Post by Deleted on Jul 30, 2018 22:06:23 GMT -5
Philadelphia, PA - The Philadelphia Flyers did the unthinkable on Monday night, strolling into Dallas and putting an exclamation mark on a helluva run in the playoffs to capture the teams first ever title in the Retro league.
The Flyers weren't a team that did alot of tinkering, but they did add players when they felt an impact was needed.
At the trade deadline, they had two holes that needed to be filled. One was a scoring RW who could play in the top 6, and another was a shutdown defender who can take away some minutes from the youthful Kevin Hatcher.
Both boxes were checked as they added veterans Mark Napier and Viacheslav Fetisov, and their impact on the team was felt immediately.
These playoffs, and Finals for that matter looked a lot different than previous seasons, as it marked the first time in recent memory that the Whalers weren't playing for the championship. In fact, the past two seasons saw both the Jets and Whalers making the finals, each winning a championship. Additionally, the Whalers played for the trophy in each season dating back to '85, which is quite the run.
The Flyers were not the leagues best team. They didn't have the best offense, best defense, best goalie, but they were a good team and very well balanced - with an elite offense that took center stage in the playoffs.
Led by the offensive greatness of Kent Nilsson, and the clutch goaltending of Vladdy Tretiak, miracles were happening each and every game.
Philadelphia started the playoffs hurt and fatigued, with their #2 center injured and Tretiak needing some much needed rest. Wregget got the start for Philly and had an absolutely terrible start getting shelved for 5 goals on just 13 shots in a 7-2 loss.
It looked pretty ugly. But what transpired after that dreadful Game 1 performance was something straight out of a movie!
What if I told you that after that loss, the Flyers would only lose two more games for the remainder of the playoffs? You would think I was insane - but it happened. Ohhhh man did it ever happen.
After Game 1 of Round 1, veteran goaltender Vladislav Tretiak (who is 37yrs old and retiring after this season) rallied the team together and held a players only meeting, noting the following. "Win or lose, this is my least playoffs in the league - and regardless of the result - I want everyone to put their butts on the line and play every shift like its your last. Give 110% and an honest effort is all I ask. And in return, I'll give 200% and put every ounce of energy into winning each and every game for you guys!"
Tretiak would not make his playoffs debut until Game 3 as he was battling fatigue, but once he suited up you can feel the difference both on the ice you and in the dressing room. You could tell that the players really wanted to win for Vlad.
The veteran goalie would go on to post an absolutely incredible record of 15-2, as Philadelphia steamrolled their way to a Retro Cup, and making relatively quick work of one of the leagues best teams in the finals.
Philly swept their opponents in both the second and third rounds, and lost just one game in the finals. To put how rare that is in perspective, prior to this season there have only been 5 series sweeps since the '85 season.
1988 - 1 sweep in the 1st Rd
1987 - 2 sweeps in the 1st Rd (Flyers were swept too!)
1986 - 2 sweeps, 3 total games lost by Whalers
1985 - 0 sweeps
The last time the league saw such a dominant run in the post-season was the 1986 Whalers, who swept two series and also only lost 3 total games.
As great as Tretiak played, the team's offense continued to blow away goalies with Nilsson(28pts) and Tonelli (26pts) leading the way in just 19 games.
Here's a look at the Flyers run to the Cup: retrohockeysim.altervista.org/RHS89PLFStandingsTree.html
Round 1: Montreal vs Philadelphia
Montreal would take Game in dominant fashion, but would ultimately end up losing the series 4-2.
The Canadiens ended up giving the Flyers the most resistance in the playoffs being the only team to win 2 games in a series.
Game 1: MON 7, PHI 2
Game 2: PHI 8, MON 3
Game 3: PHI 3, MON 2
Game 4: PHI 5, MON 3
Game 5: MON 3, PHI 2
Game 6: PHI 5, MON 4 (OT)
Round 2: Montreal vs Pittsburgh, Conference Semi-Finals
The Flyers offense really exploded in games 2 & 3, which really wore down Pittsburgh goalies.
There were some close battles but the Flyers found a way to win the close games, and ended up sweeping the series 4-0.
Game 1: PHI 3, PIT 2
Game 2: PHI 7, PIT 1
Game 3: PHI 8, PIT 4
Game 4: PHI 4, PIT 3
Round 3: Boston vs Philadelphia, Conference Finals
In this series, Tretiak was really on his 'A' game - perhaps realizing his cup dreams were closer than he once realized.
The Flyers would only give up 5 goals in 4 games, securing their second straight series sweep and winning their 9th straight game in the process which just may be a Retro League playoff record for consecutive wins.
The series win earned Philadelphia the right to challenge for the Cup, for the first time in their teams history.
Game 1: PHI 3, BOS 2
Game 2: PHI 5, BOS 1
Game 3: PHI 5, BOS 1
Game 4: PHI 3, BOS 1
Round 3: Dallas vs Philadelphia, Retro League Finals
The Flyers knew that they would be in tough facing Dallas in the finals, as the Stars finished with the some impressive stats.
They were 2nd with 47 wins and 2nd in goals against - which may just put a stop to the high flying offense of the Flyers.
Ultimately, Philly's offense was no match for Dallas, but the Stars did hand them their most lopsided win since that fateful Game 1 defeat by Montreal in Game 2 of the series.
The teams were all squared up at 1 win each heading into Game 3.
Luck was not on the side of the Stars on that night, as their leading scorer and best player in Bobby Smith due to injury.
Although the Flyers were up 3-0 when Smith went down, nobody can debate that the series would be alot different with him in the lineup.
With Smith lost for the series, Philadelphia activated their killer instinct and went all out, winning both games at home and turned in on the best offensive performances in what was their last game, cranking out 8 goals in front of a dejected Dallas crowd.
Game 1: PHI 5, DAL2
Game 2: DAL 6, PHI 1
Game 3: PHI 5, DAL 3
Game 4: PHI 4, DAL 1
Game 5: PHI 8, DAL 3
It was a storybook ending for the Flyers and Tretiak, who will now retire knowing that he had one of the best playoff goaltending performances in the history of the league - and he can hang up the pads knowing he has a Cup to call his own.
Philadelphia enters the off-season with resigning 4 key players in Nilsson, Smyl, Tonelli and Fetisov. Wregget will look to take over the starting job from the retired Tretiak, and the team may look to supplement their roster through FA - and possibly the trade route.
One thing is for sure, with the core of the team returning next season - fans in Philadelphia are excited at the prospects of defending their title.
The Boys of Broad Street showed the league why they are bullies!