|Philadelphia Flyers–Pittsburgh Penguins|
|1st Meeting||October 19, 1967|
|1st Result||PHI: 1–0 (OT)|
|Last Meeting||March 24, 2013|
|Last Result||PIT: 2-1|
|Location||Consol Energy Center|
|Next Meeting||Last in reg. season|
|Number of Meetings||263|
|All-Time Series||PHI: 143–92-30|
|Current Streak||PIT: 2|
|Post Season History|
|Post Season Series||6, PHI: 4–2 (.667)|
|Post Season Games||35, PHI 19–16 (.543)|
|Flyers won, 4–3|
|1997 ECQF||Flyers won, 4–1|
|2000 ECSF||Flyers won, 4–2|
|2008 ECF||Penguins won, 4–1|
|2009 ECQF||Penguins won, 4–2|
|2012 ECQF||Flyers won, 4–2|
The Flyers–Penguins rivalry is a rivalry between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins in the Atlantic Division of the National Hockey League. It began in 1967 when the teams were introduced into the NHL's "Next Six" expansion wave. The rivalry exists due to divisional alignment and geographic location, as both teams play in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Flyers lead the series 143–82–30. The Flyers and Penguins have met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 3 of the last 5 seasons, strengthening the rivalry.
The first meeting between the Flyers and Penguins occurred on October 19, 1967 in the first ever game at the Philadelphia Spectrum. Flyers goaltender Doug Favell stopped all 17 Pittsburgh shots and Bill Sutherland scored the lone goal 2:59 into the 3rd period for a 1–0 Flyers win.
The rivalry was not as strong in earlier years, as the Penguins struggled in the NHL until the arrival of Mario Lemieux in 1984–85. The Flyers achieved just the opposite, winning back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975. When the NHL realigned divisions prior to the 1974–75 season, the two Pennsylvania teams were moved to separate divisions. The Penguins spent the next seven seasons in the Norris Division and became the Flyers division rivals once again upon joining the Patrick Division in 1981–82.
Most notably during this era was the Penguins' 42 game winless streak at the Spectrum. From February 7, 1974 through February 2, 1989 the Penguins were 0–39–3 at the Spectrum.
Arrival of Mario Lemieux
With the arrival of Lemieux in Pittsburgh, the Penguins slowly but surely gained respectability in the league and had begun to shed their image as one of the NHL's perennial doormats. In 1988–89, the Flyers and the Penguins met for the first time in the playoffs in the Patrick Division Finals. Despite the upstart talent on the Penguins roster led by Lemieux against the Flyers' aging core of players, the Penguins blew a 3 games to 2 lead and lost the series in seven games.
Despite the Flyers' victory, the series proved to be a turning point for both franchises. The Flyers fell from grace and missed the playoffs entirely for the next 5 seasons, while the Penguins continued to strengthen their ranks with the additions of Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis and Tom Barrasso among others, and won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992.
Eric Lindros and the 1990s
The rivalry continued during the 1990s with the arrival of Eric Lindros in Philadelphia, which gave the Flyers a counterbalance against Lemieux. But further divisional realignment split the teams up again in 1993–94 and the Penguins spent the next five seasons in the Northeast Division. Lindros and Jagr were tied for the scoring lead in 1994–95, but the Art Ross Trophy was given to Jagr for scoring more goals than Lindros. Lindros won the Hart Memorial Trophy that season as MVP, with Lemieux winning it the following season in 1995–96, with Lindros as first runner-up. The two teams met again in the playoffs, in the 1997 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Flyers won in five games and Lemieux retired for the first time at the end of the series. After Game 5, Lemieux skated around the ice and received a standing ovation from the Philadelphia crowd. He had previously received a standing ovation from the Philadelphia crowd in March 1993 after returning from radiation treatments.
One of the most memorable moments of the rivalry occurred during the 1999–2000 season, when the two teams met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. A season after the Penguins joined the Atlantic Division, the Flyers had won the division and the 1st seed in the East, while the Penguins snuck into the playoffs as the 7th seed. Despite this, the Penguins jumped out to a 2 games to none lead in the series, winning both games in Philadelphia. The Flyers won Game 3 in overtime, but NHL history was made in Game 4. Tied at 1, the game stretched to five overtime periods and set the record for the longest game played in the modern era of the NHL. Keith Primeau's goal at the 92:01 mark gave the Flyers a 2–1 win and a 2–2 split in the series. The outcome energized the Flyers and demoralized the Penguins, as the Flyers went on to win the next two games and the series.
Rivalry in the 21st century
The rivalry between the two teams lost its luster in the years leading up to the 2004–05 NHL lockout as the Penguins struggled on and off the ice, dropping to the bottom of not only the league standings but the attendance rankings as well.
In 2006–07, the Penguins defeated the Flyers in all eight matchups between the two teams, and Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury became the first goalie to defeat a team eight times in a season since 1967–68. The Flyers have swept the season series twice, winning all four games during the 1980–81 season and winning all seven games during the 1983–84 season. During the 2007–08 season the Flyers won five games and the Penguins won three of the games in the season series. The series was highlighted by an 8–2 win by the Flyers and a 7–1 win by the Penguins. The Penguins and the Flyers faced off in the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals, won by the Penguins in 5 games for the Penguins' first-ever playoff series win against the Flyers. A year later in the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals the Penguins beat the Flyers again, winning the series 4–2 on their way to winning the Stanley Cup.
In the 2010–11 season opener, Philadelphia traveled to Pittsburgh to open the Penguins new arena, the Consol Energy Center, on October 7. Rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made his NHL debut, leading the Flyers to a 3–2 victory. Flyers forward Daniel Briere scored the first NHL goal in the new building, and Penguins forward Tyler Kennedy scored the first Penguins goal.
On July 1, 2011, the Flyers signed Jaromir Jagr to a 1-year, $3.3 million deal and Maxime Talbot to a 5-year, $9 million deal. Talbot scored both goals in the Penguins' Cup-clinching Game 7 win against Detroit in 2009.
On April 1, 2012, the Flyers and Penguins were involved in a late-game skirmish at Consol Energy Center. The game, which the Flyers won 6-4, was highlighted by Flyers coach Peter Laviolette and Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato standing atop the boards and engaged in a verbal altercation. Both were eventually fined by the NHL. On April 7, the Penguins defeated the Flyers for the first time in six tries at Consol Energy Center, winning 4-2.
The teams met again in the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, their 3rd meeting in 5 seasons. The Flyers won the series in six games, surprising the hockey world, as the Penguins were heavily favored to win the Stanley Cup. The teams combined for an NHL-record 45 goals in the first four games as well as combining for 309 penalty minutes throughout the fight-filled six-game series. Many NHL players and media personalities commented that it was the most engaging series they had seen in a long time.
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