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Today in Philadelphia Flyers history: 'Streak' reaches 23, Niittymaki's perfect game douses Flames

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Hat tricks from 'Rifle' and LeClair, 'The Streak' extends to 23 games, Flockey Hockey sets franchise record for two fastest goals, Niitty's 'perfect' game, and Carter's OT-winner highlight December 6 in Flyers' history

Andre Ringuette

An almost-daily 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

Heading into his afternoon's contest with the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center, December 6 has not been the kindest of days to the Flyers as they have managed just a 6-9-4-0 all-time record in 19 games played on this day. It has, however, gotten better in recent years for the Orange-and-Black, as they've posted a 4-1-1-0 in their last half-dozen December 6 outings since 1996, with their last two outings ending in extra time victories.

Today brings the second December 6 meeting between the Flyers and Kings, with the first ending in a 9-4 Philadelphia victory at the Spectrum in 1979.

1974 -- Reggie Leach scored his second goal of the game with 7:48 remaining in the third period to enable the Flyers to gain a 3-3 tie with the Kansas City Scouts at Kemper Arena, just five days after Philadelphia had laid a 10-0 pasting on the expansion franchise at the Spectrum.

Goals from Leach and Bob Kelly in the first 3:46 after the opening faceoff gave this one the appearance of the beginning of another rout, but Lynn Powis cut Kansas City's deficit in half before the end of the period, and Randy Rota beat Bernie Parent twice in the middle frame to give the Scouts a 3-2 lead at the second intermission.

The Flyers dominated the third period by a 12-3 shots on goal advantage, and Leach -- in his first season with the club after being acquired from the California Golden Seals in the previous offseason -- was able to beat Michel Plasse to knot the score and help Philly garner a point from the contest. The markers gave Leach six goals in his last four outings, and extended his point-scoring streak to eight games (8-4-12).

Parent finished the game with 17 saves, giving him a 3-0-1 mark in his last four contests.

1979 -- Reggie Leach notched his fifth Flyers' regular season hat trick as Philadelphia overcame a 3-0 deficit to bombard the Los Angeles Kings 9-4 at the Spectrum, extending their undefeated streak to 23 games (17-0-6). 'The Streak' was now within five games of the NHL record set by the 1977/78 Montreal Canadiens, but it looked to be in serious jeopardy early on.

Down 3-0 after one period, Leach struck twice in a 20-second span to kick off a six-goal Flyers' second period, one in which they dominated by a 24-10 shot count. Ken Linseman and Dennis Ververgaert connected within a 25-second stretch midway through the frame, and Bill Barber and Jim Watson also scored.

Seeing his three-goal lead reversed into a 6-3 deficit, Kings' coach Bob Berry pulled goaltender Ron Grahame after the second in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

It didn't work out the way Berry had hoped..

Linseman notched his second of the contest midway through the third, and goals from Bob Dailey and Leach's hat trick goal in just over a minute apart made it a 9-3 score with 8:27 remaining.

The second period had been chippy, which resulted in three fights, and the lopsided score raised the temperature between the two clubs over the boiling point in the latter stages of the final stanza. With less than six minutes left, rugged defenseman Randy Holt drilled Linseman along the boards in the Flyers' offensive zone left wing corner, then proceeded to pummel him when he fell to the ice. The bench-clearing brawl that ensued resulted in 70 penalty minutes being doled out between the clubs.

1981 -- Ron Flockhart scored twice in an eight-second span to set a Flyers' record for fastest goals scored by the same player, and Pete Peeters stopped 20 of 22 shots in an 8-2 dismantling of the St. Louis Blues at the Spectrum.

Barber scored twice in the first period as the game was knotted at 2-2 into the middle session, when defender Mark Botell recorded his first NHL goal to give Philadelphia a lead they would not relinquish. Glen Cochrane, Brian Propp, and Bobby Clarke also scored in addition to Flockhart's quick pair.

1984 -- Tim Kerr scored the only Flyers' goal in the second period, and thanks to Pelle Lindbergh's 31-save effort and Quebec goalie Dan Bouchard's 38-save performance the game ended in a 1-1 draw with the Nordiques at the Spectrum.

1996 -- Dale Hawerchuk snapped a 3-3 deadlock with 8:25 remaining in regulation and Ron Hextall made 33 saves to lead the Flyers to a 6-3 victory over the Dallas Stars at Reunion Arena.

Goals by Rod Brind'Amour, Trent Klatt, and John LeClair staked the visitors to a 3-1 lead heading into the final stanza, but Mike Modano and Derian Hatcher both scored within a 27-second stretch to tie the game early in the period. Following Hawerchuk's go-ahead marker, Mikael Renberg iced the game with a two strikes of his own as Philadelphia won going away.

2000 -- John LeClair broke a 3-3 tie with 3:40 left on the way to his 10th Flyers' regular season hat trick as Philadelphia downed the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3 at the First Union Center.

Simon Gagne, Justin Williams, and Paul Ranheim also lit the lamp for the Flyers, while Vincent Lecavalier led the Bolts back from a 3-1 deficit after two periods with a goal and an assist to even the score before LeClair's tie-breaker.

It would be the lone three-goal outing of the campaign for LeClair, who would be limited to just 16 contests due to back-related issues.

2003 -- Mark Recchi's second period goal and Jeff Hackett's performance salvaged a point for the Flyers in a 1-1 draw with the Boston Bruins at FleetCenter in the midst of a major snow storm in Boston.

Boston badly outplayed Philadelphia -- especially in the first and third periods, when they outshot the visitors by 15-3 and 13-5 counts, respectively -- but Hackett finished with 38 saves to help the Flyers steal a point.

2005 -- Unlike Major League Baseball pitchers there is no such thing as a category for a 'perfect game' for NHL goaltenders, but Flyers' netminder Antero Niittymaki was absolutely perfect over the course of the entire contest in a 1-0 shootout victory over Miikka Kiprusoff and the Calgary Flames at the Wachovia Center.

It was Niitymaki's first career shutout, and it was surely an amazing way to get it.

He turned away all 28 Calgary shots through regulation and overtime, then stopped Kristian Huselius, Jarome Iginla, and Tony Amonte in succession in the game-deciding skills competition, while Mike Richards finally beat 'Kipper' in the first round of the shootout to procure the victory.

The game also marked the first time since the shootout was introduced to the league following the 2005 lockout season that a scoreless game was decided in the follow-up to an overtime that failed to produce a winner.

2008 -- Jeff Carter beat Michael Leighton 3:34 into overtime to give the Flyers a 2-1 triumph over the Carolina Hurricanes at RBC Center.

Carter won a faceoff from former-Flyer Rod Brind'Amour and whipped a shot through Leighton's five-hole for his 19th goal of the season, tying him with Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres for the NHL-lead.

The other Philadelphia goal came from Mike Richards during a first period penalty kill. It was Richards' 11th goal of the year and fourth shorthanded, and also marked the 11th shorthander the Flyers had tallied for the campaign.

Philly netminder Antero Niittymaki was spectacular, thwarting 35 of 36 'Canes shots -- which included five saves in overtime -- to win his third in a row and improve his record to 4-1-2 for the year.

December 6 Flyers' trades

1985 -- Philadelphia sent center Lenny Hachborn to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for cash. The Brantford, Ontario-native posted 16 goals and 54 points in 78 regular season appearances over parts of two seasons, but had a tough time consistently cracking a mid-80's Flyers lineup that was stacked at forward.

2002 -- The Flyers swapped defensemen with the San Jose Sharks when they sent Dan McGillis westward in exchange for Marcus Ragnarsson. In parts of six seasons with Philadelphia, McGillis posted 32 goals, 140 points, and 303 PIMs in 320 regular season contests, and five goals, 14 points, and 48 PIMs in 40 postseason games. Ragnarsson fit in well on the Flyers' defense corps, recording nine goals, 24 points, and 90 PIMs in 113 regular season outings, and one goal, six points, and 20 PIMs in 27 playoff tilts. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, Ragnarsson decided to remain in Sweden once the 2005 NHL lockout resolved.