June 7, 1997
In Game 4 of the 1997 Stanley Cup Final, the Flyers were up against the machine that was the Detroit Red Wings. Having been outscored, 14-5, in the first three games, the Flyers were staring at a three games to none deficit. The Flyers were prepared to play better defense and not get embarrassed in the Motor City.
The Red Wings, with arguably one of the best teams of the decade, featured a half-dozen Hall-of-Famers including Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom and Viacheslav Fetisov.
It was Lidstrom who scored on the Flyers Ron Hextall with under a minute to play in the first to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead heading to the locker room. In the second, Darren McCarty made it 2-0 at 13:02.
With the Red Wings tight defense and smart play, the lead looked insurmountable heading to the third period.
With a power play provided to the Flyers thanks to a Kris Draper penalty at 14:39 of the third, the Flyers had a chance to cut the lead to one and climb back. Red Wings goalie Mike Vernon was equal each and every time and the Flyers power play was unsuccessful.
Although the Flyers played better defensively, they were not able to solve Vernon until Eric Lindros scored with 15 seconds remaining; breaking the shutout, but the Flyers fell 2-1 and were swept four games to none.
Major changes came the Flyers way after the 1996-97 season, including the firing of coach Terry Murray. His comments during the Finals , saying that "it’s basically a choking situation" after the Flyers Game 3 loss, was a statement that left many in the Flyer land scratching their heads.
We’ve all been scratching our heads since, looking for that winning formula, to bring Lord Stanley’s Cup back to Philadelphia.
Mike Watson is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @Mwats_99.