Here we are in December with little to do in this tough lockout time. What’s a blog to do? Well, it looks like a 12 Days of Christmas-themed series of posts is the way to go. But, we realize that all of you hockey fans aren’t into Christmas, so we’ve named it after the man nicknamed Orange Jesus and called it Claudemas.
On the sixth day of Claudemas, Flyers Faithful gave to me…six natural hat tricks by the great Tim Kerr!
Who’s the greatest goal scorer in Flyers history?
Numbers will tell you it’s Bill Barber, who still holds the team record for a career with 420, but he had a reputation for shall we say “imperfect” balance. Others may say John LeClair, a three-time 50-goal man who could blast away from 50 feet as well as he could muscle in on top of the goaltender in his crease.
For my money, it’s Tim Kerr, who finished his 11 years here with 363 red lights including a franchise-record four straight 50-goal campaigns. He did it all and took it all, parking himself in the jungle of the NHL rink, the slot, and dishing out as much punishment to opposing goaltenders and defensemen as he received.
Kerr ripped off a club-record 20 trifectas in Philadelphia, and everyone knows about his record-setting performance in the second period of a deciding Game 3 in the 1985 Patrick Division Semifinals at Madison Square Garden, scoring four times in a span of 8:16. Today’s Claudemas concentrates on his six “unknown” natural hat tricks — occasions where he scored at least three times in a row without interruption from the other team and didn’t set an NHL record.
#1. October 25, 1984: Flyers 7, Blues 2 at the Spectrum – On a night when Lauren Hart graced the Spectrum crowd with her first arena rendition of the National Anthem, Kerr notched the first of his four four-goal games in 1984-85. He scored once in the first period, then three in a row — the hosts’ fifth, sixth and seventh tallies of the night — to wear out the red light behind Mike Liut.
#2: January 17, 1985: Flyers 7, Red Wings 5 at the Spectrum – Kerr was at it again, posting his second four-goal effort of the year, and Philly needed every single one of them. He scored each of the Orange and Black’s first three goals, then added his final tally to put the hosts up 5-2 late in the second period.
#3: February 9, 1985: Flyers 5, Washington 4 at Capital Centre – The victory which kicked off a 24-4-0 end to this memorable season wouldn’t have happened without Kerr’s intervention. The hulking winger scored the first four goals for the visitors this Saturday evening in Landover, including three straight to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead late in the second period.
#4: November 9, 1985: Flyers 5, Bruins 3 at the Spectrum – On the night before Pelle died, Kerr torched former teammate and Boston starter Pete Peeters for three consecutive strikes, turning a 2-2 game into a 5-2 Philadelphia lead late in regulation. The trifecta pushed Kerr into the NHL lead with 16 goals in only 14 games and the Orange and Black won their 10th straight game, improving to 12-2-0.
#5: November 20, 1986: Flyers 5, Blackhawks 1 at the Spectrum – Kerr was set to walk down the aisle for the first time, and treated a sellout crowd of 17,222 to his own personal pre-Bachelor Party party with another four-goal effort. He scored late in the first to tie the game, picked up the lone goal in the second period on a power play, then added two more strikes before the three-minute mark of the third period and Chicago’s fate was sealed.
#6: April 19, 1989: Flyers 4, Penguins 2 — Game 2 Patrick Division Finals at Pittsburgh Civic Arena.– The Flyers had blown a 3-1 lead and lost Game 1 on the road, but Kerr wouldn’t allow such nonsense to continue two nights later. Tom Barrasso was the victim in just under 12 minutes of the first period thanks to two power-play scores and one at even strength, and was eventually pulled at intermission down 3-1. Pittsburgh got within a goal in the second, but had nothing left in the tank. Series even.