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 a collective 12-8-1-2 mark -- which includes a 6-3-0-1 record at home -- in 23 December 15 games over the course of franchise history.
Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place in December 15 games:
1968 -- Bernie Parent turned away 36 of 37 shots and Dick Sarrazin scored twice to lead the Flyers over the New York Rangers. 3-1, at Madison Square Garden.
Jim Johnson also scored for Philadelphia midway through the first stanza to break a 1-1 tie.
Walt Tkachuk provided the only blemish in the game for Parent with an opening period goal, while Ed Giacomin made 26 saves in defeat.
1974 -- Don Saleski had two goals and four points and Bill Barber also lit the lamp twice as the Flyers grabbed a 5-0 lead on the way to a 7-2 drubbing of the St. Louis Blues at the Spectrum.
Philadelphia bolted out of the gates and carried play from the opening faceoff, outshooting St. Louis by a 25-10 count over the first two frames and leading 5-1 on the scoreboard.
Former-Blue Terry Crisp opened the scoring midway through the first, beating St. Louis starter John Davidson for a shorthanded marker with Ross Lonsberry in the sin bin. Saleski connected twice, followed by strikes from Barber and Dave Schultz before Craig Patrick got the Blues on the board late in the middle stanza.
Rick MacLeish and Barber closed out the scoring in the third.
After assisting on Saleski's first period tally, fighting Rick Wilson and scoring a goal in the middle stanza, Schultz completed the Gordie Howe hat trick.
Bernie Parent turned aside 21 of 23 shots in the victory, while Davidson made 34 saves in the loss.
1977 -- Bobby Clarke scored one goal and assisted on two others, while Wayne Stephenson made 28 saves in a 6-4 Flyers triumph over the Boston Bruins at the Spectrum.
Goals from Bob Dailey, Rick MacLeish, Bill Barber, Ross Lonsberry, and Mel Bridgman staked Philadelphia to a 5-0 lead midway through the second period, but Boston came back with a pair by Bobby Schmautz, and single strikes from Jean Ratelle and Stan Jonathan to pull to within a goal at the midpoint of the third before Clarke provided an insurance goal with 6:08 left to clinch the outcome.
Boston's Gilles Gilbert made 29 saves in the losing effort.
1979 -- Goals from Bob Dailey and Rick MacLeish midway through the third period erased a 2-1 deficit, lifting the Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at the Spectrum. The win made it 26 consecutive games without a loss (19-0-7) for Philadelphia, pulling to within two of the all-time NHL record set by the 1977/78 Montreal Canadiens.
Mel Bridgman also scored for the Flyers, and rookie netminder Pete Peeters made 25 saves to extend his number of games without a loss to begin the season to 14 as he raised his record to 12-0-2.
Sabres goaltender Don Edwards stopped 27 of 30 Flyers' shots in the loss.
1983 -- Tim Kerr and Ilkka Sinisalo each scored a pair of goals, and the Flyers put up a six-spot in the second period in a 9-4 blowout of the Washington Capitals at the Spectrum.
Washington's Mike Gartner scored on a power play late in the first to knot the game at 2-2, but Paul Holmgren not only restored the lead 31 seconds later, he gave Philly momentum at the first intermission.
It was all Flyers in the second. Included in the half-dozen middle stanza strikes were three of the shorthanded variety -- Mark Howe early in the frame, and Miroslav Dvorak and Sinisalo within a 21-second span on the same Bill Barber minor -- as Philadelphia blew the doors wide open in the contest.
Brian Propp and Rick MacLeish also scored for the Orange-and-Black, while Darryl Sittler added four assists. Rookie netminder Pelle Lindbergh made 28 saves and was the recipient of the club's biggest offensive output of the season to that point, upping his record to an impressive 12-5-2 for the campaign.
1987 -- Kerry Huffman scored midway through the second period to snap a 2-2 deadlock as the Flyers skated to a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Igloo.
Goals from Doug Crossman and Scott Mellanby gave the visitors a quick 2-0 lead, but Randy Cunneyworth beat Ron Hextall twice before the end of the opening frame to knot the score at 2-2 at the first intermission.
Following Huffman's go-ahead tally, Mark Howe connected on the power play later in the middle stanza to give Philly some breathing room. Murray Craven -- who also assisted on three of the Flyers' markers -- closed out the scoring with a shorthanded empty netter with two seconds remaining in the contest.
Hextall stopped 26 of 28 Pens shots to register the victory and extend his unbeaten streak to eight straight decisions (7-0-1).
1988 -- The Flyers got a shorthanded goal from Brian Propp, a power play tally from Gord Murphy, and an even strength marker from Murray Craven to take a commanding 3-0 lead, while Ron Hextall made 32 saves in a 4-1 triumph over the Washington Capitals at the Spectrum.
Hextall lost his bid for a shutout late in the second period when Michal Pivonka got the visitors on the scoreboard, but Tim Kerr added his 25th goal of the season early in the third period to close out the scoring.
The Caps outshot Philadelphia in each period but Hextall outplayed former-Flyer netminder Pete Peeters, who stopped 19 of 23 Philly shots in a losing effort.
1996 -- Rod Brind'Amour scored a goal and assisted on two others and Ron Hextall turned aside all 28 shots sent his way to record his second shutout of the season as the Flyers blanked the Boston Bruins, 6-0, at the CoreStates Center.
Shjon Podein, Trent Klatt, Karl Dykhuis, Eric Lindros, and Kjell Samuelsson also scored for Philadelphia, while Eric Desjardins and Joel Otto each added a pair of helpers for Philadelphia.
Boston's Bill Ranford was busy, as he faced 44 shots in the defeat.
1997 -- Vaclav Prospal, Eric Lindros, and Trent Klatt scored goals and Garth Snow stopped 20 of 21 shots to lead the Flyers to a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.
The Flyers jumped out to a 2-0 lead courtesy of first period power play goals from Prospal and Lindros, before Snow was beaten on a power play tally off the stick of former-Flyer Mark Recchi late in the frame.
There was a brawl midway through regulation in which Philadelphia's Luke Richardson took on Stephane Quintal, Brantt Myhres fought Craig Rivet, Prospal and Recchi battled, while fellow-Finns Janne Niinimaa and Saku Koivu tussled all at once, resulting in 112 PIMs and five game misconducts (two to Myhres).
2001 -- John LeClair and Mark Recchi each posted a goal and an assist, while Brian Boucher stopped 32 of 34 shots to lead the Flyers to a 5-2 triumph over the Boston Bruins at the First Union Center.
Paul Ranheim, Ruslan Fedotenko, and Jeremy Roenick also put the puck past Byron Dafoe, and Simon Gagne added a pair of helpers.
2007 -- Joffrey Lupul notched a hat trick -- including the game-tying power play goal with 8:14 to send the contest into overtime -- but former-Flyer Rod Brind'Amour scored the game-winning shootout goal to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 6-5 win at the Wachovia Center.
2010 -- The line of James van Riemsdyk (two goals), Jeff Carter (goal, two assists), and Nikolay Zherdev (goal, assist) combined for four goals and seven points and Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 38 of 41 shots as the Flyers defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 5-3, at Bell Centre.
With the score knotted at 3-3 late in the third period and Tomas Plekanec serving a slashing minor, van Riemsdyk netted his second goal of the night to give Philadelphia a lead they would not relinquish.
Claude Giroux added some insurance 1:01 later to set the final score.
Montreal's Carey Price made 25 saves in the loss.
2011 -- Andrej Meszaros' goal 8:08 into the third period snapped a 3-3 tie and lifted the Flyers to their seventh consecutive victory with a 4-3 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.
Maxime Talbot, Harry Zolnierczyk, and Wayne Simmonds also beat Carey Price, and Matt Carle assisted on three of the Philadelphia markers.
Sergei Bobrovsky played extremely well in defeating the Habs, making 28 saves to pick up the win. The young Russian was particularly good in the third period when Montreal carried play and outshot Philly, 11-6, but he Bobrovsky did not relent.
Putting a huge damper on the celebration of the team's recent good fortunes was GM Paul Holmgren's announcement following the game that the club -- already without top scorer Claude Giroux due to a concussion -- would be without captain and top blue liner Chris Pronger for the remainder of the season with post-concussion syndrome.
2013 -- Goals by Claude Giroux, Mark Streit, Sean Couturier, and Jakub Voracek staked the Flyers to a seemingly-safe 4-1 lead midway through the third period, but Washington answered with late three goals -- including Alex Ovechkin's game-tying strike with 48 seconds remaining and Philipp Grubauer pulled for an extra attacker -- as the Capitals went on to down the visitors 5-4 in a shootout at Verizon Center.
December 15 Flyers Trade:
On this day in 1996, the Flyers acquired legendary defenseman Paul Coffey from the Hartford Whalers for Kevin Haller and two draft choices. Coffey brought his free-wheeling skating stride and offensive abilities to Philly, and it paid off for some time. His effectiveness, however, became somewhat limited following a scary collision with teammate Eric Lindros in January of 1997, in which Coffey laid on the ice for several minutes and was later diagnosed with a concussion. He was never the same after the incident. In parts of two seasons with the club, he compiled eight goals and 55 points in 94 contests in Philadelphia before being dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks in June of 1998 for a draft pick.
December 15 Flyers Birthday:
Defenseman Erik Gustafsson was born in Kvisselby, Sweden on this day in 1988. After After three seasons at Northern Michigan University, the 5' 10", 180-pounder was signed as a free agent by the Flyers in March, 2010. After spending the entirety of the 2010/11 campaign and a portion of 2011/12 with the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms Gustafsson made the jump to the big club and played well in 30 regular season contests, posting a goal, five points, and a +12 rating -- which tied him for fourth-best on the club. After seeing action in only 91 NHL games spread out over parts of four seasons and making appearances in just two postseason games against the New York Rangers this past spring -- one in which he scored the game-winning goal on a breakaway against Henrik Lundqvist -- the restricted free agent threw the Flyers a curve ball by signing with Avangard Omsk of the KHL. Since he was a RFA at the time of his departure, Philadelphia retains Gustafsson's NHL rights should he desire to make a return to North America.