Rick MacLeish, the smooth-skating centerman with a potent wrist shot whose goal lifted the Flyers to their first Stanley Cup, has died.
MacLeish was 66.
The center from Lindsay, Ontario, had been hospitalized in Philadelphia since mid-May while suffering from multiple medical issues, according to his daughter Brianna.
MacLeish was the Flyers’ first 50-goal scorer and second 100-point player behind Bobby Clarke, with both milestones achieved in 1972-73. A three-time NHL All-Star, he won two Cups with the Flyers.
He will forever be known for his power-play-tip goal in front of Boston goalie Gilles Gilbert in the first period of Game 6 of the 1974 Cup Final. Bernie Parent made the goal stand the remainder of the game.
MacLeish played 16 seasons, including 12 as a Flyer. He was an integral member of the Flyers’ 1974 and 1975 Cup squads.
MacLeish's 697 points are second only to Clarke (1,210) in club history among centers, and he ranks fourth in all-time points (697), fifth in assists (369) and sixth in goal-scoring (328).
His 741 games in orange and black are tied for sixth overall, and his 12 hat tricks are second only to Tim Kerr (17). MacLeish scored 54 goals with 53 assists (107 points) in 114 playoff games.
After leaving the Flyers, he also played in Pittsburgh, Hartford and Detroit, amassing 759 career points in 846 games.
Drafted fourth overall by Boston in 1970, MacLeish became a Flyer as part of three-team trade involving the Bruins and Toronto that same year.
Known for his effortless motion and blazing speed on the ice, MacLeish had a reputation as an unmotivated player early in his career until his breakout season in 1972-73.
“You can’t motivate someone who doesn’t want to play, and the Flyers didn’t keep you if you weren’t committed to winning,” teammate Gary Dornhoefer once said.
“It might have taken MacLeish a few years to mature as a hockey player, but he earned his keep as a member of the team.”
MacLeish was the Flyers’ first legitimate sniper, often wristing his deadly shot from the circles.
During the 1974 playoffs, he led the Flyers in both goals (13) and points (22) and finished second to Parent in the Conn Smythe Trophy voting for playoff MVP.
After his retirement, MacLeish dabbled in owning race horses and worked with the Flyers' alumni.
Among his last major public appearances with Cup teammates in Philadelphia was at the closing of the Spectrum party on Jan. 16, 2010, hosted by Flyers chairman Ed Snider, who died in April.
PITTSBURGH -- Nick Bonino looks the part. Thatchy beard that juts out well below his chinstrap. Nose a bit askew. The rugged forward has etched out a career making a living in tight spaces, putting his body in places on the ice that aren't for the meek.
Those instincts, honed from years of finding order in the middle of chaos, lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to the early lead in the Stanley Cup Final.
Bonino darted to the net and knocked in Kris Letang's centering pass with 2:33 remaining, lifting the Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 on Monday night.
Pittsburgh recovered after blowing an early two-goal lead and spoiled San Jose's long-awaited debut on the league's biggest stage. Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.
Letang and Carl Hagelin took turns digging the puck out of the corner behind the San Jose net when Letang emerged with it and slipped it to Bonino, who collected himself and flicked it past Martin Jones' blocker for his fourth goal of the playoffs.
"Tanger put it right on my stick," Bonino said. "It was a shot that wasn't my hardest shot by any means but I kind of found a way to flip it over him."
Bonino has spent much of the last two months as the heady, understated center on Pittsburgh's hottest line while playing between hard-shooting Phil Kessel and Hagelin. Dubbed "HBK" -- a chant that occasionally greets them when they flip over the boards and onto the ice -- they have powered the Penguins to their first Cup Final in seven years. Yet it was Bonino, whose hockey IQ is considered his greatest attribute by Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan, who scored the group's biggest goal of the postseason.
"He does all the things right and found himself in a great position and capitalized on it," Pittsburgh forward Chris Kunitz said. "Any time you're in the slot, get him the puck. It seems like we find a way to win when he scores."
Rookies Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary also scored for the Penguins, though Rust left in the third period after absorbing a shot to the head from San Jose's Patrick Marleau. Matt Murray -- who like Rust and Sheary spent a significant amount of time this season with the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton -- finished with 24 saves.
Jones made 38 stops but couldn't get over in time on Bonino's knuckler. The Penguins threw 41 shots at Jones, the most he has faced in a regulation game during the playoffs. Marleau and Tomas Hertl scored during San Jose's dominant second period, but the Sharks spent a large portion of the third period on their heels and their dynamic power play failed to record a single shot when Ben Lovejoy went to the penalty box with 2:09 to play.
"They played their game for longer stretches than we did and that's what happens," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said.
The Sharks made it to the first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history by rebuilding themselves on the fly. Two years removed from a brutal collapse from a 3-0 series lead in the first round against Los Angeles, San Jose ended a 9,005 day wait to play in the NHL's championship round by relying on a tough, aggressive style that squeezes opponents with a relentless forecheck while limiting chances in front of Jones.
Yet veterans Marleau and Joe Thornton -- the top two picks in the 1997 draft held in Pittsburgh who had waited nearly two decades to make it to the league's biggest stage -- insisted the Sharks were hardly satisfied after dispatching St. Louis in a cathartic Western Conference finals.
Maybe, but the Sharks looked a step slow -- maybe two steps slow -- while searching for their footing early on against the Penguins, who rallied from a 3-2 deficit to edge Tampa Bay in seven games to advance to their first Cup Final since 2009.
Rust, who surprisingly made the team out of training camp and became an unlikely playoff star by scoring both of Pittsburgh's goals in Game 7 against the Lightning, gave the Penguins the lead 12:46 into the first when he slammed home a rebound off a Justin Schultz shot for his sixth of the postseason, a franchise record for playoff goals by a rookie.
Less than a minute later, Sheary, who didn't become a regular until the middle of January, made it 2-0 when Sidney Crosby whipped a blind backhand cross-ice pass to Sheary's stick. Sheary's wrist shot from the right circle zipped by Jones, and the Penguins appeared to be in complete command by overwhelming the Sharks in a way few have in months.
Maybe it was the Penguins. Maybe it was jitters.
"You try to keep everything normal but you've been dreaming about it for a while," San Jose defenseman Brent Burns said. "Now we know what we're in for and we'll be better."
San Jose regained its composure during the first intermission and responded with a big surge. Hertl jammed a power-play shot from just outside the crease between Murray's legs 3:02 into the second to give the Sharks momentum. Late in the second, Marleau collected a rebound off a Burns one-timer behind the Pittsburgh net and then beat Murray on a wraparound that caromed off Murray's extended right leg and into the net.
Yet Bonino, who arrived in an offseason trade with Vancouver, helped the Penguins improve to 9-3 at home all-time in the Cup Final by sliding to a familiar spot in search of a familiar result.
San Jose went 1 for 2 on the power play. The Penguins were 0 for 3. ... The Sharks are 5-1 following a loss during the postseason.
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry knocked down yet another 3-pointer in the waning moments, pulled his jersey up into his mouth and yelled to the rafters in triumph once more.
A special, record-setting season saved for the defending champs, with a memorable comeback added to the long list of accomplishments.
Splash Brothers Curry and Klay Thompson carried the 73-win Warriors right back to the NBA Finals, as Golden State rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 96-88 on Monday night in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.
Now, Curry and Co. are playing for another NBA title -- just as they planned since Day 1 of training camp in September.
Bring on LeBron James again.
"You appreciate how tough it is to get back here," Curry said. "You've got to be appreciative of this accomplishment, and look forward to getting four more wins."
The MVP scored 36 points with seven 3-pointers to finish with an NBA-record 32 in a seven-game series, and also had eight assists. Thompson added 21 points and six 3s, two days after his record 11 3-pointers led a Game 6 comeback that sent the series home to raucous Oracle Arena for one more.
The Warriors became the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit and win a postseason series. They return to the NBA Finals for a rematch with James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who lost the 2015 title in six games as Golden State captured its first championship in 40 years.
Game 1 is Thursday night in Oakland.
"We survived by the skin of our teeth," coach Steve Kerr said. "We were able to pull it out, and we're moving on."
His signature mouthpiece dangling out and the game ball cradled in his left hand, Curry pumped his right arm as yellow confetti fell through Oracle Arena once the final buzzer sounded.
With the Thunder trailing 90-86, Serge Ibaka fouled Curry on a 3-point try with 1:18 to go and the shot clock running out. Curry made all three free throws, then that 3-pointer to seal it.
"This is who he is. Having a clutch performance in a Game 7, that's Steph Curry," Kerr said.
And Golden State's beloved "Strength In Numbers" catchphrase coined by Coach of the Year Kerr was needed in every way.
"No one ever had any doubt that we could get this done," Draymond Green said. "People have seen teams down 3-1 before but they ain't seen many. They've definitely never seen a 73-win team down 3-1."
Andre Iguodala joined the starting lineup for just the second time all season and the 2015 NBA Finals MVP hung tough against Kevin Durant, who scored 27 points on 10-for-19 shooting. Shaun Livingston's breakaway, one-handed dunk late in the third provided a big lift off the Warriors bench.
Oklahoma City won Game 1 108-102 at deafening Oracle Arena, so Golden State never envisioned this one coming easily. Russell Westbrook had 19 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds for the Thunder.
"It hurts losing, especially being up 3 games to 1," Durant said.
It took a quarter and a half for Thompson to warm up after his 41-point performance in a 108-101 win Saturday at Oklahoma City that sent the series back to the East Bay.
He missed his initial seven shots before hitting a 3 6:02 before halftime, energizing the Warriors in their first Game 7 at home in 40 years.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Thompson and Iguodala pulled the Warriors within 54-51 with 7:57 left in the third. They tied it on Curry's 3 at 7:21 and he followed with another 3 to give his team the lead.
Curry and Thompson each topped the previous record for 3s in a seven-game series, 28 by Dennis Scott and Ray Allen. Curry hit one over 7-foot Steven Adams in the third, and Thompson wound up with 30 3s.
Iguodala replaced Harrison Barnes in the starting lineup and what a move by Kerr, who did the same thing last year in crunch time. Iguodala made a pretty bounce pass through the paint to Green for Golden State's first basket, and his smothering defense on Durant kept the Thunder star without a shot until his 3 at the 5:45 mark in the first. Durant had just nine points on five shots in the first half.
But Oklahoma City dictated the tempo with snappy passes and the hard, aggressive rebounding that had been such a part of its success this season. The Thunder couldn't sustain it.
"They won a world championship last year, and they've broken an NBA record, and people are already talking about it before the playoffs started, this may be the greatest team to ever lace them up in the history of the NBA," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said.
The Warriors, who fell behind 35-22, lost their last Game 7 at home: 94-86 to Phoenix in the Western Conference finals on May 16, 1976.
Thunder: The Thunder's 12 third-quarter points were the fewest allowed by Golden State in a playoff third quarter during the shot clock era. ... Durant took nine shots in the first 33:25. ... Oklahoma City led by as many as 13 in the first half. ... Donovan celebrated his 51st birthday. ... The Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State's opponent the previous round, are the only teams to beat the Warriors twice this season.
Warriors: The Warriors are 4-4 all-time in Game 7s -- 3-1 at home. ... Iguodala earned his first since Jan. 2 against Denver. ... Golden State wasn't whistled for its first foul until 2:34 in the first. ... The Warriors' 42 first-half points were their fewest at home this season. ... Curry hit a 3 in his 51st straight playoff game.