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October 9 in Philadelphia Flyers History: Barber's 400th, Hextall's sensational NHL debut

Barber notches goal #400, Hextall stones the powerful Oilers offense in NHL debut, Lindros posts GWG in first Spectrum game, Beezer and Hackett each post shutouts in Flyer debuts.

Paul Bereswill

A sometimes-frequent 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. They say it's tough to not go on repeating history, but there is nothing wrong with keeping the memories of great occasions alive and well

Heading into tonight's home-opener against the New Jersey Devils at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers have had great success in games played on October 9 throughout franchise history. They own a 11-2-2-1 record in 16 all-time contests played on this day, including an 8-0-1 mark at home.

1975: Reggie Leach snapped a 4-4 tie with 1:59 remaining in the third period to lift the Flyers to a 5-4 victory over the Washington Capitals at the Spectrum.

The game looked to be well in hand for the Orange-and-Black as they nursed a two-goal lead, but goals by Stan Gilbertson and Blair Stewart late in the third set the stage for Leach's heroics.

Philadelphia besieged former-Flyer netminder Michel Belhumeur with 50 shots over the night, including 19 in the final frame.

In addition to Leach's game-winner, the Flyers also received goals from Bobby Clarke, Rick MacLeish, Bill Barber, and Mel Bridgman (the first in the NHL for the number one overall pick in that year's draft).

1980: Bill Barber, Yves Preston, and Al Hill each scored a pair of goals as the Flyers torched Greg Millen and the Pittsburgh Penguins 7-4 at the Spectrum.

1983: Tim Kerr and Bill Barber each scored twice and Pelle Lindbergh stopped 28 shots as the Flyers demolished the Penguins by a 7-1 count at the Spectrum.

Kerr gave Philadelphia the lead just 29 seconds into the game, followed by Barber's first of the night 11 seconds later. The goal was the 400th of the Hall-of-Famer's career, becoming only the 19th NHLer to hit the plateau at that time.

1986: Goaltender Ron Hextall made his NHL debut in a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers at the Spectrum.

The fiery netminder -- who outplayed incumbent Bob Froese during the exhibition season by posting a 4-0 record with a 1.75 goals-against average, wrestling away the opening night starting job -- had the worst possible start when he allowed a goal on the very first shot of the game. Jari Kurri notched a power play goal with Rick Tocchet in the sin bin just over two minutes into the contest, but Hextall slammed the door shut the rest of the way on perhaps the greatest offensive machine the league has ever seen.

On top of some miraculous stops, Hextall also stoned three Oilers -- Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey, and Esa Tikkanen -- on breakaways to keep his team in the contest.

Ron Sutter knotted the game at 1-1 when he beat Grant Fuhr midway through the third period, and Peter Zezel provided the game-winning strike with just over five and a half minutes remaining in regulation.

It was obvious to Flyers brass that they had something special in Hextall, but the loss of the number one duties did not sit well with Froese. After serving as Pelle Lindbergh's backup for several seasons, he felt he deserved to be the club's starter following Pelle's passing in a car accident the previous November.

While Hextall continued to prove Mike Keenan's decision to go with the rookie was indeed the correct call, Froese's unhappiness festered before he was eventually dealt to the New York Rangers in exchange for hulking defenseman Kjell Samuelsson in December.

1988: Ron Sutter scored his second goal of the game 2:44 into overtime to lift the Flyers to a 5-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at the Spectrum.

Down 4-3 in the final minute of regulation and with goalie Ron Hextall pulled for an extra attacker, Peter Zezel tied things up with 30 seconds left to force overtime.

1992: Rookie Eric Lindros, who had notched his first NHL goal in his first contest in Pittsburgh, posted the game-winning tally late in the third period to pull out a 6-4 triumph over the New Jersey Devils at the Spectrum.

Trailing 4-3 heading into the final frame, defenseman Brian Benning knotted the score with his second goal of the game midway through the period to set up Lindros' heroics.

Rod Brind'Amour added an empty net marker and a pair of assists, and Dominic Roussel made 33 saves to pick up the win.

1993: Kevin Dineen and Josef Beranek each scored a pair of first period goals as the Flyers beat starter Mario Gosselin five times in the first period and cruised to a 5-2 victory over the Hartford Whalers at the Hartford Civic Center.

1997: Defenseman Chris Joseph broke a 1-1 tie midway through the third period and Ron Hextall stopped 19 of 20 shots as the Flyers defeated the Penguins 3-1 at the CoreStates Center.

The goal was Joseph's first and only tally in a Philadelphia uniform.

Eric Lindros scored a first period goal, and set up Shjon Podein for the clinching empty-netter with nine seconds remaining and Tom Barrasso pulled for the extra skater.

1998: Alexandre Daigle scored the game's lone goal in the second period, and John Vanbiesbrouck stopped all 20 shots he faced in his Flyers debut as he shutout his former team in a 1-0 triumph over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

2003: Mark Recchi and Michal Handzus scored early third period power play goals, and Jeff Hackett turned aside all 17 shots sent his way in his Flyers debut in a 2-0 win over the Sabres at the Wachovia Center.