An almost-daily column that takes a look back at how the Philadelphia Flyers have fared on this day, recalling some of the more memorable moments, achievements, and events that shaped the organization throughout the club’s storied history
The Flyers have posted an 11-8-3-1 record in 23 all-time October 11 outings in what has been a very streaky day in franchise history. Philly dropped their first three (1967-1970), then went 10-1-1-0 in their next 12 from 1973 through 1998, before going 1-4-2-1 over their last eight, with a current two-game losing streak (0-1-0-1) in tact in October 11 contests.
1967 – The Flyers lost their inaugural NHL game to the California Golden Seals, another expansion team playing their initial contest, by a 5-1 score at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena.
Trailing 1-0 midway through the second period, Bill Sutherland scored the first goal in franchise history to tie the score. Instead of helping Philly build momentum the goal seemed to awaken the Seals, however, as they scored twice in less than two minutes after Sutherland’s tally.
Goaltender Bernie Parent was under siege from the start as California pumped 17 shots in his direction in the first period alone. Parent finished the contest with 28 saves while absorbing the defeat.
1969 – Philadelphia opened their third season with a 4-0 loss to Cesare Maniago and the Minnesota North Stars at the Metropolitan Sports Center in Bloomington, Minnesota.
The game marked the first NHL contest for 20-year-old center Bobby Clarke, the club’s second-round pick (17th-overall) in the previous summer’s draft. Clarke would go on to captain the Flyers to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975, and lead the franchise in games played, assists, and points while becoming one of the all-time iconic leaders in professional sports.
1970 – Third period goals by Mickey Redmond and Bill Collins broke a scoreless tie as the Montreal Canadiens held on for a 2-1 victory over the Flyers at the Spectrum.
Defenseman Barry Ashbee, who was acquired in a trade with the Boston Bruins the previous spring, scored the lone Philadelphia goal -- his first as a Flyer in only his second game with the club.
1973 – Good-luck charm Kate Smith appeared live at the Spectrum for the first time to sing "God Bless America", perhaps bringing with her the blessing of the hockey gods, in a 2-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Terry Crisp and Bill Barber scored the goals, while Bernie Parent turned aside all 28 shots he faced to shutout his former teammates in the 1973/74 regular season opener at the Spectrum.
Parent -- traded to Toronto two years earlier -- was reacquired in exchange for his counterpart at the other end of the rink that night, Doug Favell, the previous spring. Even though Philadelphia was outplayed in the first (outshot 12-7), the Flyers came away with the lone goal via Crisp.
Similarly in the third, Toronto pressed play and Parent had to be excellent in protecting the one-goal lead, before Barber provided some breathing room with a power play marker with 5:32 remaining.
1975 -- Bobby Clarke had a goal and four assists while Rick MacLeish and Andre Dupont each scored twice to pace a nine-goal onslaught as the Flyers bombed the Minnesota North Stars 9-5 at the Met Center.
Dupont snapped a 3-3 tie late in a wild opening period and Philadelphia never looked back. Rookie Mel Bridgman scored his second goal in his second NHL game, while Tom Blazon, Gary Dornhoefer, and Bill Barber also scored for the visitors, with Barber's being his 100th of his NHL career.
Wayne Stephenson stopped 20 of 25 North Stars shots to pick up the win.
1979 -- Paul Holmgren and Rick MacLeish each posted a goal and an assist and Phil Myre made 32 saves in his Philly debut as the Flyers opened up their 13th NHL season with a 5-2 victory over Billy Smith and the New York Islanders at the Spectrum.
Philadelphia got a first period strike from MacLeish and second period goals from Holmgren, Brian Propp, and Al Hill to take a commanding 4-0 lead into the final stanza.
New York finally solved Myre in the third when Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier markers brought the Isles back to within two at 4-2, but Tom Gorence clinched the triumph with 3:26 remaining.
The second period goal from Propp, the club’s first-round selection (14th-overall) in that summer’s draft, was the first regular season tally of his NHL career and proved to be the eventual game-winner. The Lanigan, Saskatchewan-native would go on to record eight seasons of 30-or-more goals with the Flyers, four in which he reached the 40-goal plateau or better.
Philadelphia honored Bernie Parent by retiring his #1, after the greatest goaltender in franchise history was forced to retire prematurely after taking an accidental stick in the eye late in the previous season.
1980 – Tom Gorence and Reggie Leach each scored a pair of goals and Pete Peeters stopped 28 of 29 shots to lead the Flyers to a convincing 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues at the Checkerdome.
After Paul Holmgren and St. Louis' Bernie Federko traded first period goals, Gorence scored twice in the middle frame -- sandwiched around one from Leach -- to give the visitors a commanding 4-1 advantage heading into the final period.
Leach notched his second of the game by beating Mike Liut just 0:21 into the third to close out the scoring.
Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber each assisted on two goals in the winning effort.
1981 – Reggie Leach scored twice, Ilkka Sinisalo recorded his first two NHL points and made history in the process, while Pete Peeters made 31 saves as the Flyers bombed the Pittsburgh Penguins 8-2 at the Spectrum.
The game would end up as a laugher, but it was close early on as the teams split four power play goals evenly in the opening stanza. Behn Wilson gave Philadelphia a lead just over six minutes in, but man advantage tallies from Rick Kehoe and Greg Malone 1:01 apart midway through the session gave the Pens a 2-1 lead.
Sinisalo registered career NHL point number one when he set up Bill Barber for the tying goal 1:27 after Malone's to make it 2-2 at the first intermission.
Leach's first of the night was the lone marker of the middle frame to give Philadelphia a one-goal lead heading into the third, where it was all Flyers for the final twenty minutes.
Goals by Brian Propp and Bobby Clarke made it 5-2, and Sinisalo beat Pittsburgh goaltender Paul Harrison when he was awarded a penalty shot just 16 ticks of the clock after Clarke's tally for his first in the league. The Finn became just the second NHL player to pick up his initial goal by way of the penalty shot
With the Penguins still reeling, Leach potted his second of the game 0:26 later, and Kenny Linseman closed out the scoring 40 seconds after that to give Philly four goals in a stretch of just 1:22 to set a club record that still stands today.
Peeters stopped 31 of 33 Pens’ shots, while Harrison was shelled for all eight goals on 35 Flyers’ shots.
1984 – Tim Kerr’s goal with 1:39 remaining in regulation lifted the Flyers to a 2-2 tie with the Washington Capitals at the Spectrum on opening night of the 1984/85 season.
Rookie forwards Peter Zezel and Derrick Smith each recorded their first NHL points when they assisted on Ilkka Sinisalo’s second period tally.
Pelle Lindbergh made 30 saves – including three in overtime – to garner first star honors.
1986 – Tim Kerr scored twice in a four-goal Flyers’ first period, and rookie Ron Hextall stopped 34 of 35 shots in a 6-1 victory over former-Philadelphia netminder Pete Peeters and the Washington Capitals at the Cap Center.
Peter Zezel (shorthanded), Derrick Smith, Murray Craven, and Scott Mellanby also lit the lamp for the visiting Flyers, with Mellanby’s being the first of his NHL career.
1990 – Jiri Latal scored a pair of goals and Ken Wregget stopped nine of 11 shots after relieving Ron Hextall as Philadelphia defeated the New Jersey Devils 7-4 at the Spectrum.
Rick Tocchet, Normand Lacombe, Gord Murphy, Ron Sutter, and Tim Kerr also scored for the Flyers, while Tony Horacek recorded three assists and fought New Jersey heavyweight Troy Crowder.
Flyers legends Bill Barber was honored prior to the game when his #7 was retired and raised to the Spectrum rafters, with the Hall-of-Fame left winger giving his "I was, I am, and always will be a Philadelphia Flyer" speech.
1995 – Rod Brind’Amour’s shorthanded goal midway through the third period proved to be the game-winner and Ron Hextall stopped 25 of 26 shots as Philadelphia defeated the Washington Capitals 2-1 at the Spectrum.
Following a scoreless opening period, John LeClair beat Caps' netminder Olaf Kolzig with Washington defender Ken Klee off for slashing 11:57 into the middle stanza.
With the Flyers nursing a one-goal lead and trying to kill off a Rob DiMaio high-sticking infraction, Hextall's excellent puck-handling skills came in handy as he sprung Brind'Amour away on Kolzig for the all-important insurance marker midway through the third.
That goal would loom large as Sergei Gonchar spoiled Hextall's shutout bid late in regulation with a power play tally to close out the ledger.
1997 – John LeClair notched the seventh regular season hat trick of his career and added a pair of assists against his former team, and Ron Hextall made 21 saves to lead the visiting Flyers to a 6-2 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Center.
Eric Lindros and Dainius Zubrus each added a goal and two assists, while Dan Kordic also scored for Philadelphia.
LeCair made it a regular habit of punishing the team that traded him, as three of those seven hat tricks recorded up to this point in his career -- all as a Flyer -- came against the Habs.
The St. Albans, Vermont-native provided the lone marker of the opening twenty minutes, but goals from former-Flyer Mark Recchi and Valeri Bure gave the home squad a 2-1 lead early in the middle session.
Zubrus took a LeClair feed and evened things up less than three minutes later, and LeClair scored twice within a 1:05 span to complete the hat trick and put Philadelphia ahead for good.
LeClair set up Lindros less than two minutes later for his fourth point of the period, making it a 5-2 visitors' lead entering the third.
Jocelyn Thibault came in to relieve Montreal starter Andy Moog to begin the third, and yielded only Kordic's goal with 5:03 left.
1998 – Eric Lindros scored twice and added an assist and John LeClair added a goal and a pair of helpers to lead Philadelphia to a 4-1 victory over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the Flyers home opener at the First Union Center.
Rod Brind’Amour also scored a goal and rookie defenseman Dmitri Tertyshny -- a sixth round selection (132nd-overall) in the 1995 entry draft, playing in his first game -- picked up an assist on Lindros' first goal to record his first NHL point.
John Vanbiesbrouck -- signed as an UFA over the summer -- turned away 21 of 22 shots to record his second straight win. After blanking the New York Rangers in the opener, he allowed his first goal of the year to Paul Kariya on a first period Ducks power play.
2010 – Jeff Carter's second goal of the game snapped a 2-2 deadlock with 2:38 remaining in regulation, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 25 saves to lead the Flyers to a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Philadelphia's home opener at the Wells Fargo Center.
Claude Giroux opened the scoring, beating Craig Anderson on a shorthanded breakaway a minute after Anderson had stoned Mike Richards on a one-on-one shorthanded chance. Richards stripped Avs' defenseman T.J. Galiardi of the puck in the neutral zone and sent Giroux in alone on the Colorado netminder. Giroux decked backhand-forehand before going up over Anderson's blocker and under the crossbar with a perfect backhander to make it 1-0 Philadelphia, who raised their 2010 Eastern Conference Champions banner to the arena’s rafters in a pre-game ceremony.
Carter doubled the Philly lead about five minutes later when he beat Anderson on a nearly carbon copy move as Giroux's. With a Richards slashing minor just expiring, Carter poked the puck away from Colorado defender Ryan Wilson at the Philadelphia blue line. With clear sailing for three-quarters of the ice surface, Carter sent Anderson's water bottle flying with a pinpoint backhander over the goalie's blocker side to make it 2-0 at the first intermission.
Brandon Yip beat Bobrovsky midway through regulation, and Milan Hejduk knotted the score when his shot just trickled through the first-year goaltender and over the goal line just 32 seconds into the third.
In the waning moments of regulation time, Carter again lit the lamp, just minutes after Bobrovsky came up big on a Kyle Quincey breakaway. Richards intercepted a pass and started a rush from his own end of the ice, working a give-and-go with James van Riemsdyk at the Colorado line. Richards sent a cross-crease feed that Carter picked up and sent a backhander from a bad angle, which seemed to catch Anderson by surprise. The puck caromed off his skate and kicked into the net for the go-ahead goal
Darroll Powe provided the clincher as he took a long Blair Betts feed along the right wing boards and hit the empty net with a backhand shot from the right circle with Anderson pulled for an extra attacker.
The victory was Bobrovsky's second in as many starts, fresh off his opening night win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center in his NHL debut.
October 11 Flyers Birthday
Miroslav Dvorak 1951 – The Flyers selected the older (31 years old at the time), diminutive Czechoslovakian defender in the third round (46th-overall) of the 1982 draft, and he came over to the U.S. and played three seasons in Philadelphia. In 193 games, Dvorak posted 11 goals, 85 points, and posted an impressive +58 rating. Dvorak passed away in June of 2008 at the age of 56.