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.
As good as October 20th has been to the Flyers, October 21st has been just the opposite over the course of the team's history. Philadelphia has a miserable 3-7-1 record in 11 games played on this date, including a dismal 3-5-1 in nine home contests. Philly has managed just 29 goals in the 11 games (for a 2.63 GPG average) and has been shutout on three occasions, while yielding 35 goals to their opponents (3.18 GAA).
As for some the more memorable moments in club history in October 21st contests:
1976: Mel Bridgman scored twice and assisted on another goal and Don Saleski scored a goal and added two helpers as the Flyers belted the Chicago Blackhawks, 5-1 at the Spectrum. Philly outshot the visitors by a 43-19 margin and controlled play from the opening faceoff. Shots on goal in the first two periods alone were 31-12, building a 3-1 lead and knocking 'Hawks starter Tony Esposito out the game.
Gary Dornhoefer contributed a goal and assist to the winning cause, and Orest Kindrachuk assisted on two of the Flyers' markers.
Bernie Parent made 18 saves to record the victory.
1979: The Flyers built a 6-2 lead midway through regulation but couldn't hold on as the Montreal Canadiens stormed back to gain a point in a wild 6-6 tie at the Spectrum. Philadelphia bolted out of the starting gates with two goals from Bill Barber and another by Norm Barnes to stake the home team to a 3-0 lead after one period of play. When Brian Propp scored a power play goal less than two minutes into the middle frame, it appeared as if the game would be a laugher.
After Montreal cut the lead in half with goals by Yvon Lambert and Guy Lafleur, tallies from Bobby Clarke and Rick MacLeish restored the four-goal margin at 12:05 of the second. But the Habs would not quit and made it a 6-4 contest on goals from Larry Robinson and Steve Shutt.
The visitors dictated play in the final stanza by outshooting the Flyers, 6-2, and netted two goals -- Lafleur's second of the night midway through the third, and the game-tying goal by Rejean Houle with just 2:49 left in regulation.
Holding on for a tie would prove to be important for the Orange-and-Black, as the contest was the fourth in an eventual 35-game unbeaten streak (25-0-10) that set the record for longest of any professional team in the four major sports.
1984: Tim Kerr racked up two goals and an assist as the Flyers built a 4-0 lead before eventually outlasting the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-2 at the Spectrum. Murray Craven and Brian Propp also scored for Philadelphia, who outshot their cross-state rivals, 37-24.
Bob Froese picked up the win for the Flyers, while Denis Herron suffered the loss for the Pens.
1993: A game between the Flyers and New York Islanders scheduled at the Spectrum is moved to October 22 to avoid a conflict with Game 5 of the World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays being played across the street at Veterans' Stadium.
1997: Eric Lindros scored a goal and assisted on four others and Vinny Prospal scored twice and added two helpers to lead the Flyers to a 7-1 beat down of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Janne Niinimaa scored once and assisted on two goals, while John LeClair chipped in with a goal and an assist.
Ron Hextall made 17 saves to record the win, while Daren Puppa yielded three goals on just six shots in the game's first 8:22 before getting the yank in favor of Corey Schwab.
2010: Anaheim Ducks' backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney stopped 40 of 42 shots and Ryan Getzlaf scored the game-winning goal with 1:46 remaining in regulation to give the visitors a 3-2 victory over the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center.
McElhinney was spectacular in holding the visitors in the game, especially in the first two periods when Philadelphia outshot Anaheim by a 32-14 count.
Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux managed goals for the Flyers, while Sergei Bobrovsky made 19 saves and took the loss.
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 did not go well at all -- Gary Bettman says the two sides "are not speaking the same language" -- there is still hope that sanity will somehow eventually prevail and there will be a 2012-13 NHL season, even though no further negotiations are scheduled as of this time.