Blues / Flyers Rivalry has Rich History

Both teams had historic head-to-head battles, moments in the 1970s.

Wednesday, 09.29.2010 / 5:30 PM / St Louis Blues - Features
By Chris Pinkert  - St. Louis Blues
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Blues \/ Flyers Rivalry has Rich History
Ask Blues legend Bob Plager who he considered the Blues’ biggest rival in his playing days and his answer might surprise you.

“The Chicago Blackhawks was a big rivalry, but our biggest rival in those days was the Philadelphia Flyers,” Plager said. “That was war every time we played them. Not only on the ice, but there were some nights where we had to go up in the stands, too.”

Believe it or not, that’s not an exaggeration.

Plager and several of his teammates actually jumped into the stands to brawl with Flyers fans when they threw a beer on Al Arbour, the Blues’ coach at the time.

With just 17 police officers on staff for that game, more were called in, and it took 150 of them to restore order at the rink.

But the rivalry didn't start there. It actually began when the Blues were an expansion team during the 1967-68 season. In their first playoff appearance in franchise history, they met the Flyers in a brutal, hard-fought seven-game series that saw the Blues emerge victorious, but not without plenty of broken bones and bruises. The series included plenty of scraps and lots of fights, as Plager so elegantly put it.

The next season, Blues forward Red Berenson tied an NHL record by scoring six goals in one game against Philadelphia, dancing around tough-guy defenseman Ed Van Impe on all six goals. The Flyers’ defenseman, who was physically threatened prior to the game by Plager, his brother Barclay and Noel Picard, was afraid to get near Berenson and ended up with a minus-6 in the game.

According to Plager, Philadelphia’s “Broad Street Bullies” of the 1970s were born as a direct result of the Blues’ physical domination over the Flyers.

With such a rich history, it’s no wonder that today’s Blues are excited to open the 2010-11 regular season against the Flyers, who lost in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals earlier this summer.

The puck drops on the new season on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. at Scottrade Center, when the Blues host the defending Eastern Conference Champions.

Jaroslav Halak, who led the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens to the Conference Finals several months ago, was beaten in five games by Philadelphia after defeating the top-seeded Washington Capitals and the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins in earlier rounds.

“(The Flyers) are a big team and each guy is big. They try to crash the net and create some rebounds and score off them. It’s been working pretty well for them for a lot of years,” Halak said recently. “I think they have some really good forwards, and even on their (defense) they have some pretty skilled guys. You just need to take them as a group, not as individuals. When you have five guys out there, you have to outwork them.”

Halak would love nothing more than to give the Flyers a little payback in at this season's home opener.

“It’s going to be a new challenge. It’s kind of funny, because I got traded here and the home opening game is against Philadelphia, ” he said. “It’s going to be a big challenge and I think everybody’s looking forward to it.”

And that goes for Plager, too, who will be at Scottrade Center watching the game.

“You’re always looking forward to opening night and Philadelphia,” Plager said. “It’s not quite the rivalry we used to have, but still, in our minds, we hate Philadelphia.”

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AWAY
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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Steen 68 33 29 17 62
T. Oshie 79 21 39 19 60
D. Backes 74 27 30 14 57
J. Schwartz 80 25 31 28 56
A. Pietrangelo 81 8 43 20 51
K. Shattenkirk 81 10 35 1 45
V. Tarasenko 64 21 22 20 43
D. Roy 75 9 28 -1 37
J. Bouwmeester 82 4 33 26 37
V. Sobotka 61 9 24 14 33
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 18 6 2 .922 1.96
R. Miller 25 30 4 .918 2.64

 
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