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Five great moments from the Pens/Flyers rivalry

From the beginning, there has been no love lost between two of the fiercest rivals in the NHL.

Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins

Last week, we highlighted five great moments from the Penguins/Capitals rivalry, all of which came from playoff meetings between the two sides. While that rivalry was born more or less out of those countless playoff meetings, the Penguins/Flyers rivalry dates back all the way to 1967 when the two Pennsylvania sides joined the NHL together.

Although the rivalry was relatively one sided in its early years, the hate was building and eventually came to fruition once Mario Lemieux arrived on the scene. Since then, superstars from both sides have taken on the roles of heroes and villains and the rivalry has become one of the fiercest in the NHL.

Over 50 years of hate have created some unforgettable moments on both sides, making this an incredibly difficult list to create.

Snapping the Spectrum Drought

In the beginning, the Penguins/Flyers rivalry was mostly a one sided affair with the Flyers coming out on top more often than not. Early success saw the Flyers win two Stanley Cups in the 70’s while the Penguins fell somewhere between mediocre and outright bad.

Much of that began to change once Mario Lemieux arrived on the scene in 1984, but it took time for the Penguins to surpass the Flyers on-ice success. When Lemieux came to Pittsburgh, the Penguins were in the middle of what turned out to be a 42 game winless streak at the famed Spectrum in Philadelphia.

During the drought, the Penguins went a combined 0-39-3 at the Spectrum, and despite a few close calls, it took until Lemieux’s fifth season until the Penguins finally broke through. Years of pain and frustration all came to an end on February 2nd, 1989.

Mario’s Ovation(s)

It’s rare for any Philadelphia athlete to get a standing ovation in Philadelphia let an opposing athlete, especially a player from one of the city’s fiercest rivals. Mario Lemieux broke that mold, not once, but twice in his storied career.

Lemieux’s first ovation in Philadelphia came on March 2nd, 1993, the night he returned to the Penguins lineup after undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When Lemieux stepped on the ice for the national anthem, the Philadelphia crowd erupted in cheers for No. 66.

Fast forward four years and you will find Lemieux’s second Philadelphia ovation. This one comes after the Penguins were eliminated by the Flyers from the 1997 Stanley Cup playoffs in what was Mario’s final game before his first retirement. As the teams were lining up to shake hands, the Flyers faithful let loose once again to honor Le Magnifique.

Sidney Crosby loses teeth; scores OT winner

Throughout his career, Sidney Crosby has made a habit of beating up on the Flyers almost routinely. There is no team in the league Crosby has performed better against during his time in the NHL than the Penguins cross-state rival.

In 70 games played against the Flyers, Crosby has posted 105 points, his second highest against any single team. His 43 career goals against the Flyers are the most against any single team in the NHL.

Crosby has been a thorn in the Flyers side since quite literally the first time he ever played them. His first foray into the heated rivalry was a memorable one for sure, losing his front teeth off a high stick from Derian Hatcher before scoring an overtime goal later on to seal a Penguins victory.

This game also spawned years of name calling from jealous Flyers fans after cameras caught Crosby arguing with the referees following Hatcher’s uncalled high stick.

Max Talbot shushes Wells Fargo

Until the 21st century, the Penguins had no playoff success against their hated rival, losing the first three meetings between the two sides. That streak was snapped in 2008 when the Penguins whipped the Flyers in five games to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Less than a year later, the Penguins and Flyers were set to meet again in the playoffs, this time in the first round. Up 3-2 in the series, the Penguins fell behind 3-0 in Game 6 in Philadelphia and looked poised to be heading home for a decisive Game 7.

On the ensuing face-off following the Flyers third goal, Max Talbot tried to rally his team by engaging Flyers pest Daniel Carcillo in a fight. Carcillo won the bough handily and sent the Wells Fargo crowd into an even deeper frenzy. As Talbot skated to the penalty box, he lifted a finger to his mouth in a mocking “shhh” action. He was widely mocked at the time, but it worked as the Penguins stormed back to win the game and the series.

Jake Guentzel scores four to eliminate the Flyers

While he has not posted Sidney Crosby like numbers against the Flyers, Jake Guentzel sure has found some success against the boys in orange and black. For his career, Guentzel averages a point per game against the Flyers in the regular season and over a point per game in the playoffs.

Jake’s biggest moment against the Penguins most hated rival came back in the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs. Leading 3-2 in the series, Guentzel and company were trailing 4-3 late in the second period with the prospect of a Game 7 looming if they could not mount a comeback.

Starting a 19:06 of the second period, Guentzel reeled off four straight goals in just over 13 minutes of action to erase the deficit and give the Penguins a three goal lead. That outburst turned out to be more than enough as the Penguins closed out the contest and eliminated the Flyers in six games.

Just like last week, if you have any moments or memories from the Penguins/Flyers rivalry that did not make our list feel free to drop them in the comments for everyone to read.

While most of the Penguins/Capitals rivalry is built on the playoff meetings, the Penguins and Flyers developed their rivalry more from outright hatred for one another. As I was creating this list, numerous moments kept popping into my mind that could have easily been added and I’m sure some will pop up in the comments.


What is your favorite Pens/Flyers rivalry moment?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Breaking the Spectrum drought
    (13 votes)
  • 22%
    Philly applauds No. 66
    (78 votes)
  • 9%
    Crosby’s rivalry debut
    (32 votes)
  • 47%
    Talbot "Shhhhhhh"
    (165 votes)
  • 13%
    Guentzel pots four
    (47 votes)
  • 2%
    Other (Put it in the comments)
    (9 votes)
344 votes total Vote Now