Welcome to the second-to-last 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 16, 1967: Flyers 1, Blues 0 – Bernie Parent began a brilliant career as a difference-maker in net by making 25 saves — his first Philadelphia whitewash — in this road win against a fellow expansion club.
December 16, 1972: Flyers 2, Islanders 1 – The first trip to Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale was a successful one for Fred Shero’s club. Bobby Clarke and Bob Kelly tallied in the second period and Michel Belhumeur stopped 18 New York shots.
December 16, 1995: Flyers 4, Canadiens 2 – The final visit to the venerable Montreal Forum turns out well for the visitors. Rod Brind’Amour scores twice, Shjon Podein and Eric Lindros add unassisted goals and Ron Hextall makes 23 saves. Philly ends its journeys to the corner of Ste-Catherine and Atwater with an overwhelming losing record, yet finished 8-2-3 at the Forum in the regular season since 1989.
December 16, 2003: Clarke acquires forward Mike Comrie from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Jeff Woywitka and draft picks which would become Robbie Schremp and Danny “Mr. Suitcase” Syvret.
December 16, 2006: Paul Holmgren acquires aging blueliner Alexei Zhitnik from the New York Islanders for Freddy Meyer and a conditional third-round pick in 2007.
December 17, 1988: Flyers 7, Maple Leafs 1 – Rick Tocchet rips Toronto goaltenders Allan Bester and Jeff Reese for another hat trick, while Doug Sulliman, Scott Mellanby, Tim Kerr and Dave Poulin add tallies in this road rout.
December 17, 1995: Flyers 6, Penguins 5 – Chris Therien records the first multi-goal effort of his young career, and Brind’Amour nets the winner at 17:48 of the third period in this Spectrum victory that saw both teams combine for 87 shots (49 by the Flyers).
December 17, 2011: Bruins 6, Flyers 0 – Tim Thomas blanks the hosts with 31 saves as Boston posts its largest margin of victory in Philadelphia since a 7-1 drubbing in December of 1992. This game stands as the worst shutout defeat the Orange and Black have suffered to the B’s in 45 years of hockey.
December 18, 1980: Flyers 2, Rockies 0 – Rick St. Croix picks up his first career shutout thanks to a 22-save performance in this Spectrum whitewash. Behn Wilson and Rick MacLeish scored in the second period.
December 18, 1983: Red Wings 3, Flyers 3 – Rookie center Steve Yzerman steals a point from Philadelphia, beating Pelle Lindbergh with one second remaining in regulation.
December 18, 1986: Flyers 9, Islanders 4 — Poulin and Kerr combine for a rare feat (though not so much in the 80s) of posting double hat tricks in this victory one week before Christmas. Poulin, Mark Howe and Brad McCrimmon finished with a game-high plus-5 rating and Billy Smith was chased after allowing six goals on 15 shots through 25-plus minutes.
Prior to the game, the club was shaken up with the trade of 1985-86 Vezina runner-up and Jennings Trophy co-winner Bob Froese to the Rangers for 6-foot-6 defenseman Kjell Samuelsson.
December 18, 1999: Flyers 4, Lightning 0 – Brian Boucher turned aside all 29 Tampa Bay shots to register his first NHL shutout. John LeClair scored twice, with Ulf Samuelsson and Marc Bureau netting their first goals of the season.
December 18, 2001: Flyers 6, Blues 3 – Mark Recchi scores his 400th career goal in this home victory, becoming the 65th player in league history to reach the milestone.
December 18, 2002: Flyers 3, Thrashers 1 – Defenseman Eric Desjardins plays in his 1,000th NHL game at Philips Arena.
December 19, 1991: Flyers 6, Islanders 2 – Steve Duchesne records his first and only Philadelphia hat trick in a Spectrum win. Brind’Amour, Dan Kordic and Gord Murphy add scores in this rare Patrick Division victory.
December 19, 1995: Devils 5, Flyers 4 – In a game played at the Meadowlands through a snowstorm raging through the upper portions of the mid-Atlantic and New England, the visitors go up 2-0 with just 75 seconds played but can’t hold that lead, or 3-2 and 4-3 advantages. Bill Guerin gets the winner on a fluke shot just over two minutes into overtime, with some help from Therien.
December 19, 1996: Flyers 5, Islanders 0 – Paul Coffey suits up in Orange and Black for the first time, and helps the hosts continue their impressive shutout streak with a plus-3. Garth Snow stopped 24 shots and the Legion of Doom totaled seven points (4G, 3A) in the easy victory.
December 20, 1979: Penguins 1, Flyers 1 – If not for a disputed power-play goal from Behn Wilson that came with 4:08 left in regulation, “The Streak” would have ended before it matched an NHL record. But Wilson still maintains the puck deflected off his stick after hitting his skate on the way past Pittsburgh’s Greg Millen, and the 28th game without a loss tied the Montreal Canadiens’ run of two seasons prior.
December 20, 1992: Lightning 4, Flyers 1 – A disturbing trend continues as the Orange and Black fail to record any points in another first trip to an expansion team’s home ice. This time, Tampa Bay won at Expo Hall thanks to two goals from Brian Bradley and one each from Doug Crossman and Bureau.
December 20, 2008: Flyers 7, Capitals 1 – Despite being outshot 25-6 in the first period and 48-28 for the game, Scott Hartnell’s third-period hat trick and two second-period strikes from Carter propel the hosts to an unlikely Saturday afternoon home victory. Antero Niittymaki stopped 47 shots, including a whopping 12 from Alex Ovechkin.
December 21, 1980: Capitals 6, Flyers 0 – Washington’s string of misfortune in Philadelphia ends after more than six years and 12 games — all losses. Jean Pronovost scored twice, Dennis Maruk added a goal and one assist, while Mike Palmateer stopped all 44 shots he faced for the shutout, the Caps’ first here and last until January of 1989.
December 21, 1984: Penguins 4, Flyers 2 – In Philly’s second trip to Pittsburgh to see rookie center Mario Lemieux, the wheels come off late and the hosts post another victory thanks to some good luck and weird bounces. Here are all four Pens goals, but from the Channel 29 feed featuring Gene Hart and Bobby Taylor:
December 21, 1986: Flyers 7, Blues 6 – A flu-ridden goaltending corps of Hextall and Chico Resch allows six goals on only 28 St. Louis shots, turning leads of 1-0 and 3-1 into a 5-3 deficit after two periods. But Kerr finished off another hat trick, J.J. Daigneault, Pelle Eklund and Poulin beat Rick Wamsley in the third and the hosts pull out a memorable comeback on home ice.
December 21, 1996: Flyers 4, Blues 0 – Hextall makes 24 saves and his defense helps make history by pitching the fourth shutout in succession on this Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia. Trent Klatt, Joel Otto, Kjell Samuelsson and LeClair provide offense for a club which hadn’t allowed a goal in well over 250 minutes of game action.
December 21, 2000: Flyers 4, Sharks 3 – Rick Tocchet scored twice, including the winner late in the second period to send the home team over San Jose in an otherwise uninteresting game, except for the fact that this stands as the Flyers’ last home win against the Sharks, a span of six games over 12 years.
December 22, 1979: Flyers 5, Bruins 2 – Philadelphia sets a new NHL record by going unbeaten in its 29th consecutive game, doing so in Boston Garden, where the club had gone just 4-20-6 in the regular season since the 1967 expansion. The absence of game footage online for this momentous occasion is ridiculous, but here’s a little video blurb covering the whole thing:
December 22, 1983: Flyers 5, Devils 0 – For the first time since their relocation from Denver, the Flyers manage to keep New Jersey off the scoreboard. Ray Allison scored twice in the second period and Pelle Lindbergh stopped all 29 shots he faced at the Spectrum.
December 22, 1987: Flyers 6, Rangers 4 – Tocchet, Derrick Smith and Eklund scored in the first period to erase an early 2-0 deficit, Murray Craven and Mark Howe added goals in the second period, and Hextall made 30 saves to outduel former teammate Froese at Madison Square Garden. The win made it 12 in a row (10-0-2) without a loss and pulled the Flyers within one point of first place after being in fifth place less than a month prior.
December 22, 1996: Flyers 2, Blackhawks 2 – Sergei Krivokrasov scored at the 2:38 mark of the first period at United Center, ending Philly’s shutout string at a team-record 265 minutes and eight seconds. Lindros rescues the visitors from a fruitless evening by scoring twice in the second period to preserve a tie and the club’s unbeaten string, which was extended to 11 games (9-0-2).