The Philadelphia Flyers joined the NHL in 1967. Ed Snider, their founder and long-time owner, built the franchise based on a “professional, no-nonsense culture” and “fostered their relentless will to win and set the highest standards for every activity on and off the ice,” according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman following Snider’s passing in 2016.
Throughout their history, the Flyers have experienced highs and lows. From the Broad Street Bullies to the coming and going of Hall of Fame players to the seemingly eternal goaltending drama, ten unique pieces of trivia highlight the most memorable and interesting stories the franchise has to offer.
The Broad Street Bullies- First to Topple the Original Six
The Flyers became the first franchise added in the 1967 NHL expansion to win the Stanley Cup when they defeated the Boston Bruins to become the 1973-74 champions. They also defeated the New York Rangers in the previous round, which was the first time an expansion franchise defeated an Original Six team in a playoff series. They repeated as Stanley Cup champions the following season with the notorious mantra of the Broad Street Bullies.
The Longest Unbeaten Streak in North American Major Professional Sports
The Flyers hold the record for the longest unbeaten streak in North American major professional sports history at 35 games. Breakout youngsters like Brian Propp and Ken Linseman teamed up with veterans Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, and Rick MacLeish during the 25-0-10 stretch from October 1979-January 1980. The Flyers lost the Stanley Cup Final to the New York Islanders that season.
Flyers Shootout Woes
The Flyers held the worst winning percentage of any NHL team in games decided by the shootout during the first 16 years of its existence through the 2020-21 season. Frankly, the numbers weren’t even close. Their .363 win percentage was 40 percentage points behind the Florida Panthers, who finished 30th of 31. The gap between the 22nd and 30th teams was also 40 percentage points. They allowed the second most shootout goals even though they had the 21st most shootout appearances.
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However, they won the most consequential shootout in league history. On April 11, 2010, they faced the Rangers on the final day of the NHL regular season. The winner of the virtual play-in game would clinch the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference while the loser would be eliminated. The Flyers defeated their division rival on a game-winning shootout goal by Claude Giroux and a victory-sealing stop by goaltender Brian Boucher.
Top NHL Scorers Playing for the Flyers
Five of the top 20 scorers in NHL history played for the Flyers during their careers. Of the five, only Mark Recchi scored more points with the Flyers than he did with any other NHL team. Jaromir Jagr, second in NHL history with 1,921 points, played one memorable season in Philadelphia in 2011-12 at age 39.
Paul Coffey, second all-time among defensemen and 13th overall in total points, came to Philadelphia at age 35 after playing a key role for the Edmonton Oilers in two Stanley Cup Finals against the Flyers. Dale Hawerchuk played 67 regular-season games in orange and black over his final two NHL seasons and 17 playoff games during the run to the 1997 Stanley Cup Final. He is the 20th highest point scorer in league history. The Flyers also acquired former Bruins and Washington Capitals star Adam Oates, 18th on the all-time list, at the trade deadline in 2002. He played 19 combined regular season and playoff games for Philadelphia.
Final Stanley Cup Champion with all Canadian Players
The 1974-75 Flyers were the most recent Stanley Cup winner with a roster of all Canadian players. One of the most memorable elements of the Broad Street Bullies folklore is the way that a group of Canadians clicked perfectly within the city of Philadelphia. Many of them have remained in the area in prominent roles in the local community today. Given the diversified infusion of talent into the league, an NHL roster will almost certainly never feature a team of players from one country again.
Flyers Make History with Comeback over Bruins
The Flyers became the third team in NHL history to win a playoff series after trailing 3-0 to begin the series when they defeated the Bruins in the second round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They battled back thanks to a relentless attitude and heroic goals from former winger Simon Gagne. They own the unique claim as the only team to come back from the deficit and also rally from a 3-0 deficit in Game 7.
The Toronto Maple Leafs climbed out of an 0-3 hole in 1942, and the New York Islanders did the same in 1975. The Los Angeles Kings became the fourth team to achieve the comeback in 2014.
Parent’s Record-Breaking 1973-74 Season
Bernie Parent set single-season goaltending records for wins with 47 and games played with 73 during the 1973-74 season. Martin Brodeur and Braden Holtby both more recently recorded 48 wins, and Roberto Luongo also tied Parent with 47. However, all three respective goaltenders tied or surpassed Parent after the NHL eliminated ties, giving them a slight advantage. Parent also recorded 12 shutouts, won his first of two consecutive Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophies, and led the Flyers to the first of back-to-back Stanley Cups.
Clarke, Lindros Earn Hart Trophies
Two players have won the Hart Trophy as league MVP as members of the Flyers. Eric Lindros was the most recent winner during the shortened 1994-95 season. He finished with 70 points in 46 games and led the Flyers to their first playoff appearance in six seasons. The team reached the Eastern Conference Final and announced a new era that included 17 playoff appearances in 18 seasons through 2011-12.
Clarke won three Harts following the 1972-73, 1974-75, and 1975-76 seasons. He also finished fourth in voting after the 1973-74 season and second following 1976-77. He holds an unrivaled reputation as the best skater in franchise history.
Flyers Set NHL Record with Eight Goaltenders
The Flyers started an NHL record eight goaltenders in 2018-19. They entered the season with Brian Elliott and Michael Neuvirth as their tandem, but a nagging injury to Neuvirth limited him to seven games. Cal Pickard and Mike McKenna were short-lived acquisitions, and Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon both made the jump from the American Hockey League for short stints. Former goaltender turned general manager Ron Hextall dealt Stolarz in February 2019 for Cam Talbot, who ultimately played just four games in orange and black.
Carter Hart made his NHL debut in December 2018 at age 20. He played in 31 games, the most of any Flyers netminder in 2018-19. The hope was that the debut of the highly-touted prospect would finally end the treacherous narrative of chaos in between the pipes in Philadelphia just after it peaked with this astonishing record.
Stanley Cup Appearances
The Flyers have the most Stanley Cup appearances and losses of any team outside the Original Six. Their six losses have all come since their most recent Stanley Cup in 1975. The remarkable novelty to these painful losses is the consistent matchups against teams now written in the history books as NHL dynasties. The 1975-76 Montreal Canadiens and 1979-80 Islanders both defeated Philadelphia to win their first of four consecutive Stanley Cups. The Oilers’ victories in 1985 and 1987 came within a stretch in which they won five out of seven Cups. The 1996-97 Detroit Red Wings and 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks both defeated the Flyers for their first of three Cups in six-year spans.
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The Flyers will continue the quest to end their Stanley Cup drought, and they will likely make history and some more interesting pieces along the way. Share your favorite Flyers trivia nuggets in the comment section, and they could appear in a second trivia piece!
Colin Newby is a freelance journalist from Delaware County, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers. He is an encyclopedia of useless sports knowledge with an uncanny ability to rattle off Flyers goaltending stats from 2004 and every Stanley Cup winner during his lifetime. The depths of his knowledge stem from spending his entire life following the Flyers and the NHL, from fan favorites like the “Legion of Doom” and Claude Giroux to forgotten journeymen like Andy Delmore and Branko Radivojevič. He joined the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) in 2022.
Colin also covers the Philadelphia Eagles and works for 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia.