In the first round of the playoffs, Philadelphia was paired with the Vancouver Canucks in a best-of-three series. Vancouver immediately put the Flyers on the brink of elimination with a 3-2 win in Philadelphia. The Flyers forced a third game with a 6-4 win in Vancouver and then eliminated the Canucks with a dominant 7-2 victory back at home.
Meanwhile, the Rangers were also matched up with a cross-continent opponent in the Los Angeles Kings. Game 1 in Madison Square Garden was a laugher, 7-2 in favor of the blueshirts. Two days later the teams reconvened in California, where New York got a much tougher battle as the Kings fought to keep their season going, but fell to the visitors 2-1 in overtime.
Round 2 then saw the Patrick Division rivals squaring off in a series which began on April 16, 1979 in Philadelphia. After Bill Barber scored with 4:59 to play, the game went to overtime tied at 2-2 and Ken Linseman won it for the Flyers just 44 seconds into overtime.
Game 2 was tied at 1-1 after 8 minutes, but from then on it was all Rangers as they reeled off six consecutive goals to win going away 7-1 with Ron Greschner leading the way with a pair of goals against Robbie Moore.
Game 3 in New York was more of the same, as the Flyers led 1-0 after the first period, but the Rangers roared to life with 2 goals in the first three minutes of the second period on their way to a 5-1 win.
An on form John Davidson was too much for the Flyers as he shut out Philadelphia in Game 4 after making 28 saves. Davidson had now allowed the Flyers just two goals over the last three games. Meanwhile, the Rangers offense continued to roll with 5 more goals, including 2 from Don Murdoch and 2 from Ed Johnstone.
After being held to one goal in New York, the Flyers were relieved to be back at home in The Spectrum for Game 5 on this date in 1979. Davidson was back in goal for the Rangers, while Wayne Stephenson got the call over Moore for Philadelphia.
With Mel Bridgman in the penalty box for the Flyers, Greschner scored his 4th of the playoffs from Phil Esposito and Mike McEwen for a power play goal at 9:55 of the first period.
At 12:44, Mario Marois was sent off for the Rangers, but veteran Walt Tkaczuk scored a shorthanded goal from Dave Farrish at 13:26 for a 2-0 lead for New York after one.
Offering no hint as to what was to come, there was no scoring in the second period despite two power plays for New York, including a two man advantage for 57 seconds. Of note, Paul Holmgren and Rangers goaltender Davidson were called for matching minors for the second time in the game at 18:58!
The fans had barely settled into their seats when Tkaczuk scored an unassisted goal at 2:03 for a 3-0 Rangers lead. Steve Vickers then made it 4-0 at 4:13 from Tkaczuk to really put the Flyers season in jeopardy.
Ernie Hickey was then called for a penalty against New York at 7:01 only to have the flashy Ron Dugay score from Swede Anders Hedberg and Vadnais at 8:19 for a demoralizing shorthanded goal to extend the Rangers lead to 5-0.
Not going down without a fight, Reggie Leach beat Davidson for the first Flyers goal in 179 minutes, dating back to the second minute of Game 3. Leach's goal came on a power play from Blake Dunlop and Holmgren at 10:37.
Less than two minutes later, Bob Dailey added a second goal for Philadelphia from Dennis Ververgaert and Linseman at 12:21.
Three minutes passed before Behn Wilson scored the third consecutive goal for the Flyers from Linseman and Ververgaert at 15:27 to reduce the Rangers lead to 5-3 with four and a half minutes still to play.
Flyers head coach Fred Shero pulled Stephenson for an extra attacker, but Vadnais scored an empty net goal from Dugay and Farrish at 16:50.
In full desperation mode, Shero again pulled his goalie for an extra attacker but Johnstone scored his fourth goal of the playoffs (after only 5 in the regular season) in an empty net at 17:24 from Don Maloney and Esposito.
Finally, with 34 seconds left to play, Hedberg made the final score 8-3 when he scored the record setting ninth goal of the period from Vickers and Tkaczuk. It was the sixth goal of the third for New York, who had the first three and then the final three after the Flyers attempt at a comeback in the middle portion of the period.
The final shots on goal were 23 for New York and 28 for the home Flyers as the Rangers closed out the series 4 games to 1 in record setting fashion.
The fifth seeded Rangers would advance to face the #1 New York Islanders, who they would defeat in six games to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Montreal Canadiens. New York would win Game 1 4-1, but lose the next four in a row as Montreal would win their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup and tenth of the last 15 seasons.
Today's featured jersey is a 1978-79 New York Rangers Walt Tkaczuk jersey as worn during the record setting third period of the Rangers playoff game against the Flyers when both teams combined for nine goals in one period.
1978-79 was the first season the Rangers changed back to their classic style jersey after two seasons in a modernized jersey which featured the Rangers shield logo rather than their traditional jerseys which dated back to the team's formation in 1926, only now with "New York" on the front rather than "Rangers" as they had worn for both home and road games, even after introducing a white jersey in 1951. This put the Rangers more in line with the general practice of wearing their name on their home jerseys and their location on their road jerseys. The "New York" cresting would last nine seasons until they reverted to "Rangers" on both the home and roads once again.
Tkaczuk had two goals during the game, including the first goal of the record setting third period. He also assisted on the second goal and the ninth one as well.
Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1978-79 New York Rangers Anders Hedberg jersey as worn during the record setting third period of the Rangers playoff game against the Flyers when both teams combined for nine goals in one period.