-17 in a 3-1 win in Colorado to close the series. Philly went on to lose to the Boston Bruins in five games during the Semifinals.
IN CONSIDERATION: Danny Markov’s game-winner in Game 5 of 2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Danny Briere’s game-winner in Game 5 of 2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, and Craig Berube’s game-winner in Game 4 of 2000 Eastern Conference Finals.
New York Islanders
The history of the Philadelphia Flyers could be very different if it wasn’t for Gary Dornhoefer’s goal in Game 7 of the 1975 Semifinals, which is why he has the Flyers’ biggest tally against the New York Islanders.
Before Philly’s painful loss in the 1980 Stanley Cup Final they faced off against the Isles in their third year of existence back in the 1975 postseason. The Flyers entered the series unbeaten in those playoffs, as they had a bye in the Preliminary Round before they swept the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Quarterfinals. They made it seven straight wins to start the 1975 playoffs thanks to a resounding Game 1 decision, Bobby Clarke’s OT goal in Game 2, and Reggie Leach scoring the lone goal in Game 3 to put the Islanders on the brink of elimination.
The only problem was those 1975 Islanders apparently loved being on the brink of elimination. On top of being one of only four teams to ever overcome a 3-0 series deficit (which they did in the prior round against the Pittsburgh Penguins) they also provided one of the five times in NHL history where a team forced a Game 7 and lost after being down 3-0 in a series, which happened in this series against Philly. One goal away from elimination, Jude Drouin beat Bernie Parent less than two minutes into overtime of Game 4 to force a Game 5, which New York grabbed 5-1 back at The Spectrum. Future Flyer Glenn ‘Chico’ Resch stopped 28 of Philly’s 29 shots in Game 6 to help the Islanders to a 2-1 win and a chance to complete another reverse-sweep.
With the two outcomes being win to keep your shot at repeating as Stanley Cup champions alive or be labeled as one of the biggest choke jobs in NHL history, it’s easy to understand how important this game was in Flyers’ history. It took all of 19 seconds for Dornhoefer to beat Resch and give Philly a lead before MacLeish doubled it 2:27 in. Drouin made it a one-goal game a few minutes later, but MacLeish’s second of the period restored the two-goal lead and his ability to complete the hat trick with 1:08 left in regulation finalized the 4-1 win for a spot in the 1975 Stanley Cup Final.
MacLeish’s work in that Game 7 was obviously a huge factor in that game, but Dornhoefer’s ability to crack Resch before the game was 20 seconds old set the trend for a tilt where Philly owned the shot count 35-15.
IN CONSIDERATION: Brad Marsh’s shorthanded goal in Game 7 of 1987 Patrick Division Finals, Ilkka Sinisalo’s series-clincher in 1-0 Game 5 of 1985 Patrick Division Finals, and Rick MacLeish’s goal in Game 5 of 1980 Stanley Cup Final.
New York Rangers
There might be a few that are more iconic, but no goal against the New York Rangers in Flyers’ history has been more important than Dornhoefer’s game-winner in Game 7 of the 1974 Semifinals.
After they swept the Atlanta Flames in the 1974 Quarterfinals, the Flyers got all they could handle with the Rangers in the Semifinals. The Orange and Black jumped out to a 2-0 series lead, but the Rangers took a 5-3 outcome in Game 3 and Rod Gilbert provided an overtime-winner in Game 4 to send the series back to Philly tied. The squads traded 4-1 home victories in Games 5 and 6 to set the table for another Game 7 where victory for the Flyers meant a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
Bill Fairbairn’s third tally of the 1974 postseason opened the scoring late in the first period, but MacLeish made the game level again just 57 seconds later. Orest Kindrachuk and Dornhoefer made it a 3-1 tilt in favor of the hosts through 40 minutes before Steve Vickers made it a one-goal game with only 11:11 left in regulation. The remaining half of the third could have led to the Flyers’ focusing more on protecting their one-goal lead and hoping to survive the Rangers’ push, but Dornhoefer potted his second goal of the night just 12 ticks after Vickers’ marker to give Philadelphia insurance on the scoreboard again. Pete Stemkowski tacked on another one for the Blueshirts, but Dornhoefer’s goal was the difference in the 4-3 Game 7 victory to earn a spot in the 1974 Stanley Cup Final.
The game was Dornhoefer’s lone two-goal playoff game and accounted for two of his five goals in the 1974 postseason as well as two of his 17 career playoff goals. The series was the first of 11 Flyers-Rangers meetings in the second season with Philly taking six of them.
IN CONSIDERATION: Giroux’s shootout-winner in 2010, Eric Lindros’ game-winner with 6.8 seconds left in Game 4 of 1997 Eastern Conference Finals, and Tim Kerr’s goal in Game 5 of 1987 Patrick Division Semifinals.
Without a doubt the Flyers’ most important goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins is Keith Primeau’s five-overtime goal in 2000. An argument could be made for some of the goals in the ‘in consideration’ section, but Primeau’s tally was important for that contest, series, Flyers’ history, and NHL history overall.
After the Flyers took out the Buffalo Sabres in five games during the 2000 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals they faced the seventh-seeded Pens in the Conference Semifinals. Philly dropped the opening two games of the series at home, as a Ron Tugnutt 28-save shutout helped Pittsburgh to a 2-0 decision in Game 1 and two-goal performances from Jaromir Jagr and Robert Lang in Game 2 resulted in a 4-1 Pens’ win (which the Flyers weren’t happy about). With their backs against the wall the Flyers responded in Game 3, but they still found themselves possibly one goal away from being down 3-0 in the series when the contest went to overtime. Andy Delmore, who opened the Game 3 scoring, beat Tugnutt a little over 11 minutes into overtime for his second career NHL playoff goal and to become the fifth and most recent Philly blue liner to have the last say in a postseason game.
Delmore’s blast gave the Flyers a chance to even the series in Game 4. Things started off shaky, as Alex Kovalev put Pittsburgh up just 2:22 in, but this was the first and only shot Brian Boucher allowed out of the 58 Pens’ shots he saw over those two days. Still trailing early in the third period, an Eric Desjardins’ shot hit John LeClair up high and traveled past Tugnutt for a goal that stood after an officials’ review with only 15:13 left in regulation. This is where the score stood until halfway through the fifth overtime when Primeau undressed Darius Kasparaitis before he pinged the back bar of the net to level the series with 7:59 left in the eighth period.
The Flyers took advantage of the six overtimes they used for their two road wins in Pittsburgh to close out the series in six games thanks to a hat trick from Delmore in Game 5’s 6-3 win and a 2-1 decision back in Pittsburgh to close out the series in Game 6. Delmore’s hat trick in Game 5 is the lone three-goal game by a Flyers’ d-man in the postseason and his second multi-goal game of the series is the fourth and most recent example of a multi-goal playoff game from a Philly defenseman.
As for Primeau it was the former captain’s lone playoff overtime goal of his career and one of two overtime goals in the NHL, as he beat Roman Turek to help Philly to a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues in January of 2001. Primeau’s goal is one of five goals in Flyers’ history that came in double overtime of a playoff game or later and is the only one to take place past the third overtime. It’s one of just two five-overtime goals in the NHL’s modern era, as Petr Sykora of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks beat Dallas Star Marty Turco 48 seconds into the seventh period in Game 1 of the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals, and just one of seven games in the modern era to reach a fourth overtime.
IN CONSIDERATION: Giroux’s opening goal in Game 6 of 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Delmore’s overtime goal in Game 3 of 2000 Eastern Conference Semifinals, and Trent Klatt’s game-winner in Game 2 of 1997 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
It’s hard to top the importance of an overtime goal in a Game 7 which means Joffrey Lupul’s series-clincher back in 2008 is the Orange and Black’s biggest goal against the Washington Capitals.
Following an abysmal 2006-07 season, the Flyers rebounded during the 2007-08 campaign to go 42-29-11 for 95 points to earn the six seed in the Eastern Conference during the 2008 playoffs. The three seed belonged to the Capitals, who just won the Southeast Division with a record of 43-31-8 and were led by 65-goal scorer Alex Ovechkin. The Russian forward made his impact felt early in the series, as he stole the puck from Lasse Kukkonen in the Flyers’ slot and beat Martin Biron with 4:32 left to help Washington take Game 1 5-4. The Flyers took Game 2 2-0 thanks to a Biron 24-save shutout before the series moved back to Philly with the hosts ultimately taking a 3-1 series lead thanks to Mike Knuble’s double-overtime goal. The Caps pushed their way back into the series by taking Game 5 in D.C. before they scored four straight to close out a 4-2 outcome in Game 6 to set up a Game 7 for the Flyers on the road.
Nicklas Backstrom opened the scoring in Game 7 with a power-play goal for his fourth tally of the series. Scottie Upshall took advantage of a hooking call on Alexander Semin late in the first period to tie the game, as his slap shot from the top of the right circle got through Cristobal Huet and dribbled over the goal line. Philadelphia took their first lead of the game just before the halfway point as they were the benefactors of a pretty wild non-call on Patrick Thoresen to set up Sami Kapanen’s go-ahead blast. Regardless of the missed call, the hockey team on Broad Street gave Ovechkin a little too much space and paid the price to make it a 2-2 game less than six minutes after Kapanen’s goal. Neither team could grab the fifth and decisive goal in the first 60 minutes, so the Flyers headed to their second Game 7 overtime in franchise history (the first time being when these clubs met in the 1988 postseason).
After the refs missed one egregious stick infraction from the Caps in the early going of overtime the officials decided to blow the whistle when Tom Poti tripped R.J. Umberger 4:15 into the extra stanza. Late in the power play Danny Briere and Sergei Fedorov lined up for a faceoff to Huet’s left, which led to the puck going into Washington’s left corner and eventually to Richards. The former captain’s cross-ice bid to Briere was broken up, which resulted in a Kimmo Timonen point shot that hit traffic in front. Huet lost track of the puck and glanced into the corner to find it, but Lupul was able to pounce on the rebound for the series-clincher.
The Flyers went on to upset the top-seeded Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Semifinals before being trounced by the Pens in the Eastern Conference Final. As for Lupul it was his first of four goals of the 2008 postseason before he scored in Philly’s next game, a 4-3 overtime loss in Montreal, and posted two goals in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. Despite the fact there have been 40 Game 7 overtime goals in the NHL modern era, Lupul’s in 2008 is still the only one from a Flyer.
IN CONSIDERATION: Knuble’s double-overtime goal in Game 4 of 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Richards’ conversion on a penalty shot in Game 3 of 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, and Rick Tocchet’s game-winner in Game 6 of 1989 Patrick Division Semifinals.
*Stats courtesy of NHL.com and Hockey-Reference
The Flyers’ biggest goals series