Mikita and Orr met one more time in the final seconds of the game. Orr had the puck and was skating out of the Boston end. He faked Mikita to one side, but as Mikita skated away he slashed at Orr's legs five-iron style with his stick. Orr, incensed, stopped, turned, glared at Mikita and shot the puck at his legs. Said Pit Martin, Mikita's teammate, " Orr gets away with things like that because he's Orr."
Cherry was irate over the performance of the Bruins. "Imagine that," he said. "One guy—and only one—fought back all night. I'll tell you something, that will never happen again around here."
For the Black Hawks it was the first victory after upset losses to Detroit and Atlanta, and as they flew off to Washington, Coach Billy Reay was enthusiastic. "We've got the bad games out of our system now," he said. Not quite. Unbelievably, the Hawks lost to the Capitals 4-3—Washington's first victory in the NHL. "Maybe these guys will listen to me now when I tell them you can't take anything for granted these days," Reay said.
At the same time, in another reversal of form, the Bruins were beating the Stanley Cup champion Flyers in Philadelphia, 4-1. This was the first meeting of the cup finalists, but the game resembled an intrasquad scrimmage of some Squirt League club. Last season the Flyers had attacked Orr from both sides, tied Phil Esposito in knots and stick-whipped the Bruins in the corners, but this time they forgot their game plan. "What happened was that we stole Philadelphia's films of the Russians," said Boston's managing director, Harry Sinden, smirking. Philadelphia Coach Fred Shero had said the Flyers won the cup partly because they adopted the Soviet checking patterns for their treatment of Orr and friends. Whatever they did last week was for immature audiences only.
Bobby Clarke slumped on a bench in Philly's dressing room and wondered what was wrong. The Flyers had lost their opening game at home to Los Angeles and they had been "damn lucky," he said, to beat the Kansas City Scouts in their third game. "Complacency?" said Clarke. "That's got to be one thing wrong with us, sure. We've always worked for what we wanted; now we don't seem to be working." Another new problem is that the Flyers now are Numero Uno. "We are finding out that other clubs point to beat the best," Clarke said. "It used to be that we wanted to beat some club to prove something. Now it's the other way around."
He studied the statistics of the game. Esposito had taken nine shots at Bernie Parent, scoring on two of them. "Nine shots!" Clarke said, shaking his head and sniffing. "Nine shots!" What Clarke did not say was that he had played head-to-head against Esposito most of the game and, while Clarke owned the face-off circle, Esposito owned the slot. Despite the victory, the Bruins were hardly cocky. "Something still is missing," Esposito said. "We're not right mentally or physically. Not yet." But the NHL's schedule may cure that. The Bruins do not play Chicago or Philadelphia again for almost three months. Maybe by then Orr will want a few tickets.