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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Flyers, Oilers win first Cups 10 years apart
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com
May 19, 1974
In only their seventh season of existence, the Philadelphia Flyers become the first member of the 1967 NHL expansion class (six teams were added to double the size of the league) to win the Stanley Cup.
Known more for their fighting than skills under coach Fred Shero, the Flyers earn the nickname Broad Street Bullies. No matter the style, they are celebrating in the City of Brotherly Love after the Flyers' 1-0 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 6 gives them the Cup.
On a power play, Rick MacLeish scores his playoff-high 13th goal on a deflection at 14:48 of the first period. Thanks to goalie Bernie Parent, the Flyers will need nothing more. Parent makes save after spectacular save on the favored Bruins, stopping all 30 shots for the shutout and earns the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
While the Broad Street Bullies racked up a league-leading 1,750 penalty minutes during the regular season, today they refrain from their often boorish on ice tactics and prove there is more to their success than clenched fists.
Flyers captain Bobby Clarke sums up the feeling of validation: "All year long, we heard that we are just a hard-working team, but never a good or a great team. To do what we've done, you have to be both."
May 19, 1984
With a 5-2 win in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals, the Edmonton Oilers dethrone the Islanders, ending New York's four-year reign as champions. The victory marks the "arrival" of the highly touted Oilers, who are in their fifth season in the NHL and are led by superstar center Wayne Gretzky.
In last year's Cup final, the Islanders squashed the promising Oilers in a four-game sweep. But the Islanders could no longer prevent the simmering offense of the young Oilers squad from erupting. Having tallied a record 446 goals in the regular season, the Oilers continue their high scoring ways with 19 goals in the final three games of the series to convincingly eliminate the Islanders.
Gretzky scores the game's first two goals in the clincher in Edmonton and quiets his critics, who doubted his style of play was conducive to team success.
"It's exciting to win individual awards," says The Great One, who has dramatically rewritten the NHL record book in his first five seasons, "but there's no feeling like this. Nothing compares."
In winning the Cup, Gretzky gets plenty of help from teammate Mark Messier, who is voted the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after scoring 26 points.
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