May 19, 1974. It was a Sunday afternoon at The Spectrum in Philadelphia that the Flyers had a chance to make history.

No team from the NHL’s 1967 expansion class had won a Stanley Cup. The Flyers, making their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final, found themselves on the cusp of doing just that.

After losing Game 1 of the series against the Boston Bruins in Boston, a last-minute game-tying goal by Andre “Moose” Dupont and an overtime game-winning goal by captain Bobby Clarke stole the Flyers a win in Boston Garden.

Two wins on home ice in Games 3 and 4 had the Flyers one win away. But after their Game 2 heroics in Boston, the Bruins handled business in Game 5 to send the series back to Philadelphia.

Knowing the Flyers history in Boston to that point, it felt imperative that if the Flyers were going to win the Stanley Cup, it had to happen in Game 6.

Head coach Fred Shero set the stage with one of his trademark messages on the blackboard in the locker room. “Win today, and we walk together forever,” Shero’s message read.

A power-play goal by Rick MacLeish at 14:48 got the Flyers on the board first, and Bernie Parent did the rest. A 30-save shutout paced the Flyers to their first Stanley Cup title.

That was 50 years ago today.

The Flyers rich history, now 56 seasons long, has always had this date, that first championship, as its crowning moment. With each passing year, and now this monumental anniversary, it makes Fred Shero’s words only ring truer.

That group of Flyers, the Broad Street Bullies, the first expansion team in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup, continue to walk together forever. Even the youngest generation of Flyers fans likely has some knowledge of who this team is, the names that hang in the rafters, the accomplishments they made. Just this past season, the 1974 team was honored on the Flyers alumni weekend, with the Stanley Cup in the house.

Over recent years, as the Flyers drought for a Stanley Cup has continued and nears a half-century, the 1974 Stanley Cup remains the most defining moment of the franchise’s history. Just years earlier, when Philadelphia was granted an expansion team in 1967, no one knew if hockey would truly work in Philadelphia.

As the current Flyers work toward a “New Era of Orange” and a return to glory, and the hope of breaking the Stanley Cup drought, the Broad Street Bullies still serve as a reminder of what could be, what the franchise wants to achieve.

A lot about the game has since changed. The style that the Flyers played in 1974 is less prominent in today’s NHL. The league has also expanded from 16 teams during the 1973-74 season to 32, and continues to grow as the years progress. It makes the Flyers task of returning to the top that much more of a challenge.

There are members of the 1974 team that are also no longer with us. The franchise’s founder, Ed Snider, passed away in April 2016. The scorer of the Cup-clinching goal, Rick MacLeish, passed away just weeks later. Barry Ashbee passed away in 1977. Shero passed away in 1990. “Cowboy” Bill Flett passed in 1999 and Ross Lonsberry in 2014.

But that’s the power of Shero’s words. The memory remains that unites both the living members of the team and those that have since passed. They still walk together forever.

And that’s the allure of the 1974 Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers. They weren’t expected to be able to win. They weren’t expected to be able to beat the Big, Bad, Boston Bruins. But they did. And for that, 50 years later, they are still walking together.

Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN. Follow him on social media @Kevin_Durso.

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