Flyers vs Rangers | The cities are only 97 miles apart by car and they are joined at the hip by a fisted hockey glove.
The New York Rangers are one of the Original Six teams in the NHL. The Philadelphia Flyers are an expansion team. The Flyers were about to become the first expansion team to defeat an Original Six team in the playoffs.
1974 was the first time these teams met in the Stanley Cup playoffs. In the semifinals, they would go to a Game 7 before the Flyers could take the next step towards the Cup. It was a physically bruising series.
The Rangers were the veteran team used to winning in the early and mid-70’s. The Flyers were the Broad Street Bullies making their move towards recognition. Intimidation was a built-in mindset for this team on the rise.
Flyers vs Rangers | The Players
Bill Clement wore the Flyers uniform for a team that he says had made a commitment not to be intimidated by anyone. He would have his name engraved on Lord Stanley’s Cup for the first of two times in this 1974 season.
Pete Stemkowski was in his fourth year of seven that he would play for the Rangers. A 14-year NHL veteran, he remembers well this 1974 playoff engagement with the Flyers and will explain the regrets he still has about the series.
Both Clement and Stemkowski will take you to the ice for the story of these teams in a playoff series that Stemkowski maintains was one of the best in NHL history.
They will tell you about the fight between Dave “The Hammer” Schultz and Ranger Dale Rolfe – a fight that Flyer coach Fred Shero said was the turning point in Game 7 won 4-3 by the Flyers.
Was it a planned strategic fight? Why did no Ranger come to the aid of Rolfe who was taking a beating from Schultz? Where were the Ranger enforcers? Were the Rangers really intimidated by these Broad Street Bullies?
Here are the stories, and what stories they are, of an NHL rivalry that’s as good as it gets – the Rangers and the Flyers – told by two men who wore the sweaters in this 1974 season.
Lace those skates and let’s get to the ice.
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