By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
The Philadelphia Flyers wrapped up their 50th season of competition last spring, and while they failed to qualify for the playoffs, overall the organization has a lot to be proud of in its storied history. Winning the Stanley Cup twice in 1974 and 1975 and making six other Stanley Cup Final runs, its safe to say there have been quite a few disappointing ends to great seasons along the way.
Number 5 – 1979-80
The Flyers high from their cup wins in 1974 and 1975 was starting to wear off and their stars were getting older and wanted one last hurrah. The LBC line was aging, yet young guys like Ken Linesman and Brian Propp carried the team offensively. It’s the first on this list (but not the last) entry to end with the Flyers losing to a team ready to start its own dynasty. The Flyers took the young, up-and-coming New York Islanders squad to six games but lost as the Islanders were starting their four-year Cup streak.
Number 4 – 1984-85
The Flyers roster was almost perfect, the team ended top 5 in both goals for and goals against at the end of the regular season. With offensive dynamos Propp, Tim Kerr and Dave Poulin at the helm and young star Pelle Lindbergh in net, the Flyers were eyeing their third Stanley Cup in 10 years, but as every other Final appearance Phillye met a team ready to start a dynasty of its own. They lost to the Edmonton Oilers, who were about to win the Cup in five of the next seven seasons. The Oilers had Mark Messier, Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri, The Flyers, even with their talent, didn’t have what it took, losing in seven games.
Number 3 – 2009-10
A Stanley Cup Final appearance that almost never happened. The Flyers famously came back from a 3-0 series deficit vs the Bruins in the Semi Finals. With arguably the best roster in recent memory, they managed to come back and take the Blackhawks to six games, falling short on a ghost goal off of Patrick Kane’s stick. If the goaltending was better, this series may have had a different outcome, but alas it wasn’t meant to be and the Flyers continue to search for their next Stanely Cup.
Number 2 – 1996-97
This one barely beat out the 1994-95 season for two reasons. One: they made it further in the playoffs, and two: the roster was a little better. The Leigon of Doom was in full force, and with top players like Rod Brind’Amour, Eric Desjardins, and Trent Klatt in tow, they were ready to go face-to-face with the top-tier Detroit Red Wings, who amazingly stomped the Flyers into the ground in four games. In the end, it ultimately came down to goaltending. The Wings netminders Mike Vernon and Chris Osgood were in their prime, while both Flyers goalies Ron Hextall and Garth Snow underperformed as Hexy was came up on the end of his career.
Number 1 – 1975-76
The Flyers were trying to three-peat and cement themselves as a dynasty. It wasn’t meant to be, however, as they came up short against the Montreal Canadiens. They finished the season with 51 wins, the same as the season prior. The team also managed to score the most goals in the league (a whopping 55 more than in 1974-75). The Flyers got swept in the Stanley Cup Final by the beginning of the Montreal Canadiens four-year win streak.
Image Credit – Matt Slocum via itsallaboutlappy.com