December 4 In Philadelphia Flyers History: Tocchet Gordie Howe Hat Trick, Laviolette Replaces Stevens

Jonathan Daniel

Bernie shutout, comeback for deadlock with Bruins brings 'Streak' to 22, Pelle shutout only good enough for scoreless tie with Pens, Tocchet Gordie Howe hat trick burns Devils, Laviolette replaces Stevens headline December 4th in Flyers history.

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 compiled a 7-6-3-1 overall record -- including 3-0-0-1 in their last four and a 4-2-1-1 mark at home -- over the course of franchise history. Philadelphia has scored 46 goals while yielding just 45 to their opponents in 17 December 4th outings.

Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place on December 4th:

1970: Bernie Parent stopped all 22 shots he faced to post his second and final shutout of the year while Serge Bernier, Gary Dornhoefer, Bill Lesuk, and Bob Kelly each notched a goal and an assist as the Flyers skated to a 4-0 victory over the California Golden Seals at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena.

Parent and Gary Smith were locked in a goaltending battle as the two kept the game scoreless before Bernier finally opened the scoring midway through the third period.

Philadelphia dominated the frame -- outshooting California by a 12-3 count -- and kept the pressure on Smith. It paid off as all four Flyer tallies came within a 7:28 stretch to put the game away.

Bobby Clarke added a pair of assists in the win.

1975: Dave Schultz scored a pair of goals and Wayne Stephenson made 24 saves as the Flyers stomped the Chicago Blackhawks, 5-2, at the Spectrum.

Trailing 1-0 late in the opening stanza, Philadelphia got goals from Andre Dupont (power play) and Schultz within a 13-second span to quickly grab a lead they would not relinquish. Schultz added his second of the period before the first intermission to make it a 3-1 game.

Rick MacLeish and Tom Bladon scored goals to build a 5-1 lead as Philly peppered 'Hawks goalkeeper Tony Esposito with 43 shots.

Gary Dornhoefer assisted on two Flyer goals.

1979: Second period goals 1:08 apart from Reggie Leach and Paul Holmgren erased a 2-0 deficit as the Flyers came back to forge a 2-2 tie with the Boston Bruins at the Spectrum. The deadlock was the third consecutive for Philadelphia and extended the club's undefeated streak to 22 straight contests (16-0-6), now within just six of the Montreal Canadiens NHL record of 28.

Bruins goalie Gerry Cheevers was spectacular in the draw, making 36 saves, while Phil Myre stopped 12 of 14 Bruins shots.

1980: Brian Propp posted two goals and three points and Pete Peeters made 27 saves as the Flyers downed the Chicago Blackhawks in a wild 7-5 affair at the Spectrum.

On the strength of two from Propp and one each from Jim Watson, Reggie Leach, Tim Kerr, and Bob Daily, Philadelphia built a 6-3 lead heading into the third period.

But the visitors would not go quietly as goals by Darryl Sutter and Denis Savard cut the Flyers lead to just one, before Tom Gorence sealed the victory with 4:33 remaining.

Tony Esposito stopped 32 of 39 Flyer shots in the loss.

1982: Pelle Lindbergh made 24 saves to record his second career shutout and second in three starts, but Denis Herron stopped all 30 Flyers shots he faced as Philadelphia and the Pittsburgh Penguins skated to a 0-0 tie at Civic Arena.

1988: Rick Tocchet notched a Gordie Howe hat trick and Mark Laforest made 34 saves to lead the Flyers to a 6-2 triumph over the New Jersey Devils at the Spectrum.

Trailing 2-1 after the opening stanza, Philadelphia got second period goals from Brian Propp, Tocchet, Scott Mellanby, and Mike Bullard to take a commanding 5-2 lead into the second intermission.

Defenseman Gord Murphy closed out the scoring with an early power play marker in the third for his first NHL goal. Pelle Eklund also scored for Philly in the first period, Tim Kerr assisted on three tallies, while goaltender Laforest and Jay Wells each added helpers on a pair apiece.

Tocchet assisted on Propp's strike, scored one himself on a man advantage 4:18 later, then fought Claude Loiselle in the final frame to complete the Gordie Howe hat trick.

1996: Eric Lindros scored his first goal of the season with 6:35 remaining in regulation to salvage a point in a 1-1 draw with the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Lindros was playing in just his fifth game of the campaign after missing the first 23 games with a groin pull.

Brian Noonan had given the home team a 1-0 lead with a power play tally in the opening frame.

Ron Hextall stopped 24 of 25 Rangers offerings, while Mike Richter made 39 saves -- including three in overtime -- at the other end of the ice in forcing the deadlock.

1999: Mark Recchi's goal 6:36 into the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and proved to be the game-winner as the Flyers defeated the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

Chris Therien scored his first goal of the year and Sandy McCarthy also lit the lamp for Philadelphia, while former-Flyers Dainius Zubrus and Karl Dykhuis notched the Habs markers.

Simon Gagne and Eric Desjardins -- like Recchi, also a former-Canadien -- each assisted on a pair of goals, and John Vanbiesbrouck made 16 saves to record the victory.

2001: Keith Primeau's power play goal with 7:39 left in regulation snapped a 2-2 tie and lifted the Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders at Massau Coliseum. Primeau's tally also broke an 0-23 skid for the club's struggling man advantage unit.

Trailing 1-0 early in the middle frame, Philadelphia got goals from Jeremy Roenick and Simon Gagne to take a 2-1 lead. Jason Blake answered for the Isles just 40 seconds later, sending the contest deadlocked into the third period.

Roman Cechmanek stopped 18 of 20 shots to pick up the win, while N.Y.'s Chris Osgood was much busier in making 37 saves in defeat.

2010: Mike Richards redirected a Chris Pronger slap shot past Johan Hedberg 3:37 into the third period to snap a 2-2 tie as the Flyers went on to post a 5-3 triumph over the New Jersey Devils at the Wells Fargo Center.

Following Richards' third period goal, the Flyers received an insurance marker from Danny Briere in close off a Jeff Carter pass to stretch the lead to 4-2 with 11:53 remaining in regulation time.

N.J.'s Patrik Elias drew the Devils back to within a two-man advantage goal with 44 seconds left, but Carter sealed the win with an empty-netter with two seconds on the clock.

Philadelphia trailed 2-1 but Claude Giroux knotted the score just 58 ticks into the middle frame by batting a rebound past Hedberg. James van Riemsdyk also scored for Philly, notching his fourth goal in six games after going scoreless in the first 17 games of the season.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 23 of 26 shots to record the victory.

Flyers Coaching Change on December 4th:

Following two consecutive unispired shutout losses -- 1-0 in Atlanta to the Thrashers and 3-0 to the Vancouver Canucks in front of the home fans -- and six defeats in the last seven outings, GM Paul Holmgren replaced head coach John Stevens with the fiery Peter Laviolette on December 4th, 2009.

Laviolette hadn't coached in the NHL since 2008 when he was fired by the Carolina Hurricanes, the team in which he led to a Stanley Cup championship in 2006.

Stevens -- who had taken over the team's reigns from Ken Hitchcock early in the disastrous 2006-07 campaign, which would be the worst in franchise history -- guided the Flyers to a 120-109-34 record during his time at the helm, which included a 13-11-1 mark at the time of his firing.

As For The Present:

With the lockout now well into its third month and games canceled through December 14th, the official count of games the team has lost all-time due to lockout is now at 147 -- 36 in the shortened 1994/05, the entirety of the 82-game schedule in 2004/05, and 29 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
December 1 FLYERS @ Florida Panthers
December 4 FLYERS @ Tampa Bay Lightning
December 6 San Jose Sharks @ FLYERS
December 8 FLYERS @ New York Islanders
December 9 New York Islanders @ FLYERS
December 11 New Jersey Devils @ FLYERS
December 13 FLYERS @ Washington Capitals

Many Flyers are currently playing as the lockout drags on -- now nearing the 80-day mark -- scattered throughout different leagues in Europe. Some of the bigger names NHLers have already bolted for alternate leagues in which to play hockey, with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos being the latest rumored to be considering the jump.

U.S. federal mediators stepped in to take a shot at helping the sides come to some sort of common ground as they joined negotiations Wednesday and Thursday, but talks went nowhere and the sides have scrapped mediation involvement altogether in any future talks.

The NHLPA Sunday accepted an invitation from league Commish Gary Bettman to have meetings between owners and players, minus their respective heirarchy -- which means no Bettman or Bill Daly for the NHL, and no Donald or Steve Fehr for the NHLPA.

The meeting will commence Tuesday.

Even though it has to be a positive that the sides have agreed to talk, it should be noted that one of the league's toughest of the hard-liners from the owner's corner -- Boston's Jeremy Jacobs, one of the driving forces that has made negotiations as unsuccessful as they've been thus far, and it was also revealed this week that he made the Bruins players each foot the $7,000 per player tax bill associated with their Stanley Cup rings in 2011 -- will be one of the six owners to participate Tuesday. For that fact alone, many are skeptical any progress will be made and that this may just be the league's latest attempt to sell their never-changing stance to the players, this time without their counsel present.

While there is still hope that sanity will somehow prevail and there can still be something to salvage of a 2012-13 NHL season, it is unfortunately looking more-and-more like the sides may just be content to self-destruct.

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