Welcome to the next installment of the second series of “This Week in Flyers History,” which aims to dredge up old memories, good and bad, of Flyers feats in the recent to distant past and to provide good fodder for trivia buffs.
As it was during the second half of last season, we’ll be here every Sunday through what would have been the first part of this season, choc full of facts, figures, names and dates you need to know to gain that true depth as a Flyers fan.
Reminder: this series will conclude as of December 31. On to bigger and better things.
December 9, 1973: Bruins 3, Flyers 3 – The final non-victory in a 13-game home winless streak against the Big Bad Bostonians saw Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito score within 50 seconds in the last two minutes of regulation to pull out the deadlock. Philly hadn’t beaten the 1970 and ’72 Cup winners at home since December 13, 1969.
December 9, 1978: Flyers 9, Bruins 2 – Rick MacLeish racks up yet another hat trick, beating Gilles Gilbert twice and Gerry Cheevers once in this Spectrum romp. Clarke added two goals with additional strikes from Blake Dunlop, Bill Barber, Bob Kelly and Bob Dailey.
December 9, 1986: Flyers 6, Canucks 3 – Making his first start since October 23, a disgruntled Bob Froese improves to 3-0-0 by stopping 28 shots as a listless host club plays just well enough to overcome a second-class Vancouver team at the Spectrum. Before the game, team president Jay Snider consoles Froese, who lost the starting job to rookie Ron Hextall, telling the Ontario native to “play for himself,” and for the knowledge a trade is imminent.
December 9, 1989: Flyers 6, Nordiques 6 – On a Saturday afternoon at Le Colisee, the visitors blow leads of 3-0, 5-3 and 6-4, allowing Quebec to force overtime with a pair of goals in the final 23 seconds, starting with a Joe Sakic penalty shot:
December 9, 1999: Flyers 4, Maple Leafs 2 – Eric Lindros clocks in with his 12th career hat trick in a home victory, scoring twice in the first period and adding an insurance goal with 1:06 left in regulation. The back end of this home-and-home with Toronto would be more interesting.
December 10, 1988: Flyers 6, Blackhawks 4 – After almost five seasons as a dependable third-line forward, Derrick Smith has his day in the sun in a Spectrum matinee. He records his first career hat trick, two goals of which came in a five-goal second period, and added the insurance tally with 1:34 left in the third period.
December 10, 1998: Devils 5, Flyers 4 — Not all was well in the kingdom after the hosts wasted a 4-1 advantage. Lindros tallied twice, John LeClair and Petr Svoboda each once for the three-goal spread less than 21 minutes into the contest. Dave Andreychuk finishes off the New Jersey rally, with Doc Emrick on the emotional call:
December 10, 2000: Flyers 5, Islanders 2 – Keith Primeau scores twice and Mark Recchi adds two assists to back 16 saves from Roman Cechmanek to give Bill Barber a win in his NHL head coaching debut.
December 10, 2005: Flyers 3, Wild 2 – Branko Radivojevic nets the game winner at 19:07 of the third period to let Philly steal this one from the still defensive-minded Minnesotans.
December 11, 1977: Flyers 11, Barons 1 – Tom Bladon’s finest offensive moment in
Orange and Black was also an NHL record-setter.
The fifth-year defenseman notched an incredible eight points on four goals and four assists in this Spectrum demolition of the second-year Ohio franchise which tied the club record for largest margin of victory either home or away. It is a record that has only been tied, the last time by Edmonton Oilers defenseman Paul Coffey in 1986.
December 11, 1982: Whalers 7, Flyers 4 – In the first-ever meeting between two teams who sported Cooperalls, Hartford rallies from an early deficit at the Civic Center to steal one from Philadelphia — its first-ever win of any kind against the former Broad Street Bullies after beginning their NHL tenure 0-3-2. Highlights courtesy of a very young Bill Patrick:
December 11, 1999: Maple Leafs 6, Flyers 4 – The visitors showed a lot of pluck at Air Canada Centre, rallying from a 5-2 deficit to make things interesting. Of particular interest was an all-out war (including goaltenders) between the teams in the second with Toronto holding a three-goal edge. Included early on is Tie Domi’s infamous third-man in punches to Adam Burt and his cowardice when faced with his Philly equals:
Lindros hurt his hand so badly in his scrap that he missed the next two games to heal, while Domi cemented his status as an all-time heel, never hearing the end of it from Philadelphia fans until his retirement.
December 11, 2007: Flyers 8, Penguins 2 – In one fell swoop, Philly got revenge for Pittsburgh’s season sweep the previous year. Joffrey Lupul and R.J. Umberger recorded hat tricks — the last time the double was achieved in franchise history — while Lupul recorded a career-high six points in the rout. Mike Richards added three helpers and Martin Biron had some tough ones in a 20-save effort:
December 11, 2008: Flyers 6, Hurricanes 5 (SO) – Down 5-1 late in the second period thanks to some questionable officiating, the hosts storm back to tie in the third on two goals from Scott Hartnell and one each from Scottie Upshall and Gagne. Gagne was also credited with the SO winner and Antero Niittymaki stopped both Carolina chances.
December 12, 1996: Flyers 3, Whalers 2 – After giving up a goal to Paul Ranheim with 2 1/2 minutes left in the second period, Hextall holds Hartford scoreless for the final 22:30 of regulation to kick off a team-record shutout streak.
December 12, 1998: In a complete reversal of the original Chris Gratton move, Bob Clarke sends Gratton and Mike Sillinger to Tampa Bay in exchange for Mikael Renberg and Daymond Langkow. The effects are immediate, as John Vanbiesbrouck stops 23 Toronto shots as the Flyers take a 3-0 decision in their last-ever game at Maple Leaf Gardens. The win also kicks off a 15-game unbeaten streak.
December 13, 1979: Flyers 6, Nordiques 4 – Despite trailing 3-1 after Quebec scored twice in the first eight minutes of the third period, “The Streak” continued thanks to a miraculous burst of offense. Bill Barber scored twice, Dennis Ververgaert, Leach and Al Hill once at the hosts pulled out another close one.
December 13, 1987: Flyers 4, Jets 3 – Murray Craven scores a two-man disadvantage, short-handed goal with 5:34 remaining in the third, snapping a tie and sending Philly to a shocking win at Winnipeg Arena. The surprise strike is the club’s first 3-on-5 goal since Dave Poulin’s marker in Game 6 of the 1985 Wales Conference Finals vs. Quebec. Kerry Huffman also netted his first NHL goal early in the second period.
December 14, 1991: Blackhawks 1, Flyers 1 – Rookie goaltender Dominic Roussel made a then-career-high 41 saves to preserve a Spectrum tie with Chicago.
December 14, 1996: Flyers 4, Whalers 0 – Garth Snow notched his first career shutout at Hartford Civic Center, stopping 21 pucks, and extending Philadelphia’s shutout streak to 82 minutes, 30 seconds. Rod Brind’Amour scored twice, Lindros and LeClair once apiece.
December 15, 1983: Flyers 9, Capitals 4 – The Orange and Black set an NHL record by tallying three short-handed goals in a six-goal second period. Mark Howe, Miroslav Dvorak and Ilkka Sinisalo light the lamp while a man down in a stanza which left the hosts up 9-2 after leading by one after 20 minutes of play.
December 15, 1996: Flyers 6, Bruins 0 – Hextall gets the laurel one night after Snow, making 28 saves, and six different players tally to cap this home rout of Boston. The shutout streak was extended to 142 minutes, 30 seconds. The new building on Pattison was abuzz before the game, with the knowledge that Paul Coffey had been acquired from the Whalers for Kevin Haller and two draft picks prior to puck drop.
December 15, 2007: Hurricanes 6, Flyers 5 (SO) – Lupul nets a hat trick, his second in three games, including the tying score just after the midway point of the final period. However, Carolina gets the last laugh in the breakaway competition.