Cliff Fletcher, the Calgary Flames' general manager, was upset before tonight's Stanley Cup playoff game against the Flyers because Hockey Night in Canada elected to televise Edmonton and the New York Islanders instead of the Flames' potential series-clincher. Before the required 60 minutes were fulfilled here, however, not even Fletcher wanted to watch.
Philadelphia's Brian Propp scored three goals before the Flames were able to get off three shots as the Flyers built a 5-1 lead in the first period and cruised to a 9-4 victory.
That left the Flames with a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven quarterfinal, with game six set Friday night in Calgary's Stampede Corral. The Flames lost only five regular-season games and have swept four playoff contests, including two against Philadelphia.
Possibly more meaningful than the home-ice advantage, however, is that Calgary will be missing right wing Willi Plett, a 38-goal scorer in the regular season. He has scored five more in the playoffs and is a key physical performer when the Flames meet a roughhouse club like Philadelphia.
Plett was assessed a double game misconduct by referee Ron Wicks for his part in a lengthy second-period brawl. The fracas began when the Flyers' Glen Cochrane took a run at Plett, but Cochrane was fighting with the Flames' Him Peplinski when Plett intervened and was ejected as the third man in.
Pushed into the dressing-room runway by the linesmen, Plett reached over the glass to punch Flyer Mel Bridgman, drawing a second game misconduct. Two such penalties in the playoffs bring an automatic suspension for the next game and the sentence was confirmed by Dutch Van Deelen, NHL supervisor of officials.
"They suckered us the way they've been doing for seven years and we fell for it; give them full marks," Fletcher said.
Although playing their 10th game in 15 nights, the Flyers came out looking like their nickname. Plett was chased for crosschecking after 46 seconds, and Rick MacLeish sent Philadelphia ahead to stay 22 seconds later with the first of three power-play goals by the Flyers. They have scored nine times in 19 attempts with an extra man in this series.
Shackled by Plett in the first five games, Propp escaped his tormentor to score three times within 8 minutes 9 seconds. Linemates Ken Linseman and Paul Holmgren did most of the work, with Propp providing some fancy finishing touches.
By the time Propp completed his heroics, the score was 4-0 and the Flyers had an 8-1 advantage on the shot clock. The rest of the night was devoted to extracurricular activity -- 98 minutes against the Flames, 83 against the Flyers -- and the celebration of some milestone playoff goals by Philadelphia.