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Today in Hockey History: The Philadelphia Flyers Become 1st NHL Expansion Team to Win the Stanley Cup

May 19, 1974: Led by captain Bobby Clarke, the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Boston Bruins in game 6 of the 1974 Finals to become the 1st NHL expansion franchise to win the Stanley Cup.

It wasn’t until 1967 until the NHL decided to expand beyond their Original 6 franchises.

Nicknamed the “Second Six,” the Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Oakland Seals, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and St. Louis Blues joined the NHL for the 1967-68 season.

Like most expansion franchises (except for the Vegas Golden Knights!), the Philadelphia Flyers struggled their first handful of seasons, losing in the first round of the playoffs 3 times and not qualifying twice.

But it was after their game 7 loss in their first playoff series against the St. Louis Blues that Flyers owner Ed Snider decided to reinforce his roster.

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The likes of Bobby Clarke, Dave Schultz, Rick MacLeish, Andre Dupont, and Bill Barber racked up points and penalty minutes!

Over the course of just a few seasons, the Flyers quickly developed the reputation as the roughest, toughest team in the NHL and earned their “Broad Street Bullies” moniker.

Coached by Fred “The Fog” Shero, the Flyers battled together as a tight-knit team and the wins followed shortly thereafter.

And the re-acquisition of netminder Bernie Parent after the Flyers loss in the 1973 Semifinals provided the Flyers the championship-level goaltending they needed.

The following season Bernie Parent provided the Flyers unbelievable consistency and stability in net, playing 73 games in the 1973-74 regular season while posting a 1.89 GAA and .932 save percentage en route to his first of back-to-back Vezina Trophies.

By the time the 1974 NHL playoffs rolled around the Flyers were firing on all cylinders.

They made quick work of the Atlanta Flames, sweeping the series 4-0.

But their semi-finals matchup against the New York Rangers was a nail biter with the Flyers narrowly winning 4-3 in game 7.

The Flyers qualified for their first Stanley Cup Finals.

The Boston Bruins, led by Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, and John Bucyk, beat the Leafs and Blackhawks en route to the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals.

And the Bruins were not a good draw for the Flyers!

In their previous 19 games against the Bruins, the Flyers lost 17 times and tied twice. But that didn’t slow down the Broadstreet Bullies…

The Flyers lost a close 3-2 affair in game 1 but stole game 2 in Boston thanks to a come-from-behind effort including Bobby Clarke’s overtime tally.

From there, the Broadstreet Bullies never looked back, winning both games 3 and 4 in the Spectrum, losing game 5 on the road, and returning home to seal their Stanley Cup championship in game 6.

Game 6 was a complete goalie-duel between two greats, Bernie Parent and Gilles Gilbert. Both goaltenders turned away all the shots they faced, aside from a beautiful power-play deflection in the first period by Rick Macleish past Gilbert that proved to be the game and Cup-winning goal.

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