It is known as the battle of Pennsylvania.
Tonight marks the start of the Flyers and Penguins sixth playoff series against each other. In the five series these teams have met so far the Flyers hold the edge in series victories 3-2
Although Philadelphia is known as the “city of brotherly love” they don’t seem to share any with their state cousins. Apart from their geographical proximity these two sport city rivals couldn’t be more different.
Or is that the case?
Both cities have had similar success in the NHL
Pittsburgh boasted Lemieux in the 80’s while the Flyers looked to Lindros in the 90’s
The Flyers were dominant in the 70’s (Stanley Cup winners 73-74, 74-75) whereas the Penguins were dominant in the 90’s (Stanley Cup winners 90-91, 91-92)
The rivalry between these two cities will no doubt continue for many years with bragging rights alternating back and forth. After all, familiarity breeds animosity. Despite the rivalry amongst these two cities they do share a common history.
Philadelphia’s path to the NHL started in Pittsburgh.
In 1967 the Flyers and Penguins were added to the NHL’s “Original six” teams making up the “next six” as part of an expansion phase. But their time in the NHL dates back further than that.
Pittsburgh joined the NHL in 1925 as the seventh team. They were aptly called the Pittsburgh Pirates, a nickname they shared with the baseball team also based in Pittsburgh.
They wore Black and Gold. Colours they adopted from the “flag of Pittsburgh”.
The team operated for five years without much success on the ice and off suffering from low attendance and large debts they eventually sold the team in 1928 to ex-boxer Benny Leonard. Leonard changed their familiar Black & Gold to a new colour scheme of Black & Orange. They operated only one more season before they were promptly relocated to Philadelphia re-emerging under their new nickname the Philadelphia Quakers.
The Quakers only played one season before they too folded.
Both cities returned to the NHL in 1967.
In April 2012 we watch these two cities, these two teams that are forever joined and forever rivals.