The Philadelphia Flyers were one of six teams that made up the NHL's first major expansion in 1967, after years trying to get a team into the city. In that first year, the Flyers won the West Division, where the new teams were all put together.
The greatest success in Flyers history began when the team began assembling the "Broad Street Bullies," one of the toughest lineups of players in the NHL, including players like Dave Schultz and captained by Bobby Clarke. The playoffs in 1974 and 1975 would bring the Stanley Cup to Philadelphia, as of yet the only times the team has won the trophy. The reached the finals in 1976, only to be denied a third straight title by the Canadiens.
The Broad Street Bullies most infamous game was the 1976 showdown with the Soviet Union's Central Red Army Team, considered the best team in the world. The Flyers' physical style of play angered the Soviets, and when a check by Ed Van Impe injured Valeri Kharlamov the team's coach pull the Red Army off the ice in protest. The team would eventually get back onto the ice after being threatened under threat of not being paid. The Flyers would go onto win the game 4-1 in dominating fashion.
The 1979-80 season would see the Flyers set a North American professional sports record by going on a 35 game unbeaten streak, winning 25 and tying 10 in the process. Their efforts, however, would not result in a Cup victory, as they lost to the Islanders in the Finals. They would return to the finals in 1985 behind the goaltending of Pelle Lindebegh, where they lost to the Edmonton Oilers in 5 games. Lindebergh died in an auto accident early the next season, on November 10, 1985. The Flyers made it back to the finals in 1987 behind the goaltending of Ron Hextall. While they lost to the Oilers in 7 this time, Hextall won the Conn Smythe Trophy for the playoff MVP, one of only four players to do so for the losing team (a feat also matched in 1976 by the Flyers' Reggie Leach).
The 1989-90 to 1993-94 were a dark period for the orange and black, missing the playoffs in all five seasons, a bad turn for a team who in its history has only missed the playoffs seven times. The most pivotal moment, however, came in 1991 when the Flyers were successful in earning the right to trade for Eric Lindros over division rival New York Rangers. To get the young star the Flyers gave to the Quebec Nordiques Hextall along with five other players, including Peter Forsberg, and two draft picks.
1994-95 saw the Flyers pick up the remaining core of the team that would carry them through the rest of the decade: John LeClair, Mark Recchi, Rod Brind'Amour, and Eric Desjardins. Lindros, LeClair, and Mikael Renberg made up the "Legion of Doom" line, putting together both power and scoring prowess. They would make their return to the playoffs. The Flyers returned to the Stanley Cup finals in 1996-1997, but were swept by the Red Wings.
Despite the potential of the Lindros-led Flyers, they sputtered in the following years, losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Sabres and Maple Leafs. The 1999-2000 season was one of the most tumultuous in team history. Coach Roger Neilson was diagnosed with cancer, leading to the appointment of Craig Ramsay as head coach, and eventually the controversial decision not to give Neilson his job back. Tensions between Bobby Clarke, now the general manager, and Eric Lindros came to a head after an incident late in the season regarding the care of Lindros' collapsed lung suffered in a game against the Predators. Clarke stripped Lindros of the captaincy, and the team would play without their star until game six of the Conference Finals.
Those playoffs were particularly memorable for Flyers fans. Game 4 of the Conference Semifinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins would be the third longest in NHL history, and the longest in the modern era. Finally at 2:35 am, after 152 minutes and one second of play in the fifth overtime period, Keith Primeau scored the game winning goal on Pens' goalie Ron Tugnutt. The Flyers would win the series, 4-2. They would give up a 3-1 series lead to the New Jersey Devils in the Conference finals, capped by a hit on Lindros by Scott Stevens in Game 7's opening minutes. Lindros would not play another game for the Flyers. After sitting out the next season in contract disputes, he was finally dealt to the Rangers in 2001.
Since then, the Flyers have routinely made the playoffs and are usually considered a pre-season contender for the Stanley Cup. However, they have struggled to put together a successful Cup campaign, particularly struggling with finding the correct goalie. After deeming Brian Boucher, who carried the team's 99-00 run unsuitable, the Flyers failed again with Roman Cechmanek, who was criticized for being streaky and allowing fluky goals. Jeff Hackett was their next attempt for the 2003-04, however he would retire in January while suffering from vertigo. Sean Burke would be brought back for a second tour of duty, and the Flyers would make the conference finals, but lost to the eventual champion Lightning in seven games.
The 2005-2006 campaign was an up and down one for the Orange and Black. After signing superstar Peter Forsberg, the Flyers were a popular prediction for Stanley Cup Champions. Unfortunately, injuries to Forsberg and Primeau combined with streaky play would be their downfall, seeing a major points in the division lead collapse, with the Flyers ultimately finishing in second place behind the Devils. Their playoff run would be short, losing to the Sabres in 6 with a crushing 7-1 loss.
Record Per Season
Flyers Hall of Fame