2010 Stanley Cup finals: How the Flyers fared since '75 Cup

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flyersrichards.jpgWith the Philadelphia Flyers back in the Stanley Cup finals and HBO airing its documentary on “The Broadstreet Bullies,” it’s fun to think back to that era in the team’s history. After all, a lot has happened since that dominant 1974-75 Cup run. In fact, let’s look at the different eras in the team’s history since then.

(Expect something similar about the Blackhawks later tonight, too.)

The post-Cup Bullies years

The Broadstreet Bullies gave way to the Montreal Canadiens in the late-70s. Although the LCB line of Reggie Leach, Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber achieved great things and the team was still a contender for a few years, they’d never win the Cup again. Eventually head coach Fred Shero (father of Penguins GM Ray) left the team for the New York Rangers and a few seasons later there wasn’t much left of the rough-and-tumble semi-dynasty.

Until the mid 80s, the most noteworthy moment for the team probably happened when the Flyers went 25-0-10 for a stretch during the 1979-80 season.

Ron Hextall Era

The Flyers experienced a rebirth when Mike Keenan took over in 1984 and icon Ron Hextall came to the team in 1986. Hextall was ahead of his time when it came to handling the puck; he even scored a goal during a regular season game before managing to score one in a playoff match against the Washington Capitals.

Still, the team couldn’t best the Wayne Gretzky-era Edmonton Oilers and failed to claim a Cup. That doesn’t change the fact that Hextall’s great, manic play (and those teams in general) gave Flyers fans of the time some great memories.

After the jump, I’ll take a look at the 90s and 00’s.

johnleclair.jpgEric Lindros and “The Legion of Doom”

The Flyers started the decade off slow again but would make a bold move in 1992 to change their fortunes (and, really, the future of the NHL as a whole). As great as Lindros was at times in Philly, the bounty the Quebec Nordiques received helped them – well, the Colorado Avalanche – win two Cups in the future. Here’s the details of the deal.

In order to acquire Lindros’ rights, the Flyers parted with six players, trading Steve Duchesne, Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, a 1993 first round draft pick (Jocelyn Thibault), a 1994 first round draft pick (Nolan Baumgartner), and $15 million to Quebec.

(Of course, Thibault was also involved in the Patrick Roy trade.)

Still, Lindros had an impressive (and controversial) run as the leader of “The Legion of Doom” line that also featured John Leclair (pictured) and Mikael Renberg, winning a Hart trophy and helping the team make a run to the Stanley Cup finals. Obviously, Lindros couldn’t completely live up to expectations but he still made an impact before concussion problems did ruined his career.

Jeremy Roenick and Keith Primeau almost get it done

The post-Lindros teams were competitive but not quite good enough. The team nearly made it to the ’04 Stanley Cup finals but couldn’t beat the eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning in a closely matched seven game series. Ken Hitchcock brought the group to a high level as the team shuffled through Jeremy Roenick, Keith Primeau and – oddly enough – Peter Forsberg among others but couldn’t break all the way through.

A brief low

After the Buffalo Sabres embarrassed them with a post-lockout-friendly attack, Hitchcock received the boot and the Flyers had one rough year as one of the league’s worst teams. Bobby Clarke got fired, Paul Holmgren took over as GM and added players like Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell (and even guys who weren’t Nashville Predators, like Danny Briere) to help bolster the Flyers lineup.

Since coming back onto the scene, the team was tormented by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs … until this year. After being destroyed by the 90s Red Wings and the 80s Oilers in the Cup finals, the Flyers find themselves in a familiar spot as underdogs. The question is, will they make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself this time around?

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.