With the Flyers and Penguins meeting again in the playoffs, the Battle of PA is being recharged after a few stale years between the teams. They last met in the first round of 2012, which saw both teams go at each other in six games before the Flyers emerged victorious. Since then, the Flyers and Penguins have both dominated each other for long stretches of times.
Now, with the Penguins trying for their third-straight Stanley Cup and the Flyers catching fire late in the season, we can only hope this matchup regains the spark it once had.
With that in mind, let’s look back at this fierce rivalry and remember some of its best games.
February 2nd, 1989 – Penguins 5, Flyers 3
After a win in Philadelphia on January 20, 1974, the Penguins caught what many dubbed ‘The Philly Flu” which saw the Penguins unable to win a single game in Philadelphia (0-39-3) over the next 15 years. It wasn’t until 1989 when Pittsburgh and their young stars Mario Lemieux, Paul Coffey, and Rob Brown came out of the Spectrum with a win for the first time in 15 years and finally ended their long winless streak.
Per usual, tempers ran high in this battle of Pennsylvania, with the teams combining for 82 penalty minutes. There was also a late scrum that saw Rick Tocchet and Jim Johnson dropping the gloves with the Penguins holding a two-goal lead late in the third.
March 2nd, 1993 – “Mario Lemieux’s Return” Flyers 5, Penguins 4
After a two-month-long radiation treatment, Mario Lemieux returned to the Penguins for their late-season matchup with the hated Flyers fans. Despite their rivalry, the rowdy Flyers faithful gave Lemieux a standing ovation before the game. Lemieux would notch a goal and an assist in the game, but it would be the Flyers who came out on top thanks to a late goal from Gary Galley that put the Flyers on top for good.
November 16th, 2005 – Penguins 3, Flyers 2 (OT)
In his rookie season with the Penguins, Sidney Crosby felt the hatred from Philadelphia fans almost immediately. He earned the “Crybaby Crosby” moniker from the Flyers fans in 2005 after taking a hard hit from Flyers’ defender Derian Hatcher and having teeth knocked out by a high stick, which elicited complaints to the referees by the 18-year-old Crosby.
But it was Crosby, who would go on to win the Calder Trophy with a 102-point rookie season, who had the last laugh, beating Flyer’s netminder Antero Niittymaki in overtime on a breakaway for his second goal of the game.
April 1st, 2012 – Flyers 6, Penguins 3
With the Flyers out to a commanding lead late in the third, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma sent out enforcer Joe Vitale and his fourth line. With just over a minute to go, Vitale laid a thundering hit on Flyers’ Daniel Briere, causing chaos between the two teams. After the hit, the two teams went to war, with Deryk Engelland and Wayne Simmonds dropping the gloves and the teams combining for over 40 minutes of penalty time in the final 1:03.
April 15th, 2012 (Game 3 of ECQF) – Flyers 8, Penguins 4
In a playoff series that turned into an all-out war, it was Game 3 that stood out as the roughest of them all. With the Flyers up 7-4 and about to take a 3-0 series lead, the frustrated Penguins were out looking for a fight and it was a hit that James Neal laid on Flyers’ rookie Sean Couturier that set off a huge brawl late in the game. The brawl resulted in 62 penalty minutes, with Craig Adams and Scott Hartnell dropping the gloves and four players were given game misconducts.
May 4th, 2000 – Flyers 2, Penguins 1 (5 OT)
In one of the most iconic (and longest) games in NHL history, the Penguins and Flyers battled for eight periods in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Pittsburgh’s Alex Kovalev gave the Penguins an early lead, but a third-period goal from John LeClair sent the game to extra time (a lot of extra time). The teams would then go through 92 minutes of overtime before Keith Primeau beat Penguins’ goalie Keith Tugnutt in the early hours of May 5th to tie the series, 2-2.
Dean is a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan (note the Carson Wentz photoshop) and an aspiring sportswriter. He is a student at Millersville University where he is studying sports journalism. The primary way of contacting Dean is at this email: firstname.lastname@example.org.