Welcome to the final 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.
Thanks to all who followed this year-long journey but now we have to move on, dreaming up bigger and better things. We hope you’ve learned a lot and been entertained as well.
December 23, 1979: Flyers 4, Whalers 2 – “The Streak” rolls on, 30 games strong now, as Brian Propp scores two goals and the Philly defense limits Hartford to 16 shots on Pete Peeters in a Spectrum victory one day after setting a new NHL record.
December 23, 1984: Flyers 7, Capitals 4 – Locked in a battle for first place in the Patrick Division, Tim Kerr provides the winning margin with a hat trick. Murray Craven adds two goals, Ross Fitzpatrick nets his first of the year and Pelle Lindbergh makes 27 saves. In an unfortunate occurrence, defenseman Mike Stothers makes his NHL debut, but leaves the game after taking a shot square in the face.
December 23, 1986: Sabres 2, Flyers 1 — In his first game behind the bench for Buffalo, former Flyers assistant Ted Sator is credited with the win. Tom Barrasso made 29 saves, letting only a Scott Mellanby shot through. Sator, who just eight months prior led the Rangers to a playoff upset of Philly in the first round, had been fired by New York days earlier.
December 23, 1987: Flyers 5, North Stars 3 – The hosts finally reach first place in the Patrick, extending their unbeaten streak to 13 games (11-0-2) in the process. Mellanby, Rick Tocchet and Dave Poulin scored in the first period, Poulin added another marker in the second, and Ilkka Sinisalo produced a third-period insurance tally. Following the game, and following through on a promise he made at the start of the streak, team president Jay Snider jumped fully-clothed into the whirlpool in the dressing room.
December 23, 1990: Canadiens 4, Flyers 4 – Despite a 4-0 advantage in the first period, which included this penalty-shot goal from Craven, the hosts led Montreal back in the game and settle for a dispiriting tie.
December 23, 2005: Flyers 5, Penguins 4 – Peter Forsberg and Mike Knuble score within a 69-second span late in regulation to help the Orange and Black pull out a win at Mellon Arena.
December 23, 2008: Flyers 6, Senators 4 – Simon Gagne’s game-winner came with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third period and Mike Richards added an empty-netter on South Broad Street. Andreas Nodl netted his first goal of the season in the second period, while such luminaries as Josh Gratton, Randy Jones and Jon Kalinski added single assists.
December 26, 1979: Flyers 4, Whalers 4 – Despite Propp’s two tallies and a 4-2 lead in the third period, the Streak just barely reached 31 games. Mark Howe and Brian Hill scored within a three-minute span and Phil Myre received some good luck when Greg Carroll shot wide at an open net in the final minute.
December 26, 1987: Flyers 3, Capitals 2 – It’s 14 in a row without a loss for Mike Keenan’s kids at Capital Centre. Craven and Sinisalo beat Clint Malarchuk in the third, the latter’s tally the decider coming with 2:25 on the clock.
December 26, 1992: Flyers 5, Capitals 5 – Eric Lindros rescues his club from a worse fate by picking up the hat trick, his second career trifecta. Bill Dineen’s club wasted a 4-0 lead in the second period and trailed 5-4 late in regulation before Big E came through:
December 26, 2008: Blackhawks 5, Flyers 1 – A dubious record is tied at United Center in this blowout loss. Philadelphia manages just one shot in the second period against Chicago netminder Nikolai Khabibulin.
December 27, 1969: Canadiens 2, Flyers 2 – Simon Nolet scores on Hall-of-famer Rogie Vachon with 1:16 left in regulation in a Spectrum deadlock.
December 27, 1982: Flyers 8, Red Wings 4 – Bobby Clarke notches his fifth and final career hat trick to go with five points, Ray Allison added two goals and two assists and Propp posted three assists in this rout at Joe Louis Arena.
December 27, 1996: Flyers 6, Oilers 4 –John LeClair scored a pair of second-period goals, Paul Coffey added a goal and assist, and Garth Snow stopped 35 shots to end Philly’s 11-plus-year regular-season losing streak in Edmonton. It had been 13 games (0-11-2) since their last win at Northlands, on January 2, 1985.
December 28, 1979: Flyers 5, Jets 3 – In their first-ever trip to Winnipeg, the visitors extend their unbeaten string to 32 games. Behn Wilson, Bob Kelly and Reggie Leach score in the third period to hold off the hosts, backing a 32-save performance from Peeters.
December 28, 1984: Flyers 7, Canucks 4 – Lindsay Carson records his one and only NHL hat trick at Pacific Coliseum. Len hachborn gets his first of the season, Lindbergh made 36 saves and Philly unloaded 50 shots on Richard Brodeur.
December 28, 1995: After seeing his playing time steadily diminish to the point where he posted only two assists in 26 games, Kevin Dineen was dealt back to the Hartford Whalers for two 1997 draft picks. He departed the city after 88 goals and 176 points in 284 games which included a stint for one season (1993-94) as team captain.
December 28, 2005: Flyers 4, Thrashers 3 (OT) – Sami Kapanen is on his way to NHL history when he scores the game-winner at 13 seconds of the extra session at Philips Arena.
December 28, 2010: Canucks 6, Flyers 2 –Ryan Kesler scored twice and the Sedin Twins recorded four points, as Vancouver ended a 14-game home winless streak (0-10-4) against Philadelphia dating back to January of 1989. The Canucks ripped off 49 shots against the combined forces of Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky.
December 29, 1979: Flyers 3, Rockies 2 – The Streak continues with Game 33 in the books at McNichols Arena thanks to scores from Propp, MacLeish and Bob Dailey which staked the visitors to a 3-0 lead after two periods. Myre allowed scores to Rene Robert and Mike McEwen, but held on for the victory.
December 29, 1992: Flyers 10, Kings 2 – With Lindros on the sidelines due to a knee injury, Rod Brind’Amour led the parade of scoring with a hat trick and a career-high six points. This game, at the Forum in Inglewood against a Los Angeles team playing without Wayne Gretzky, marked the last time the Flyers hit double digits in any game home or road:
December 29, 1999: Flyers 3, Canucks 2 (OT) – Adam Burt sends the Flyers into the new Millennium with a victory, beating Snow for his first goals of the season at the 2:34 mark of the fourth period at GM Place.
December 29, 2001: Flyers 5, Avalanche 2 — LeClair, Jiri Dopita and Jeremy Roenick puncture Patrick Roy in the second period, bracing 31 saves from Roman Cechmanek, and the Flyers post their first-ever victory in Denver against the relocated Nordiques franchise. Philly had gone 0-2-4 since 1995 against the Avs, and hadn’t won in the Mile High City since Jan. 30, 1981 (7-4) when the Rockies played at McNichols.
December 29, 2005: Flyers 4, Hurricanes 3 (OT) — Kapanen lights the lamp at 1:27 of overtime in Raleigh. He becomes the only player in NHL history to score OT winners on back-to-back nights against two different teams on the road.
December 30, 1981: Oilers 7, Flyers 5 – At Northlands Coliseum, Wayne Gretzky scores five times to hit the 50-goal plateau faster than anyone in league history, in his and Edmonton’s 39th game of the season. Only Bill Barber stood between the 20-year-old and history, with Barber commenting later that he didn’t want to throw his stick and become an instant trivia question. Here are highlights of all 12 goals, including the record-setter, with Don Cherry as color commentator on CBC:
December 30, 1984: Flyers 3, Kings 2 – Pat Quinn coached here from 1979 to 1982, and his first head coaching job after being dumped was in Los Angeles. His first game facing the Flyers, at the Forum in Inglewood, didn’t turn out as planned, as Poulin’s marker at 1:39 of the third period was the winner.
December 30, 1987: Oilers 6, Flyers 0 – Edmonton made sure that Philly’s first trip back to Northern Alberta since Game 7 of the 1987 Finals was a painful one. Grant Fuhr stopped 23 shots, Gretzky picked up assists on all three first-period goals and added a late marker in the blowout which ended a 14-game unbeaten streak for the visitors.
December 30, 1989: Flyers 6, Kings 3 – One of the most unlikely players in team history showed some offensive flair in Los Angeles. Tony Horacek scored only nine goals in his career, and five in 1989-90. He got three of them in one night, beating Kelly Hrudey and Mario Gosselin for his only career hat trick.
December 30, 2007: Flyers 1, Panthers 0 – Niittymaki stopped all 38 Florida shots, including a first-period penalty shot from Radek Dvorak, to pick up a narrow win. Derian Hatcher provided all the offense needed with a second-period strike.
December 30, 2009: Flyers 6, Rangers 0 –The final tune-up before the 2010 Winter Classic saw the visitors tune up the Blueshirts at Madison Square Garden. Michael Leighton notched his first Philadelphia shutout with 22 saves and Gagne scored twice in the second and once more in the third for his third career hat trick.
December 31, 1967: Flyers 9, Kings 1 – The Quaker City rocks on New Year’s Eve with a flood of red lights. Brit Selby tallies twice in the second period, while Wayne Hicks, Larry Zeidel, Don Blackburn and Gary Dornhoefer strike in a four-goal opening period. The rout stood as the largest margin of victory for the nascent franchise and stood as the record for most goals scored in one game for several seasons.
December 31, 1985: Oilers 4, Flyers 3 — No Mark Messier, no Esa Tikkanen, no problem for the powerhouse defending champs. Gretzky turns on the juice and nets a hat trick, as the hosts recover from a 2-0 first-period deficit and a 48-34 shot margin to win once again:
December 31, 1993: Flyers 4, Bruins 3 – Brind’Amour, Mark Recchi and Lindros score in the third period, helping Philly erase a 3-0 deficit and pull out a victory in a neutral site game at Target Center in Minneapolis.
December 31, 1995: Flyers 5, Canucks 5 – The first in a series of New Year’s Eve games in Vancouver sees the Orange and Black squander leads of 3-1 and 5-2 with some bonus Canadian coverage:
December 31, 1996: Flyers 5, Canucks 3 – Lindros, LeClair, Renberg and Joel Otto light the lamp in the third period, erasing a 2-1 deficit after 40 minutes. Lindros does additional damage, as an accidental collision with Coffey sends the veteran defenseman out of the game with a concussion and onto the sidelines for two weeks.
December 31, 1997: Flyers 8, Canucks 0 – Four goals in the first period, fights in the second, then four more goals in the third period and Wayne Cashman’s club posts one of the all-time road thrashings. Fifteen years later, and this game still stands as the largest margin of victory in a shutout away from home in team history.
December 31, 1998: Flyers 6, Canucks 2 – Valeri Zelepukin scored twice, with Brind’Amour, adding a pair of second-period tallies in yet another convincing decision at GM Place on the final night of the calendar year. LeClair added a goal and two assists, while starter John Vanbiesbrouck added a helper of his own.
December 31, 2001: Flyers 2, Canucks 1 – The final NYE game between these teams in British Columbia sees Gagne slip the winner past Dan Cloutier with three seconds remaining in the third period. LeClair scored in the second period and Cechmanek made 21 saves.
December 31, 2006: Flyers 5, Hurricanes 2 — A ray of sunshine in a dismal season, Ryan Potulny, Kyle Calder and Knuble pick up goals in the final 20 minutes to send the visitors to victory at RBC Center.