The Flyers started the decade by amassing the longest unbeaten streak in North American professional sports, by going 35 straight games without a loss, a record that still stands today. That team, coached by Pat Quinn, went on to reach the Stanley Cup Finals, the fourth time in seven seasons, but lost a controversial championship series to the New York Islanders.
The core of that Flyers team, which reach those four championships, grew older over the first part of the decade, and the team decided to go in a new direction by 1984. Clarke retired and became general manager and constructed a team of young talent – the youngest in the NHL at the time – and the Flyers dominated the Wales Conference, returning to the Finals for a fifth time in 1985 under the guidance of rookie coach Mike Keenan. Led by Vezina-winning goalie Pelle Lindbergh, the Flyers lost to the Edmonton Oilers in the Finals.
Later that year, Lindbergh was killed in a car accident, and the Flyers ran out of emotional will in the first round of the playoffs. They were re-energized in 1986-87 when rookie goalie Ron Hextall rose to prominence. Led by an offense rife with talent such as Tim Kerr, Rick Tocchet and Brian Propp , the Flyers again reached the Finals in 1987, only to lose to the Oilers in a seven-game series that many have argued was the greatest Stanley Cup Final in NHL history. Hextall won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
Like the decade before, the Flyers made a couple more postseason appearances before the 80s expired, but the team needed an overhaul before the next great era in franchise history commenced.