The Flyers–Bruins rivalry is a National Hockey League (NHL) rivalry between Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins. Both teams compete in the NHL's Eastern Conference Metropolitan Division. The two teams have been rivals since the Flyers inception in the 1967 expansion, but was most intense in the 1970s when the two teams met in four playoff series, including the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals, with the Flyers beating the heavily favored Bruins. The rivalry was renewed in the 2010s with both teams meeting in the playoffs for two consecutive years, including a 2010 series, with the Flyers overcoming a 3 games to none deficit to win the series. Historically, both franchises are renowned for their toughness and brawling ways, with the Bruins famously nicknamed the Big Bad Bruins, and the Flyers also famously nicknamed the Broad Street Bullies.
|First meeting||November 12, 1967
|Latest meeting||March 11, 2017
|Next meeting||To be determined|
|Regular season series||102–68–21 (BOS)|
|Postseason results||18–13 (BOS)|
|Current win streak||BOS: W1|
|1974 Stanley Cup Finals: Flyers, 4-2
1976 Semifinals: Flyers, 4-1
1977 Semifinals: Bruins, 4–0
1978 Semifinals: Bruins, 4–1
2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals: Flyers, 4–3
2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals: Bruins, 4–0
1970s: Big Bad Bruins Vs. Broad Street Bullies Edit
The rivalry took off when the two teams met in the 1974 Stanley Cup Final. Both Philadelphia and Boston were the class of the league, with Boston leading the league in scoring and total points with 113 points, while Philadelphia amassed 112 points, but playing a more grittier, defensive minded style. Philadelphia also led the NHL by amassing 1750 penalty minutes, which was 603 more minutes than the second most penalized club. Boston dominated the rivalry early, amassing a 20–4–4 record against Philadelphia since they entered the league, thus making Philadelphia huge underdogs entering the final. Boston win game 1 at Boston Garden with Bobby Orr scoring a goal with 22 seconds left in the third period of a tie game. In game 2, Boston would take an early lead, but Philadelphia forced overtime late, and Bobby Clarke would win it in overtime, sending the series back to Philadelphia tied 1-1. Clarke's overtime goal proved to be the turning point in the series.
Philadelphia would go on to win the next 2 games at The Spectrum to take a 3–1 series lead and put Boston on the brink. However, Boston would soundly beat Philadelphia 5-1 back in Boston Garden. Bruins coach Bep Guidolin described Philly as “outmuscled, outskated and outhustled” by the Bruins. The game was a battle as there were a combined 43 penalties, a playoff record, with Philadelphia legendary enforcer Dave "The Hammer" Schultz averaging a fight per period.
With game 6 back in Philadelphia, Philadelphia brought out their good luck charm in Kate Smith, as she sang "God Bless America" to a raucous Spectrum crowd. Smith was considered the Flyers good luck charm, as Philadelphia were 36-3-1 when she sang. Philadelphia's center Rick MacLeish deflected a power play goal to take a 1-0 lead, and that would be all that Flyers goalie (and eventual Conn Smythe Trophy winner) Bernie Parent needed, as he stopped all 30 shots the Bruins threw at him. Philadelphia completed the upset by winning the Stanley Cup in 6 games.
Philadelphia and Boston would play in 3 consecutive semifinals in 1976, 1977, and 1978. Philadelphia beat the Bruins 4-1 in 1976, but the Bruins would take the next two semifinal series. Philadelphia and Boston during these years would go on to lose the Stanley Cup to the Montreal Canadiens. In the 1979-80 season, Philadelphia were on a mission to set sports' all-time unbeaten streak, and would have to beat Boston in the Garden to break the record held by the Montreal Canadiens at 28 games. Despite the Bruins being geared up, Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins dominated the Bruins to win 5–2 and break the record. Philadelphia would go unbeaten for 35 games, a record that has yet to be broken.
21st Century Edit
Main articles: 2009–10 Philadelphia Flyers season § Eastern Conference Semi Finals, and 2010-11 Boston Bruins season
Legends Bobby Orr and Bobby Clarke at the ceremonial puck drop prior to the 2010 NHL Winter Classic.
Although both teams remained competitive during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, Philadelphia and Boston would not meet again in the playoffs until 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Prior to the playoff match-up, the two teams squared off in the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston. The Bruins would win 2–1 in overtime on a goal by Bruins forward Marco Sturm.
In Game 1 in the series, Philadelphia gave up the first goal less than 3 minutes into the game and left the first period down 2–0. However, Philadelphia and Boston would rally and tie the game at 4–4 in the second half of the 3rd period on goals by Mike Richards and Daniel Briere. This, however, would only set up the heroics of Bruins forward Marc Savard, who had returned from missing several weeks with a concussion. Savard's OT goal gave Boston a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 was eerily similar to game 1, as Boston caught the early lead 5:12 into the game and while Philadelphia were able to catch up twice, they could not take the lead and a goal by Milan Lucic with less than 3 minutes to go in the game would spell victory for Boston. In game three, Philadelphia were finally able to take an early lead themselves, with forward Arron Asham scoring only 2:32 into the game. The lead would not last long though, as Bruins forwards Blake Wheeler and Miroslav Satan would answer in quick succession, 1:34 apart and less than 2 minutes after Asham's goal, to take the lead. Philadelphia were unable to score again and with a lackluster third period by Philadelphia, the game ended in a 4–1 Boston victory. During the game Mike Richards broke the arm of bruins center David Krejci in a large open ice hit, knocking Krejci out for the rest of the series.
On the brink of a quick elimination, Flyers star Simon Gagne returned for Game 4, which turned into a bizarre mirror version of the first game of the series. After Philadelphia took a big 3–1 lead, they saw it melt away on a few bizarre goals. With Philadelphia leading late, Bruins forward (and former Flyers superstar) Mark Recchi would tie it with 20 seconds left in the game. However, Gagne would put an end to it scoring at 14:40 in overtime to keep the Flyers alive and send the series back to Boston. In game 5, Philadelphia would stun Boston by dominating and shutting out Boston for a 4–0 victory to climb back into the series. However, the shutout was not held by a single goalie, as Brian Boucher would go down with injuries in both of his knees after Flyers defenseman Ryan Parent and Bruins forward Miroslav Satan fell on top of him. This would call Michael Leighton back into action, who had only just returned at that very game from a high-ankle sprain that had sidelined him since mid-March. Leighton would stay sharp in game 6, as Philadelphia held on for a 2-1 win, almost improbably sending the series back to Boston for a game 7.
Game 7 would play out very much like the series itself. Boston would jump to a 3–0 lead in the first period. Two of the goals came on the power play due to infractions for high-sticking on Scott Hartnell and Daniel Briere, respectively. This would prompt Coach Peter Laviolette to use up his timeout to rally the team. Shortly after, James van Riemsdyk, who had not registered a goal in the playoffs until that point, scored to make it 3–1. The second period was all Philadelphia, as Hartnell and Briere would redeem themselves by scoring a goal each to tie the game up at 3–3. Overall, the game was relatively low on penalties, with only 6 minors being called total, but the last 1 of those, a bench penalty for Too Many Men, would come to haunt Boston, as Simon Gagne put the puck in the net for a 4–3 Philadelphia lead. Philadelphia would be able to hold on to it and become only the 3rd team in NHL history, the 4th team in the big 4 American professional sports leagues, to return from an 0–3 deficit of games to win that playoff series. Philadelphia would go on to play in the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, falling to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2.
The two teams would meet again in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs. Boston would have revenge on their mind and delivered it with force by sweeping Philadelphia to advance to their first Eastern Conference Final since 1992. The Bruins would then defeat their rivals, Tampa Bay Lightning in 7 games to advance to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, where they would win their first Stanley Cup since 1972.
See also Edit
- National Hockey League rivalries
- Celtics-76ers rivalry