The Flyers let the New York Islanders know right from the start Saturday night at Philadelphia that there would be no more miracles.
Dominating play from the opening faceoff, the Flyers scored three times in less than 11 minutes--two of them while short-handed--and breezed to a 5-1 victory and a 4-3 series win.
The Flyers will face the defending champion Montreal Canadiens in the Wales Conference championship series beginning Monday night at Philadelphia.
The Islanders were trying to become the first team to overcome 3-1 deficits in Stanley Cup competition twice in one season. When the Islanders won three in a row after trailing Washington, 3-1, they became only the third team in history to come back from such a deficit.
Once again against the Flyers, the Islanders fell behind, 3-1. Then, as they did against the Capitals, the Islanders came back to even the series.
The Flyers, playing without injured Tim Kerr, their top scorer, got a big game from Brian Propp and Dave Poulin.
At 6:21 of the first period, the pair set up Dave Brown for his first playoff goal. But it was midway through the period, while the Islanders were working on a power play, that the two speedy forwards did them in.
Defenseman Brad McCrimmon cleared the puck from the Flyer zone and suddenly, Poulin and Propp were on a 2-on-1 break. Poulin drew goalie Kelly Hrudey to him, slipped the puck to Propp, who just beat Hrudey diving back to cover the corner.
Before the Islanders recovered--just 44 seconds later--Philadelphia defenseman Brad Marsh stole the puck and beat Hrudey for another short-handed score.
With Ron Hextall doing a steady job in the nets, the Islanders never got back into the battle. He lost his shutout when Denis Potvin scored in the final minute.
Poulin, the captain of the Flyers, missed the first six games of the series because of a broken rib. He seemed to inspire the Flyers just by putting on his uniform. And, when he assisted on the first two goals, there was no stopping the Flyers.
"What Dave did on the ice picked us up and got us going," said Lindsay Carson, who was in the penalty box when the Flyers struck for the short-handed goals. "I could just see the team get a lift when he set up the goal that made it 2-0."
Montreal 5, Quebec 3--The Canadiens, who spotted the Nordiques victories in the first two games of their best-of-seven series at Montreal, fell behind again in the finale at Montreal.
But Ryan Walter scored two goals, one of them when the Canadiens were short-handed, and the defending champions scored five times on eight shots in the second period to break it open.
Two of the goals came 18 seconds apart in the last half minute of the period.
John Ogrodnick's ninth playoff goal on a power play midway through the first period gave the Nordiques a 1-0 lead. They dominated the first 20 minutes and had 12 shots to 6 for the Canadiens.
But when Walter ruined their power-play attempt in the second period with the short-handed goal at 2:03, some of the fire went out of the Nordiques.