Denis Savard played 13 seasons for the Blackhawks. (Glenn Cratty/Allsport)
We’re going back to the future by examining this season’s Stanley Cup finalists’ franchise leaders in playoff scoring.
Much has been made of Jonathan Toews’ rise to prominence this year – top forward at the Olympics, driving the favored team as the post-season’s leading scorer – but he only just cracks the top five here.
The criteria for our list this week was simple: Players had to be Hawks or Flyers and could only appear once (sorry, Mr. Propp). A number of big-time heroes didn’t make the cut here, including Bobby Clarke, Stan Mikita, Jeremy Roenick and Steve Larmer.
With a nod to the Windy City and the City of Brotherly Love, we present the Top 10 single-season Hawks and Flyers playoff scorers.
10. Rick MacLeish, 1973-74 Flyers, 22 points
In 1961-62, MacLeish scored 270 goals and THN named him the best peewee player in Ontario. He was a 50-goal, 100-point player in the NHL in ’72-73. In ’74 he led the post-season in points and scored the Cup-winner.
9. Dennis Hull, ’72-73 Hawks, 24 points
The younger, less famous of the two Hull brothers, Dennis was still a force during his 12-plus seasons with Chicago. He scored 20 or more goals seven times and finished with 303 for his career. His 24 points in 1973 were second behind Montreal’s Yvon Cournoyer.
8. Reggie Leach, ’75-76 Flyers, 24 points
‘The Rifle’ was the third Flyer in a row to lead the playoffs in scoring after MacLeish turned the trick twice. Leach’s league-leading total came courtesy of 19 goals, a playoff record matched by Edmonton’s Jari Kurri nine year’s later, but never surpassed.
7. Bobby Hull, ’70-71 Hawks, 25 points
‘The Golden Jet’ played fast and furious in 1971, finishing second in goals and points to Montreal’s Frank Mahovlich. The Hawks came oh so close to the Cup that year, losing to the Habs in seven games. Two years later, Hull again had 25 playoff points – for the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets.
6. Tim Kerr, ’88-89 Flyers, 25 points
After a 48-goal regular season, Kerr, known to some as the ‘Sultan of Slot,’ takes sixth over Hull thanks to his 14 goals, a league-leading eight of which came on the power play. Kerr finished second in scoring that year to Calgary blueliner Al MacInnis.
5. Jonathan Toews, 2009-10 Hawks, 26 points
Considering the names surrounding him, it’s no wonder Toews is garnering so much attention this spring. ‘Captain Serious’ is the only active player to make this list and, if he keeps his 1.6 points-per-game pace going, will top it by the time the Cup final is finished and easily lead the 2010 playoffs in scoring.
4. Eric Lindros, ’96-97 Flyers, 26 points
Philadelphia’s most recent Cup final appearance prior to this season was led by the ‘Big E,’ who also led the post-season in scoring. The Flyers were swept by Detroit, but the 24-year-old Lindros showed just how much of a force he could be. Too bad it was all cut short by a string of injuries.
3. Per-Erik Eklund, ’86-87 Flyers, 27 points
Who!? You may know him better as ‘Pelle’ Eklund – or you may not know him at all. A Swedish national team star, Eklund played nine seasons with the Flyers before returning to the Swedish Elite League. In ’87 he helped Philly to the Cup final and a seven-game loss to Edmonton.
2. Brian Propp, ’86-87 Flyers, 28 points
Propp is one of those guys who just oozed Flyer. He played 10-and-a-half seasons in Philly and returned to the team as a broadcaster once his playing career was over. Propp tied for second behind Wayne Gretzky in playoff scoring in 1987 and tied for the lead with Kerr in power play tallies with five.
1. Denis Savard, ’84-85 Hawks, 29 points
The man Toews is chasing this spring used his ‘Savardian Spin’ to elude defenders 25 years ago and lead all playoff scorers who didn’t play for the Oilers. Among the league leaders, only Gretzky and Paul Coffey averaged more points per game than Savard’s 1.9 in ’85, as he led his Hawks to the conference final against the Oilers. In six games the teams scored 69 goals – the most all-time in a single series. Edmonton won 4-2.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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