Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 19, 1974: The Broad Street Bullies earn their first Stanley Cup


1974 Stanley Cup Finals were set up the way they should have been.

The Boston Bruins, the best team in the East Division in the regular season would face the West Division leaders, the Philadelphia Flyers.

On paper the Bruins were heavy favorites, having owned the Flyers in their last nineteen meetings at home with a 17-0-2 record.

Boston also had the NHL’s top four scorers (Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr, Ken Hodge and Wayne Cashman), as well as home ice advantage in the final.

Philadelphia entered the finals with a rough, aggressive playing style that gave them the nickname, The Broad Street Bullies.

Led by captain Bobby Clarke (fifth in scoring), Dave Schultz’s 345 penalty minutes and coach Fred Shero, the Flyers battled the New York Rangers in a seven-game semi-final and would not be intimidated by the Bruins offensive might.

Philadelphia also had an ace in the hole between the pipes, named Bernie Parent, who was coming off a then record 47 regular season wins.

After Boston won game one, Clarke’s goal in overtime of the second game gave the Flyers a 3-2 win tying the series at a game apiece.

Philadelphia dominated the favorites, in the safe confines of the Philadelphia Spectrum, with scores of 4-1 and 4-2 in games three and four respectively.

The Bruins rallied back at home in game five with a 5-1 victory.

The series would return to Philly.

Before game six, Shero wrote the following on his blackboard in the Flyers dressing room,

"Win together today, and we will walk together forever."

After Kate Smith got the 17,007 fans in the Spectrum fired up with her singing of ‘God Bless America’, the Bruins appeared to have an early edge.

Boston outplayed the Flyers in the first period and outshot Philadelphia 16-8.

But on the power-play, Rick MacLeish tipped in an Andre Dupont shot at 14:48 mark of the period to put the Flyers ahead.

At 17:38 of the third period, with the score still 1-0, Orr hauled down Clarke on a breakaway.

To this day, Orr maintained that is was a clean takedown.

The penalty, and Parent’s 30 save night in net, would lead to a 1-0 victory and a Stanley Cup for the Flyers.

As the seconds ticked down, Flyers broadcaster Gene Hart said the now legendary words, "Ladies and gentlemen, the Flyers are going to win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers win the Stanley Cup!"

Philadelphia would become the non-Original Six team, since the 1967 expansion, to win the Stanley Cup.

Parent would win the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP and Shero’s pre-game blackboard statement is forever etched in Flyers’ lore.

The Flyers would repeat as Cup Champions the following season.

Despite five Cup Finals appearances since, the Flyers have been unable to return championship glory to Broad Street.

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