To celebrate the fact that the Penguins will open up the new CONSOL Energy Center on Thursday by welcoming the Flyers, I’ve decided to dip into the history machine again and pull out what I think are the five best and worst games the club has played in new arenas. Today’s post will feature the best game. The worst games will be published tomorrow.
1. February 3, 1996 – Flyers 7, Blues 3 @ Kiel Center
The bad news was that feared sniper Brett Hull scored the first and last goals of the game. The good news was how Philly potted seven of the middle eight tallies to win in a rout.
Since the teams didn’t play each other due to the lockout in 1995 and the inter-conference schedule thereafter, this was the Flyers’ first chance to play in the Blues’ new arena, opened in January of ’95 after the Arena outlived its use.
Eric Lindros introduced himself to Missouri’s newest venue with a hat trick and four points, John LeClair added two assists, and even Joel Otto hit the scoresheet with two goals and one successful fight. Ron Hextall stopped 31- of-34 shots, while Pat Falloon and Craig MacTavish also had scores.
2. February 10, 1996 – Flyers 6, Bruins 2 @ Fleet Center
The Garden, a regular house of horrors for any Philly hockey club since 1967, was gone in favor of its next-door neighbor and the orange and black took advantage.
Falloon lit the lamp twice, Lindros contributed a goal and three assists, Dan Quinn and LeClair posted two helpers each with Garth Snow making 27 saves.
Former Flyer Rick Tocchet, recently aquired from LA, scored for Boston.
3. November 7, 1996 – Flyers 5, Sabres 2 @ Marine Midland Arena
The Flyers departed the venerable Aud the previous year with an interesting overtime win, and came into Buffalo’s new digs without Lindros.
No matter, as four third-period goals (two from LeClair, one each from Mikael Renberg and Daniel Lacroix) sealed the victory. Philadelphia outshot the Sabres 38-15 but Dominik Hasek was hot for the first 40 minutes before wilting late.
4. November 6, 1999 – Flyers 5, Kings 3 @ Staples Center
Los Angeles won the previous year’s game with the Flyers at the old Forum in Inglewood with a three-goal rally in the final three minutes, punctuated when Jozef Stumpel beat Hextall from the blue line with one second to go.
The first game in the new downtown arena went better for the Orange and Black as Eric Desjardins broke a 2-2 tie early in the second and LeClair tallied early in the third to back 15 saves by John Vanbiesbrouck.
5. November 29, 1983 – Flyers 8, Flames 5 @ Saddledome
The Flames played their first three seasons at the tiny Corral before opening the massive Saddledome in 1983. It was a scorching goalfest which saw Brian Propp and Tim Kerr score twice, Rich and Ron Sutter score once each and Pelle Lindbergh withstand a 36-shot barrage. After this, the Flyers would only win once there until 1990.