January 11, 1976 was the conclusion of the Super Series tour by Red Army and Soviet Wings. The vaunted Soviet Red Army had beaten New York Rangers, Boston Bruins and tied Montreal Canadiens. It was up to the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions Philadelphia Flyers to restore the good name of the NHL and Canadian hockey in gerneral.
Of course, what unfolded has been well documented many times with the Flyers soundly beating Soviets by a score of 4-1. At the eleven minute mark of the first period with the score 0-0, Red Army coach Konstantin Loktev yanked his team off the ice in dispute of some rather violent play by the Flyers. The actions of the Soviets prompted play-by-play man Bob Cole to repeat, "They're going home!" The final straw was a hit by Ed Van Impe on Valeri Kharlamov that was not called a penalty and in today's game would have warranted a five game suspension. Check out the clip below. It's hard to tell, but it sure looks like a straight-arm right to the head of the Russian star.
After a 16 minute delay and much pleading from Clarence Campbell and Alan Eagleson, the Soviets returned to the ice. 17 seconds after the resumption of play, Reggie Leach scored on a powerplay, the Soviets having been penalized for delay of game for their little stunt. Rick MacLeish scored late in the period as Philly outshot the Red Army 17-2. If not for the play of Vladislav Tretiak in net the Flyers would have scored double digits as the final shot count was 49-13.
Flyer coach Fred Shero explained how the Flyers won, "They do a lot of unnecessary skating. They do a lot of retreating, hoping to get one man to leave his position. But we wouldn't be enticed out of positon. It takes patience to beat them." He also instructed his forwards to hold the puck as much as possible in the Russian end, which they did , even if it meant not shooting. "I told them to hold the puck for a faceoff if they didn't have a good shot. They're not very good at faceoffs anyway".
The New York Times was colourful in their description of the proceedings, "The triumph of terror over style could not have been more one-sided if Al Capone's mob had ambushed the Bolshoi Ballet dancers. Naturally, it warmed the hearts of the Flyers' followers, who would cheer for Frankenstein if he could skate." The Soviet papers did not hold back with their feelings as evidenced by the cartoon (seen below) published in Pravda the following day.
Milt Dunnell of the Toronto Star wrote, "Loktev knew the conditions before he came. Nobody loves playing in Philadelphia. Once he accepted a game with the Flyers, under NHL rules, with an NHL referee, he was in the same boat as the Toronto Maple Leafs or Vancouver Canucks when they come to town." The Montreal Gazette summed it up in a headline alone,"Flyers Salvage Canada's Pride."