This is a daily column that will run during the duration of the NHL lockout. It is not meant to depress hockey fans, but is rather intended to provide a reminder of some of the more memorable moments in Philadelphia Flyers' history, and act as a much-needed distraction from the ongoing negativity surrounding the lockout for hockey fans. What must not be forgotten during the labor strife is just how great of a game we have been blessed with to enjoy throughout the years.
Even though they lost on this date last season (5-2 at home to the Washington Capitals), Philadelphia boasts a pretty solid 10-5-3 record in games played on October throughout their history. The Flyers have never lost consecutive October 20 games, but have had winning streaks of: two (1977 and 1979), three (1985-1990), and four (1995-2001). Philly has posted 70 goals in their 18 games on this date (for a 3.88 GPP average), and have given up 44 to their opponents (2.44 GAA).
As for the club's history in October 20th contests:
1974: After falling behind 2-0 early in the second period on goals by Yvon Lambert and Yvan Cournoyer, the Flyers salvaged a point by forcing a 2-2 tie with the Montreal Canadiens. Bob "The Hound" Kelly scored late in the middle frame to cut the deficit in half, and Rick MacLeish knotted the score in the latter half of the third.
It was a battle of eventual Hall-of-Fame goaltenders, with Bernie Parent stopping 23 Habs' shots, and Ken Dryden making 25 saves for Les Habitants.
1977: The Flyers blasted the Pittsburgh Penguins by an 11-0 score to establish the largest margin of victory in a game that ended with a shutout in team history. Nine different Flyers scored and the LCB Line led the assault by combining for nine points -- Reggie Leach (3) two goals, assist; Bobby Clarke (4) goal, three assists; Bill Barber (2) two goals.
Bob Kelly contributed a goal and two assists, and Orest Kindrachuk added three assists in the winning effort.
The 11 goals in a shutout win topped the club's previous mark of 10, which occurred on three occasions: March 4, 1973 over the Toronto Maple Leafs, and twice over the hapless Kansas City Scouts (December 1, 1974 and November 2, 1975) within an 11-month stretch.
Philadelphia thoroughly dominated the contest from the opening faceoff to final horn and outshot the visiting Penguins by a 54-20 margin, which included a 21-4 count in the first and 17-6 in the third.
Beleaguered Pittsburgh netminder Dunc Wilson remained between the pipes for the entire debacle, while Bernie Parent turned aside all 20 shots he faced to get credit for the whitewash.
1979: Rookie winger Brian Propp notched two goals and two assists to lead the visiting Flyers to a convincing 7-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Philadelphia also received two goals from both Reggie Leach and Paul Holmgren, while Bobby Clarke posted two assists.
Goaltender Phil Myre stopped 25 of 28 Red Wings shots, while at the other end of the ice Jim Rutherford yielded all seven Flyer goals on just 29 offerings.
1983: Brian Propp scored a goal and assisted on another to lead the Flyers back from an early third period 3-1 deficit as Philadelphia tied the Boston Bruins, 3-3 at the Spectrum. Ron Sutter also had a goal and assist in the tilt.
After taking an early-first period 1-0 lead on a power play goal by Doug Crossman, the visiting Bruins got goals from Rick Middleton, Mike Krushelnyski, and Craig MacTavish to build the two-goal margin before Propp led the Flyers' comeback.
Philly peppered Doug Keans with 40 shots -- including four in a scoreless overtime -- but the Boston goaltender came up with 37 saves, while Pelle Lindbergh made 25 stops for the Flyers.
1985: The Flyers scored three times in the third period to pull out a 5-2 victory over the Blackhawks at Chicago Stadium. Brian Propp scored twice -- including what would turn out to be the game-winner at 7:43 of the third -- and added an assist, while enforcer Dave Brown notched a Gordie Howe hat trick (second period assist, third period goal and fight with tough guy Al Secord). Tim Kerr and Dave Poulin also scored for the visitors, while Mark Howe and Murray Craven each added two assists.
Bob Froese stopped 29 of 31 shots for the win, while Chicago goalie Murray Bannerman allowed five Flyer goals on 43 shots to suffer the loss.
1988: Defenseman Terry Carkner scored a goal and assisted on two others to help defeat his former team as the Flyers defeated the Quebec Nordiques, 5-2 at the Spectrum. Trailing the Nords 2-1 midway through the first, Carkner -- who spent the 1987-88 campaign in Quebec -- figured in on three of the four Philadelphia goals the rest of the way. Ron Sutter scored a goal and added an assist, while Brian Propp assisted on two Flyer tallies.
Ron Hextall made 22 saves in picking up the win.
1990: Pelle Eklund scored twice and Murray Craven scored once and added two assists as the Flyers defeated Patrick Roy and the Canadiens, 5-3, at the Forum in Montreal. Trailing 3-2, Philadelphia got a late-second period goal from Normand Lacombe, and markers from Scott Mellanby (GWG) and Eklund in the decisive third to pull out the victory.
Ken Wregget turned aside 23 Canadiens' shots, while Roy stopped 22 for the Habs.
1995: John LeClair scored twice and Eric Lindros added a goal and two assists as the visiting Flyers built a 4-0 lead after two periods before hanging on to beat the Ducks, 4-2, in Anaheim. Defenseman Chris Therien picked up two assists in the victory.
Philadelphia dominated the shots totals by a 33-18 margin, which included a lopsided 24-6 count through the first two frames. Ron Hextall, who was relieved briefly by Dominic Roussel, made 13 saves to garner the win.
1998: Eric Lindros and Rod Brind'Amour each scored a goal and assisted on another to help the Flyers to a 3-1 victory over the visiting San Jose Sharks. The Sharks led 1-0 on a goal by Jeff Friesen, but Brind'Amour was finally able to solve goaltender Mike Vernon on the power play with just 17 seconds remaining in the second period to tie the score heading to the third. Colin Forbes tallied the game-winner early in the period, and Lindros added an insurance marker with just under five minutes remaining in regulation.
Vernon was busy -- being called upon to make 34 saves -- while John Vanbiesbrouck was tested just 18 times to record the win.
1999: John Vanbiesbrouck turned aside all 34 New York shots he faced while Mark Recchi scored once and assisted on three others as the Flyers defeated Mike Richter and the Rangers, 5-0 in Philadelphia. Eric Desjardins (GWG), Valeri Zelepukin, Jody Hull, and Simon Gagne also scored for the Flyers in the win.
2001: Mark Recchi recorded a hat trick -- including a goal at even strength, one on the power play, and another shorthanded -- and an assist to lead the Flyers over the Washington Capitals, 6-3 in Philadelphia. John LeClair added two goals and an assist, and Jeremy Roenick assisted on three Flyers' markers.
Philly began the game by outshooting the Caps 20-4 in the first period, before finally chasing starter Olaf Kolzig after he yielded five goals through two periods. Roman Cechmanek made 19 saves in the winning cause for the Flyers.
2007: Simon Gagne beat John Grahame for his second goal of the game just 48 seconds into overtime as the Flyers defeated the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2.
The 'Canes carried play through the first two stanzas -- outshooting Philadelphia by a 33-17 margin -- but Martin Biron was spectacular in holding the Flyers in the game. Biron finished the night with 42 saves in stealing the victory for the Orange-and-Black.
As For The Present...
With Friday's announcement that games are now canceled through November 1, the official count of games the team has lost all-time due to lockout is now at 127 -- 36 in the shortened 1994-05, the entirety of the 82-game schedule in 2004-05, and nine thus far this season:
October 11 Boston Bruins @ FLYERS
October 13 FLYERS @ NY Islanders
October 18 Pittsburgh Penguins @ FLYERS
October 20 Winnipeg Jets @ FLYERS
October 25 FLYERS @ Montreal Canadiens
October 27 Toronto Maple Leafs @ FLYERS
October 28 FLYERS @ Buffalo Sabres
October 30 Dallas Stars @ FLYERS
November 1 New Jersey Devils @ FLYERS
There is hope after Tuesday's offer from the NHL that finally got the ball rolling with regards to negotiations. If there is an accord reached by October 25th and the regular season commences on November 2nd (3rd for the Flyers in a 1:00 Saturday matinee against the visiting Anaheim Ducks), the games that were erased will be made up during the course of the season.
While talks on Thursday didn't go well at all -- Gary Bettman says the two sides "are not speaking the same language" -- negotiations are ongoing and there is still hope that sanity will somehow eventually prevail and there will be a 2012-13 NHL season.