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Flyers–Rangers rivalry

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Title: Flyers–Rangers rivalry  
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Subject: 2012 NHL Winter Classic, Flyers–Penguins rivalry, Philadelphia Flyers, Devils–Flyers rivalry, 24/7 (TV series)
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Flyers–Rangers rivalry

Flyers center Jeff Carter takes a faceoff in front of Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

The Flyers–Rangers rivalry (also commonly referred to as Broadway versus Broad Street) is one of the most storied and well known rivalries in the National Hockey League. The New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers have met eleven times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the Flyers winning six and the Rangers winning five of the series, and they have been division rivals since the 1974–75 season. The ferocity of the rivalry can also be attributed to the geographic New York-Philadelphia rivalry, which is mirrored in the National Football League's Eagles–Giants rivalry, the National Basketball Association's Knicks–76ers rivalry, and the Major League Baseball's Mets–Phillies rivalry.


In 1974, the Flyers eliminated the Rangers in the Semifinals. The series went seven games, with the Rangers sealing their own fate, taking a too many men penalty in the waning moments of the game while trying to replace the goaltender with an extra attacker.[14] The home team won all 7 games of the series as a result,[14] and it marked the first time that an expansion team had defeated an Original Six team in a playoff series.[15]

The Flyers went on to win their first of back-to-back Stanley Cups.[16] The day after the Flyers won the Cup, more than two million—one of them, future Ranger goaltender Mike Richter,[17] lined Broad Street for a ticker-tape parade.[18] Richter grew up in Flourtown, Pa. near Philadelphia idolizing Flyers goalie Bernie Parent.[19]

The Rangers defeated the Flyers in five games in the 1979 Quarterfinals on their way to a Stanley Cup Finals berth;[15][20] the Flyers did the same to New York in 1980.[15] During the 1979 series, the Rangers outscored the Flyers 28–8.[21]

During this period, [23] Shero then signed a $250,000, five-year contract with the Rangers to be their new Head Coach and General Manager, believing he no longer had a contractual agreement to the Flyers.[24] A few weeks after signing Shero, the Rangers gave the Flyers their first-round pick in the 1978 draft (Ken Linseman) and cash as compensation, allowing the Rangers to avoid tampering charges.[23]


During the 1980s, the two teams met in the Patrick Division Semifinals 5 out of 6 seasons. Beginning in 1982, the Rangers defeated the Flyers in four games, then swept them in three straight in 1983. In 1985, the Flyers returned the favor by sweeping the Rangers,[25] but in 1986, the Rangers did get revenge, eliminating the Flyers in five games.[26][27]

In 1987, the first round format was expanded to best-of-seven, and the Flyers eliminated the Rangers in six.[28][29] The coach of the Flyers when they twice went to the Stanley Cup Finals during this period, Mike Keenan, coached the Rangers in their championship season of 1994 and coached in Game 7 of the Finals with both teams.[30]


In June 1992, the Flyers and the Rangers found themselves as the top two bidders for the rights to much-heralded prospect Eric Lindros, who had been drafted 1st overall by the Quebec Nordiques at the 1991 NHL Entry Draft but did not sign with them as he refused to play for Quebec. On the first day of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, the Flyers believed they had reached a deal with the Nordiques to acquire Lindros. However, Nordiques president Marcel Aubut reneged on the agreement, stating he had reached a deal with the Rangers instead. The Flyers filed for arbitration, and on June 26 the Flyers were awarded Lindros' rights by arbitrator Larry Bertuzzi in exchange for Steve Duchesne, Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, the Flyers' 1st round draft picks in 1993 and 1994 and $15 million.

The Flyers and Rangers renewed their playoff rivalry once more when the two teams met in the playoffs in 1995 and 1997, both series won by the Flyers.[15] The first series was bitter for the Rangers—the Flyers' four-game sweep eliminated the defending Cup champions in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Many Flyers fans remember this for the second game the Flyers won in overtime. Kevin Haller scored, sending normally laid-back Flyers color analyst Gary Dornhoefer into a frenzy. The latter series was the Eastern Conference Finals that sent the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals.[31][32] With a 4–1 series win, it marked the last time the Rangers would make the playoffs until 2006 and it later turned out to be both Wayne Gretzky's and Mark Messier's last playoff game.

21st century

In August 2001, the Flyers traded Eric Lindros' rights to the Rangers in exchange for President Bush addressed congress and America about the war on terrorism. After his speech, the teams decided not to play the third period and the game ended in a 2-2 tie, afterwards the two teams shook hands in a show of respect.[33]

2009–10: Shootout begins Flyers' Cinderella run to Stanley Cup Finals

On December 4, 2009, the Flyers added further heat to the rivalry in firing head coach John Stevens and replacing him with Peter Laviolette.[34][35] On March 17, 2009, John Tortorella, who had been hired as coach of the Rangers after Tom Renney was fired almost a month before,[36] surpassed Laviolette as the winningest-American born coach.[37] The hiring of Laviolette made the rivalry a battle for the most wins by an American-born head coach.[38]

The Flyers' Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Finals began on April 11, the final day of the regular season,[39] when they met the Rangers in a winner-take-all match-up for the final playoff spot.[40] Philadelphia beat the Rangers 2–1 in a historic shootout, the first do or die shootout for a playoff spot in NHL history.[40] Rangers Jody Shelley (who himself signed with the Flyers in the ensuing off-season) scored the first Rangers goal, in the first period, but Matt Carle tied it for the Flyers in the third period, sending the game to overtime, and then to a shootout.[41]

Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers in the first round of the shootout, while goaltender Brian Boucher stopped final shooter Olli Jokinen to win the game for the Flyers.[40] With the win, the Flyers eliminated the Rangers from the playoff contention, holding off their late season surge, in which they went 7–1–2 to close the season.[39][40][42]

In the finals, the Flyers played the Chicago Blackhawks, but lost to them in six games, losing the deciding game in overtime, giving the Blackhawks their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.[39][43] During the run, Flyers left winger James van Riemsdyk told Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger that his earliest memory of the Stanley Cup playoffs came when the Rangers won the 1994 Stanley Cup and watching Mike Richter stop Pavel Bure's penalty shot.[19][44]


Former Flyers and Rangers players pose after the Alumni Game, held as part of the 2012 NHL Winter Classic

In the 2010–11 season, the Flyers won 4 of the 6 meetings against the Rangers and the rivalry was played out three times on NBC, including the meeting on February 20, which was part of the first ever Hockey Day in America (the game was aired in the majority of homes, however, people in the Buffalo and Washington markets saw the game between the Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres),[45] and again on March 6.[46][47] The Flyers finished the season 47–23–12 and won their sixth Atlantic Division title, finishing second in the Eastern Conference,[48] while the Rangers, with a record of 44–33–5, finished third in the division, behind the Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, but it took them until the final day of the season to clinch a playoff spot, finishing 8th in the East.[49][50][51]

On June 21, 2011, The New York Times reported that the Rangers and the Flyers would be playing each other in the 2012 NHL Winter Classic on January 2, 2012 at Citizens Bank Park, the home stadium of the Philadelphia Phillies.[52][53] The NHL formally announced it on September 26.[54][55] The Rangers won the Winter Classic, 3–2.[56][57]

The Rangers went on to win all six meetings with the Flyers in the 2011-12 season. They steadily led the Atlantic Division and won first place in the Eastern Conference in the final meeting between the two teams during the season. In the 2014 Eastern Conference Quarter Finals, the Rangers and Flyers played each other in the first year of the new playoff format. Rangers finished 2nd in the Metropolitan and Flyers finished 3rd. The Rangers' struggles to take a two game series lead showed themselves once again vs. the Flyers. They took game one and lost game 2 at home against Flyers goalie Ray Emery while their starting goalie Steve Mason was injured. Mason's return came in late in game 3 when the Rangers had already established a large lead. He would start and finish every remaining game in the series. He played a very solid game four in Philly and gave his Flyers team a good chance to tie the series at 2-2 which they did. Rangers took game 5 in MSG, while the Flyers Wayne Simmonds pulled a hat trick to help them avoid elimination in game 6 in Philadelphia. But the Rangers outscored the Flyers 2-1 in a decisive game 7 and advanced to the second round in which they played the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Flyers' hated rivals. They ended up advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals that year for the first time in two decades.


The rivalry stems and attributes to two factors. Both teams are in the same division and the proximity between the cities of New York City and Philadelphia, which are approximately two hours apart by car.[58] The Rangers' fanbase comes from the New York metropolitan area, which includes southern Connecticut, and northern and central New Jersey as well as upstate New York.[59] Conversely, the Flyers' fanbase generally draws from the Delaware Valley (the Philadelphia metropolitan area), which includes Southeastern Pennsylvania, central New Jersey south of Princeton, southern New Jersey, northern Delaware and extreme northeast parts of Maryland.[60]

The New York–Philadelphia rivalry is evident in other sports (for example, the Mets–Phillies rivalry in Major League Baseball, Eagles–Giants rivalry in the National Football League), and the New York Red Bulls-Philadelphia Union rivalry in Major League Soccer..[41][61]

See also


Inline citations
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