Playoff Appetizers

With a long four-day gap between the end of the regular season and the start of what we all hope will be another deep run, I thought I’d get everybody fought up with a couple selections from the video vault.

First, it was almost 15 years ago when the Flyers opened up the 1996 postseason as the top overall seed in the East. Their opponent, the Tampa Bay Lightning who were making their initial playoff foray.

Sparks did fly and Terry Murray’s club made it look easy…if not a little too easy with a Game 1 romp by a 7-3 score. Here’s the highlights, back when Jim Jackson was a TV rookie.

More than a generation ago, the players were smaller, the hits were fewer, but the big ones were memorable, as Dale Hunter (in a Nordiques jersey, no less) found out. Look ma, real glass! Peter Zezel does the dirt in the final minute of Game 2 of the 1985 Wales Conference Finals.

Best…check…EVER.

…and then there’s this little issue of the Philadelphia-Buffalo matchup, coming to a city near us on Thursday night on South Broad Street.

The Sabres have won the last two meetings — both six-game decisions — in 2006 and 2001. Both saw painfully horrible series-ending routs, but we’re thinking of brighter days. Here’s some of the good in past playoff battles:

We all recall the goal that shouldn’t have been, but actually was…

To be fair, it hasn’t been all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows when the Goat Lords/Buffaslugs are involved. Like 10 years ago, in overtime, for example.

Or five years ago, in double overtime.

So, what’s a little blood shed between two conference rivals if it’s not all bad blood, eh? Ugliness never hurt anything, or cost any team fans in the seats. Even though it does cost your team one player sometimes.

Once upon a time, it was a symbol of playoff pressure and importance if both clubs clashed violently 2 or 3 or 4 times a game. That era was called the 1990s. And it was good.

Sweet dreams Flyers Faithful, are truly made of this.