|First Meeting||November 16, 1967|
|All-Time Series||Rangers lead 124–121–37|
|2015–16 Series||Flyers lead 2–1|
|All-Time Meetings||54, Flyers lead 30–24|
|All-Time Series||11, Flyers lead 6–5|
|1974 SF||Flyers won, 4–3|
|1979 QF||Rangers won, 4–1|
|1980 QF||Flyers won, 4–1|
|1982 PDSF||Rangers won, 3–1|
|1983 PDSF||Rangers won, 3–0|
|1985 PDSF||Flyers won, 3–0|
|1986 PDSF||Rangers won, 3–2|
|1987 PDSF||Flyers won, 4–2|
|1995 ECSF||Flyers won, 4–0|
|1997 ECF||Flyers won, 4–1|
|2014 ECQF||Rangers won, 4–3|
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. The home team won all 7 games of the series as a result, and it marked the first time that an expansion team had defeated an Original Six team in a playoff series.
The Flyers went on to win their first of back-to-back Stanley Cups. The day after the Flyers won the Cup, more than two million—one of them, future Ranger goaltender Mike Richter, lined Broad Street for a ticker-tape parade. Richter grew up in Flourtown, Pa. near Philadelphia idolizing Flyers goalie Bernie Parent.
The Rangers defeated the Flyers in five games in the 1979 Quarterfinals on their way to a Stanley Cup Finals berth; the Flyers did the same to New York in 1980. During the 1979 series, the Rangers outscored the Flyers 28–8.
During this period, Fred Shero coached the Flyers to back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975 and the Rangers to the 1979 Finals. At the end of the 1977-78 season, Shero submitted a letter of resignation stating that the Flyers needed a change whether they realized it or not, although he had one more year left on his contract. Flyers management had previously heard rumors about Shero wanting to leave Philadelphia and re-join the Rangers organization, and refused to accept his letter of resignation. 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. 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.
Rangers and Flyers met in the playoffs six times ranging from the 1979-80 to 1986-87 seasons. In 1980, Flyers were the division champions and hosted the Rangers in the second round. They took a commanding 3-0 series lead, New York avoided the sweep, but the Flyers won at home in game 5 to clinch it. In 1982, the teams met in the first round with the Rangers being the home team. Flyers won the first game, but the remaining three were big wins for the Rangers as they advanced to the next round vs. their crosstown rivals, the Islanders. The next season, Philadelphia hosted the Rangers in the first round. Flyers had a much stronger regular season, finishing with 106 points to the Rangers 80., however things went differently in the postseason. Rangers beat the Flyers twice on the road, and then came back to New York and routed them 9-3 to complete the sweep. However they were eliminated by the Islanders for the 3rd consecutive year later on. In 1985, Flyers once again won the division and hosted the Rangers in round one. Although the games were close, including game one which took overtime, Flyers swept the series. They advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals but lost to the Oilers. In 1986, the division winning Flyers once again hosted the lower seeded Rangers in the Division Semifinals. This series went back and forth with neither team winning two in a row. Rangers defeated the Flyers in game one, Flyers then tied it at 1-1 the next day. The series came to New York and Rangers retook the series lead, but Philly annihilated them 7-1 in game four to bring it back home. Rangers won the decisive game 5 and advanced. The next season, the pattern repeated itself and Flyers hosted the Rangers in round one again. Now however, the format changed and the first round was a best of seven series, rather than best of five. All but one of the games was won by three or more goals. Rangers shut the Flyers out in the first game, but Flyers came back and won the next two 3-8 and 3-0 respectively. Rangers successfully tied the series, but Flyers took the next one at home and shutout the Rangers in game 6 at the garden to move on. Flyers had another fantastic season and won the conference but again lost to the Oilers in the finals, and this time, were only one win away from being the champions.
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. 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. 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.
In August 2001, the Flyers traded Eric Lindros' rights to the Rangers in exchange for Pavel Brendl, Jan Hlavac, Kim Johnsson and a 3rd round pick in the 2003 draft. Lindros sat out the 2000–01 season due to concussion symptoms and a highly publicized feud with Flyers GM Bobby Clarke. 2001–02 saw a moment of peace in the rivalry. Just nine days after the terrorist attacks on America, the two teams played a preseason game in Philadelphia. When the third period was about to begin, 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.
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. On March 17, 2009, John Tortorella, who had been hired as coach of the Rangers after Tom Renney was fired almost a month before, surpassed Laviolette as the winningest-American born coach. The hiring of Laviolette made the rivalry a battle for the most wins by an American-born head coach.
The Flyers' Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Finals began on April 11, the final day of the regular season, when they met the Rangers in a winner-take-all match-up for the final playoff spot. Philadelphia beat the Rangers 2–1 in a historic shootout, the first do or die shootout for a playoff spot in NHL history. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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), and again on March 6. The Flyers finished the season 47–23–12 and won their sixth Atlantic Division title, finishing second in the Eastern Conference, 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.
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. The NHL formally announced it on September 26. The Rangers won the Winter Classic, 3–2.
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 2012-13 season, which was shortened due to the lockout, Rangers defeated the flyers in 3 out of 5 regular season meetings. The teams split their regular season series 2-2 in 2013-14. 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. During the 2014-15 season, the two teams met three times in late November including the Thanksgiving showdown. The Rangers won all three of these in an 11-day span; back up goaltender Cam Talbot shut out the Flyers in the first two meetings and Lundqvist stood in net for the third. Flyers won the fourth an final meeting in the second half of the season. The following year the Flyers won each of the first two matchups between the teams: the first one being a 3-2 shootout victory, the second being a 3-0 shutout. The Rangers won the next one in an overtime shootout. The fourth meeting which was in Philadelphia was filled with physical aggressive play from both ends. Wayne Simmons got a game misconduct for punching Rangers' captain Ryan McDonough in the jaw after the defenseman hit him with a high stick. Several roughing, slashing, and fighting penalties were assessed throughout the game and the Flyers scored a power play goal. Rangers tied the game with their net empty at 2-2 with under 13 seconds remaining in regulation. Rangers won the game in yet another shootout.
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. 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. 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.
The New York City–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..
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The All-Star goaltender (Richter) remembers watching a victory parade in Philadelphia as a youngster when the Flyers won the Cup in 1974.
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