The 100th victory in franchise history, a Zelepukin OT-winner, and three shutouts -- including a Niittymaki gem against Atlanta, a team he owned for some time -- headline October 28th Flyers games.
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.
The Flyers have managed an 8-6-1-0 record (7-2-0 at home, with seven straight home wins bookended by a loss in the inaugural 1967 season and the other in the last one played on this date in Philadelphia in 2006) on October 28th over the course of franchise history. The Flyers have scored 64 goals in the 15 contests (an average of 4.26 GPG), while allowing 47 to their opponents (3.13 GAA). Philadelphia netminders have posted three shutouts and the Flyers have never been blanked in an October 28th game.
Some of the more notable moments in Flyers history in contests that took place on October 28th:
1971: Simon Nolet scored his second goal of the game midway through the third period to give the Flyers a 3-2 victory -- and the 100th win in franchise history -- over the Vancouver Canucks at the Spectrum. Tallies by Larry Mickey in the first and Nolet in the middle stanza staked Philadelphia to a 2-0 lead heading into the third, but goals by Jocelyn Guevremont and Orland Kurtenbach in the first 5:06 of the final frame tied the score at 2-2.
Winning goaltender Doug Favell made 28 saves while Dunc Wilson stopped 34 of the 37 Flyers shots he faced in suffering the loss.
1972: J.P. Parise and Danny Grant scored second period goals to lift the Minnesota North Stars to a 2-1 win over the visiting Flyers.
Bob Kelly had given Philadelphia a 1-0 first period lead with his first goal of the year, but an onslaught of North Stars shots eventually broke through Philly goaltender Doug Favell. Minnesota threw 21 shots at the Flyers net in each of the first two frames and held a 42-22 shots on goal advantage after two periods, on the way to a final margin of 53-38.
Favell made 51 stops, while Lorne "Gump" Worsley made 37 saves to record the victory.
1973: The Flyers got first period shorthanded goals from Orest Kindrachuk and Bill Clement to take a 2-0 lead, then held on for a 2-1 win over the California Golden Seals at the Spectrum. Philadelphia outshot the visitors by a 47-22 count, but goalie Marv Edwards made 45 saves to keep California in the game.
Bernie Parent stopped 21 of 22 Golden Seals offerings in the win, with Craig Patrick breaking Parent's bid for a shutout late in the third period.
1976: Bernie Parent turned aside all 21 Pittsburgh Penguins shots he faced and the Flyers received goals from Reggie Leach in the first period and Mel Bridgman and Bobby Clarke in the second on the way to a 3-0 shutout victory at the Spectrum.
1979: Reggie Leach scored his second goal of the third period with 1:00 remaining as the Flyers scored four times in the final frame to pull out a 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings at the Spectrum. Despite Philadelphia outshooting the Red Wings by a wide 31-11 margin through two periods, Detroit held a 2-1 lead thanks to goals from Mike Foligno and Dale McCourt, and the goaltending of Rogie Vachon.
But the Flyers poured 17 more shots at Vachon in the third, and Brian Propp tied the game just 51 seconds into the stanza. Dennis Ververgaert scored his second of the game and Leach scored 24 seconds later less than five minutes after Propp's goal to give the home team a 4-2 lead, but Detroit got markers from Willie Huber and Dan Labraaten to knot the score with 2:50 remaining in regulation time to set the stage for Leach's last-minute heroics.
Defenseman Bob Dailey picked up four assists on the night, including helpers on each of the last three Flyers goals. The win was the sixth straight game without a loss (5-0-1) for Philadelphia, on the way to an NHL-record 35-game unbeaten streak.
Vachon finished the game with 43 saves in a losing cause, while Philly's Phil Myre stopped 16 of 20 Detroit shots to register the victory.
1980: Bill Barber and Behn Wilson each scored twice and Pete Peeters was perfect on 22 shots in an 8-0 drubbing of the Calgary Flames at the Spectrum to extend the Flyers win streak to five games. All Hill, Tim Kerr, Brian Propp, and Jim Watson also lit the lamp for the Orange-and-Black, as Philadelphia dominated play throughout the night.
After outshooting Calgary by a 27-13 count and leading 5-0 on the scoreboard after two periods, tempers flared at the 5:41 mark of the final frame to the tune of 176 penalty minutes. Philadelphia closed out the scoring with three more on losing goaltender Dan Bouchard, who finished the night with 31 saves.
1982: Bobby Clarke scored two goals and added two helpers, while Tim Kerr and Ray Allison each scored twice to lead the Flyers drilled the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, 9-2 at the Spectrum. Lindsay Carson scored once and assisted on two Flyer tallies, while Paul Holmgren and Ron Flockhart each posted a goal and an assist. Bill Barber, Mark Howe, and Paul Evans all had a pair of assists.
Clarke's second of the game at the 5:25 mark of the second period made it 6-1, chasing Pens starter Michel Dion from the net in favor of Denis Herron. Dion gave up the six goals on 27 Flyer shots, and Herron stopped 18 of 21 the rest of the way.
Pelle Lindbergh was solid in the Philadelphia net, turning away 30 of 32 Pittsburgh shots.
1999: Valeri Zelepukin scored with nine seconds left in overtime to give the Flyers a see saw 5-4 victory over the visiting Colorado Avalanche. When Mark Greig scored 2:08 into the third period to give Philly a 4-0 lead, it seemed the game would be a laugher. But Alex Tanguay and Milan Hejduk each scored twice as the Avs came roaring back to tie the contest and send it to the extra session.
Mark Recchi scored a goal and assisted on two others, and Eric Desjardins scored once and added a helper on Zelepukin's overtime-winner. Mikael Renberg scored the other Flyers goal, while Daymond Langkow (PHI) and Adam Deadmarsh (COL) each posted three assists.
John Vanbiesbrouck made 23 saves on the way to the win, while Marc Denis stopped 29 of 34 Flyers shots to take the loss.
2005: Mark Cullen beat Antero Niittymaki with 5:15 remaining in regulation and Eric Staal recorded a hat trick to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a come-from-behind 8-6 victory over the Flyers in Raleigh, N.C. Philadelphia led 5-3 after two periods but allowed five third period goals to the 'Canes in a contest that saw 71 shots (34 for the Flyers) and seven power play goals (four by the Flyers).
2006: Sidney Crosby recorded his first career hat trick and Evgeni Malkin added a goal and two assists to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to an 8-2 win over the Flyers at the Wachovia Center. Current-Flyer and then-Penguin Maxime Talbot also scored twice for Pittsburgh.
Crosby's second goal of the game -- at 2:41 of the second period -- chased Philadelphia starter Antero Niittymaki, then the phenom greeted Robert Esche with his third of the night less than six minutes later to complete the hat trick as a disapproving Philadelphia crowd booed loudly.
2008: Simon Gagne recorded four points (two goals, two assists), Joffrey Lupul and Mike Knuble each tallied twice, and Antero Niittymaki stopped all 24 shots he faced in leading the Flyers to a 7-0 win over the Thrashers in Atlanta. Glen Metropolit added a goal and two assists.
It was Philadelphia's third consecutive victory following a dismal 0-3-3 mark to open the 2008/09 season, and the 11th straight time they beat the Thrashers.
Niittymaki beat fellow-Finn Kari Lehtonen and ran his career record against Atlanta to a perfect 10-0-0. This would be Niittymaki's fourth and final shutout in a Flyers uniform.
One of the few bright spots for the Thrashers came when Lehtonen stoned Mike Richards -- who was hooked from behind on a shorthanded breakaway by defenseman Ron Hainsey -- on a penalty shot attempt with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation.
October 28th Flyers Birthdays:
Kevin Dineen was born on this date in 1963. The gritty winger brought a rare blend of toughness and talent, recording 355 goals, 760 points, and 2,229 PIMs over the course of 19 NHL seasons.
Originally drafted by the Hartford Whalers (with a 1982 third round pick that was dealt to them by the Flyers in the trade that brought Mark Howe to Philadelphia 1981), Dineen was sent to the City of Brotherly Love early in his eighth season with the Whalers. The 5' 11", 190-pounder came to the Flyers in exchange for Murray Craven and a draft pick, and he made an immediate impact.
In 64 games over the remainder of the 1991/92 campaign, Dineen racked up 26 goals, 56 points, and 130 PIMs for Philadelphia. He followed that up with a big 35-goal, 63-point, 201-PIM season in 1992/93, becoming one of the veteran leaders on the Flyers.
Philadelphia had a young team and was going through a rebuilding phase -- adding the likes of Eric Lindros (19), Rod Brind'Amour (22), and Mark Recchi (24), but they did not have a captain during since Rick Tocchet was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 1992 trade deadline.
On October 5th, 1993, Dineen was named the 10th captain in the club's history. While a perfect leader both on and off the ice, the Quebec City-native's production slipped to 19 goals, 42 points, and 119 PIMs during the 1993/94 season.
The Flyers were anxious to insert the "C" to Lindros' jersey, and the club made it official in September of 1994. Dineen saw action in just 40 games during the 1994/95 campaign due to various injuries, and record eight goals, 13 points, and 39 PIMs along the way. His effectiveness was waning as the grind of 14 professional hockey seasons were taking a toll on his body, and after posting two assists and 50 PIMs in 26 games that season, Dineen was traded back to Hartford in exchange for two draft selections near the end of the calendar year in 1995.
All told, Dineen registered 88 goals, 176 points, and 533 PIMs in 284 games for the Flyers.
Now 49, Dineen will begin his second campaign as head coach of the Florida Panthers when the NHL lockout ends and the 2012/13 season finally commences.
As For The Present:
With Friday's announcement that games are now canceled through November 30, the official count of games the team has lost all-time due to lockout is now at 140 -- 36 in the shortened 1994-05, the entirety of the 82-game schedule in 2004-05, and 22 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
November 3 Anaheim Ducks @ FLYERS
November 4 FLYERS @ NY Rangers
November 6 Buffalo Sabres @ FLYERS
November 8 FLYERS @ Carolina Hurricanes
November 10 Carolina Hurricanes @ FLYERS
November 13 Minnesota Wild @ FLYERS
November 16 FLYERS @ Buffalo Sabres
November 17 Buffalo Sabres @ FLYERS
November 21 Ottawa Senators @ FLYERS
November 23 Winnipeg Jets @ FLYERS
November 24 FLYERS @ NY Rangers
November 28 FLYERS @ Toronto Maple Leafs
November 29 FLYERS @ NY Islanders
There are no further talks scheduled at this time and it's unclear if and when the sides will resume negotiations.
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.