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.
October 24th has been very kind to the Flyers, who brandish a stellar 13-4-3 record (9-2-2 at home) in 20 games played on on this date throughout the course of franchise history. Philadelphia has scored 84 times in those contests (for a 4.20 GPG average), while yielding just 54 goals to their opponents (2.70 GAA).
As for some of the more memorable moments in all-time October 24th Flyers contests:
1968: Earl Heiskala scored his first NHL goal with 3:03 remaining in the third period to cap a two-goal third period comeback and help the Flyers earn a point in a 3-3 tie with the Minnesota North Stars at the Spectrum.
Trailing 3-1 heading into the final frame, Gary Dornhoefer brought Philadelphia to within a goal with a power play tally early in the period, setting up Heiskala's tying marker. Heiskala also assisted on a first period goal by Ed van Impe, and Jim Johnson added two assists for the Flyers.
Bernie Parent stopped 32 Minnesota shots in the win.
1971: Serge Bernier scored early in the third period to break a 1-1 tie and Doug Favell stopped all but one of the 30 shots he faced to lead the Flyers to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at the Spectrum. Bernier figured in both Philadelphia goals as he also assisted on Pierre Plante's first period tally.
1976: Rick MacLeish recorded a hat trick -- scoring once in each period -- and both Don Saleski and Ross Lonsberry added a goal and assist as the Flyers defeated the Colorado Rockies, 5-3, at the Spectrum.
Philadelphia peppered Rockies' netminder Bill McKenzie with 40 shots, while Bernie Parent made 25 saves in the winning effort.
1981: Tim Kerr scored twice and Bobby Clarke assisted on four goals as the visiting Flyers doubled up the Blues in St. Louis, 6-3. Bill Barber and Behn Wilson both contributed a goal and assist to the winning cause, while Ilkka Sinisalo posted two helpers.
Pete Peeters stopped 21 Blues' shots, while Mike Liut made 28 saves in taking the loss.
1982: Bobby Clarke and Ron Flockhart both scored once and assisted on two other goals and Tim Kerr scored twice to lead the Flyers to a 7-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Paul Holmgren added a goal and an assist and incurred two major penalties (high-sticking, cross-checking).
Rick St. Croix made 21 saves to pick up the win, while Greg Stefan stopped 39 Flyers offerings in the loss.
1985: Pelle Lindbergh turned aside all 24 shots he faced and the Flyers got goals from Ilkka Sinisalo, Mark Howe, and Tim Kerr in a 3-0 blanking of the Hartford Whalers at the Spectrum. There were eight fighting majors, two high-sticking majors, and two misconducts in the contentious affair.
It was the third victory in what would turn into a 13-game Philadelphia winning streak, and the shutout would be the last Lindbergh would record before passing away in a November, 1985 car accident.
1992: Poor defense and goaltending cost the Flyers to waste a Greg Paslawski hat trick as the Flyers dropped a wild 7-6 decision to the Montreal Canadiens at the Spectrum. Despite outshooting Montreal by a 15-6 margin and receiving goals from Paslawski, Garry Galley, and Brent Fedyk in the first period, Stephane Beauregard was only able to make two saves and Philly trailed, 4-3.
Dominic Roussel yielded three more goals on 21 Habs shots over the last two periods, and late third period tallies from Paslawski and Brian Benning drew the Flyers to within one before the final buzzer.
Eric Lindros assisted on three Philadelphia markers, while Mark Recchi added two helpers.
1998: Goals by John LeClair and Rod Brind'Amour capped a furious third period comeback as the Flyers salvaged a 2-2 tie with the visiting New York Rangers.
Despite outshooting the Broadway Blueshirts by a 20-10 count after two periods, Philadelphia found themselves trailing, 2-0, heading into the third. The Flyers dominated the period, throwing 14 shots at Mike Richter while the Rangers could muster just one.
John Vanbiesbrouck ended up with 11 saves, while Richter took First Star honors with a 35-save performance.
1999: John Vanbiesbrouck shutout his former teammates and the Flyers got goals from Jody Hull and Eric Lindros in a 2-0 victory.
Hull staked Philadelphia to a lead when he beat Sean Burke in the latter stages of the first period, and Lindros iced the game with an empty-netter with just 38 seconds remaining.
Vanbiesbrouck made 22 saves in recording his third consecutive shutout, on the way to an eventual shutout streak of 227 minutes and 40 seconds to set a franchise record -- one that would stand until Ilya Bryzgalov bested it during the 2011-12 campaign.
2000: Keith Primeau scored once and assisted on another and Simon Gagne added three helpers as the Flyers defeated the New York Rangers, 5-4, at Madison Square Garden.
Primeau's tally came just 12 seconds into the contest and got Philadelphia rolling to a 3-0 lead after one on goals by Jody Hull and Daymond Langkow.
After markers by Justin Williams and Peter White built a seemingly-solid 5-2 lead, the Rangers made it close with goals from Adam Graves and Valeri Kamensky in the latter minutes of the third.
Brian Boucher made 21 saves to record the victory, while Kirk McLean made just 14 saves to incur the loss.
2002: Michal Handzus scored twice and asisted on another goal while Keith Primeau tallied twice as the Flyers blitzed the visiting Montreal Canadiens by a 6-2 count.
After a first period that saw the Habs outshoot Philadelphia, 9-6, and ended 1-1 on the scoreboard, the Flyers dominated the rest of the way. They outshot Montreal, 35-11 over the last two stanzas, and Handzus' shorthanded goal early in the middle frame broke the game wide open as Philly tallied three times in the first 6:39 of the frame.
Pavel Brendl added a goal and an assist, while Justin Williams, Simon Gagne, and Paul Ranheim each assisted on two Flyer markers.
The Handzus shorty chased Canadiens' starter Jose Theordore, who finished with 10 saves on 14 shots. Jeff Hackett finished the game for Montreal, while Roman Cechmanek made 18 saves in the win.
2008: Scott Hartnell scored twice -- including the eventual game-winning goal in the second period -- and Mike Richards added four assists as the Flyers erased a 3-2 second period deficit to beat the Devils, 6-3, in New Jersey. Joffrey Lupul and Mike Knuble each added a goal and an assist, while Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne also scored for Philadelphia.
2009: Danny Briere scored twice and added a helper and Ray Emery stopped all but one of the 18 shots he faced to lead the Flyers to a 5-1 win over the visiting Florida Panthers. James van Riemsdyk added his first career NHL goal, and the Flyers also received goal support from Simon Gagne and Arron Asham.
The game featured a scary moment when Mike Richards blindsided David Booth, who was knocked unconscious and laid motionless for some time before having to be taken off the ice on a stretcher.
2011: Jaromir Jagr scored his first two goals as a Flyer and Scott Hartnell added a pair as the Flyers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-2, at the Wells Fargo Center. The duo each added assists, while linemate Claude Giroux and defenseman Kimmo Timonen both finished the night with two assists.
This game also featured a scary injury when Leaf Mikhail Grabovski's follow through on a shot attempt struck Chris Pronger in the eye, cutting the Flyers captain and knocking him from the game early in the first period.
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
If there is an accord reached by October 25th -- tomorrow -- 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.
There have been no negotiations since the weekend and there are no further talks scheduled at this time as the league-imposed deadline approaches -- even though the NHLPA requested to meet with the league today. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said there was no reason to talk since the union would not be presenting a new proposal and was not willing to accept the NHL's offer that was made last Tuesday.
While there is still hope that sanity will somehow eventually prevail and there will be a full 2012-13 NHL season, it's looking more-and-more like the sides are content with the current 'self-destruct' mode.
If an agreement is not reached by Thursday, expect an announcement from the league canceling a more-substantial block of games in addition to what has already been wiped off the slate.