By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
In the season following the Flyers second consecutive Stanley Cup win, they were the talk of the league and it wasn’t necessarily in the best light. The Broad Street Bullies were hated across the league as the expansion-age team that would impose their will and fists on any opponent. League officials scowled at the thought of handing over the Stanley Cup to the Flyers.
But all bets were off during the 1976 Super Series when HC CSKA Moscow, also known as the Red Army Club, came to play the final game of the series with NHL teams at the Spectrum in Philadelphia.
The Red Army Club was joined by Krylya Sovetov Moscow -- also called the Soviet Wings -- and the two teams played eight games combined against the NHL in the 1976 Super Series. The Flyers were the last NHL team on the schedule on January 11, 1976. The Soviet Wings had defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and New York Islanders in the series already and had lost to the Buffalo Sabres, 12-6.
But the Red Army Club was the much more well-known and dominant team in the Soviet League, featuring top Russian players like Aleksander Maltsev, Valeri Kharlamov, Boris Mikhailov and Vladislav Tretiak -- considered to be the greatest goaltender in the world. They had remained dominant through the Super Series to that point, defeating the New York Rangers, 7-3, playing to a 3-3 tie with the eventual Stanley Cup champions in 1976, the Montreal Canadiens, and defeating the Boston Bruins, 5-2.
Given the lack of success that NHL teams were having against the Soviets, the entire league and much of the world was in support of the Flyers to come away victorious and to give the Soviets a beatdown on the ice in the fashion they had to so many opponents in the NHL.