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 own a gaudy 14-6-1-1 overall record -- which includes five (1967-1976) and six-game (1989-2000) winning streaks, and a torrid 9-3-0-1 mark at home -- on December 16 over the course of franchise history.
Philadelphia has scored 75 goals and yielded just 51 to their opponents in 22 games played on this day. The Flyers blanked their opponents in three of the first four December 16 contests, and allowed just two goals in their first five December 16 outings.
Some of the more memorable December 16 moments from franchise history:
1967 -- Lou Angotti beat Glenn Hall with less than a minute left in the second period and Bernie Parent turned away all 25 shots he faced to record his first shutout with the Flyers in a 1-0 decision over the St. Louis Blues at St. Louis Arena.
The whitewash was his second in the NHL, with the first coming in his initial season in 1965/66 with the Boston Bruins.
1971 -- Serge Bernier scored twice and added an assist and Doug Favell stopped all 35 shots he faced to post a shutout as the Flyers defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 5-0, at the Spectrum.
Dick Sarrazin, Bill Clement, and Gary Dornhoefer also scored for Philadelphia.
1972 -- Bobby Clarke scored once and assisted on another goal and Michel Belhumeur turned aside 18 of 19 shots as the Flyers downed the New York Islanders, 2-1, at Nassau Coliseum.
Clarke opened the scoring with a power play goal 5:40 into the second period, then set up Bob Kelly for an even-strength strike 10 minutes later to give the visitors a 2-0 lead at the second intermission.
Germain Gagnon ruined Belhumeur's shutout bid with 31 seconds left in the game. Billy Smith made 28 saves in the losing effort.
1973 -- Bill Barber notched a goal and an assist and Bernie Parent made 25 saves for his seventh shutout of the season to lead the Flyers to a 4-0 triumph over the New York Islanders at the Spectrum.
Rick MacLeish, Don Saleski, and Bill Clement also lit the lamp for the Orange-and-Black, and Bobby Clarke and Gary Dornhoefer each added a pair of assists.
1976 -- Larry Goodenough, Rick MacLeish, Gary Dornhoefer, and Bobby Clarke scored goals and Bernie Parent stopped 19 of 20 shots as the Flyers went on to a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at the Spectrum.
Parent had a shutout until late in the third period, until Darcy Rota finally solved him with 6:39 remaining in the contest.
Chicago's Tony Esposito made 42 saves in defeat.
1979 -- Bill Barber scored a shorthanded goal in the first period and Phil Myre made 34 saves as the Flyers and New York Rangers skated to a 1-1 deadlock at Madison Square Garden. The tie made it 27 consecutive games for Philadelphia without a loss (19-0-8), now just one short of the NHL mark of 28 set by the 1977/78 Montreal Canadiens.
Philly now had four days off before a date with destiny and a chance to tie the mark, with a matchup slated with the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 20 at the Spectrum.
1981 -- Bill Barber's power play goal 6:19 into the third period snapped a 3-3 tie and propelled the Flyers to a 7-3 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Goals by Mark Botell, Ray Allison, and Glen Cochrane were good enough for a 3-all deadlock after two frames, and Bob Hoffmeyer, Brian Propp, and Ron Flockhart beat Steve Weeks following Barber's go-ahead marker. Hoffmeyer and Allison each added two assists apiece.
Rick St. Croix made 25 saves in the victory.
1982 -- Bobby Clarke scored a pair of goals and assisted on two others and Pelle Lindbergh turned away 38 of 40 shots as the Flyers blew the Detroit Red Wings out of the Spectrum by a 7-2 score. Brian Propp also scored twice, while Paul Holmgren, Darryl Sittler, and Ray Allison also put the puck past Detroit netminder Greg Stefan.
Mark Howe and Ron Flockhart each added three helpers apiece.
1989 -- Gord Murphy, Mike Bullard, Rick Tocchet, and Ilkka Sinisalo all scored within a five-minute span in the second period to lead the Flyers to a 5-2 triumph over the Los Angeles Kings at the Spectrum.
Doug Sulliman also scored for Philadelphia, and Pelle Eklund added two assists.
Philly's Ken Wregget stopped 29 of 31 shots to pick up the victory, while L.A. starter Kelly Hrudey was yanked after allowing all five goals midway through regulation to take the loss before giving way to Mario Lessard.
1990 -- Rick Tocchet scored with 51 seconds remaining in the second period to break a 2-2 deadlock en route to a 4-2 Flyers victory over the Winnipeg Jets at Winnipeg Arena.
Gord Murphy opened the scoring for Philadelphia but goals by Brent Ashton and Craig Duncanson staked the Jets to a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
Stephane Beauregard made that lead stand up until late in the middle stanza, when Dale Kushner tied it up with 3:26 left and Tocchet's go-ahead marker in the frame's final minute.
Pelle Eklund sealed the outcome when he beat Beauregard with 2:37 remaining in regulation.
Ron Hextall made 19 saves to post the win.
1993 -- Mark Recchi's late-second period tally snapped a 2-2 tie and Dominic Roussel made 16 saves as the Flyers defeated the Quebec Nordiques, 3-2, at the Spectrum.
Mikael Renberg and Josef Beranek beat future-Flyers' netminder Garth Snow in the first period, while Chris Lindberg and Joe Sakic struck for Quebec.
1995 -- Rod Brind'Amour's second goal of the game early in the third period proved to be the game-winner and Ron Hextall turned aside 23 of 25 shots to lead the Flyers to a 4-2 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens at the Forum.
Shjon Podein posted a shorthanded marker in the second period, Eric Lindros notched his 20th of the year with 1:43 remaining in regulation to clinch the win, and Pat Falloon assisted on two of the Philadelphia goals.
1999 -- Late third period goals from John LeClair and Mark Recchi erased a 3-2 deficit as the Flyers came-from-behind to post a 5-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at the First Union Center. The win extended the club's streak without a loss at home to 10 games (9-0-1).
A pair of markers off the stick of Keith Tkachuk and one by Dallas Drake were one better than Philadelphia's two from Dan McGillis and Keith Jones, staking Phoenix to a 3-2 lead at the second intermission.
LeClair began the comeback with 2:48 left in regulation to tie, then Recchi capped off a three-way passing play with McGillis and LeClair to give the Flyers their first lead of the night 1:43 later to make it 3-2 with 1:05 remaining. Jody Hull hit the empty net with 29 seconds left on the clock.
Recchi increased his span of games with at least one point to 11, and also took over the NHL lead in assists with 29.
John Vanbiesbrouck made 14 saves in the victory, while Bob Essensa stopped 33 of 37 Flyers shots in the loss.
The victory was also the first for the team since Roger Neilson announced he was battling bone marrow cancer. The head coach was shown on the jumbotron at the first stoppage in play of the contest, which brought about an ever-increasing roar from the Flyers' faithful while players from both sides tapped their respective sticks on the boards and ice to show their support.
The ovation was so great that officials held off momentarily on commencing with the ensuing faceoff.
"Knowing that all the people here are behind you and pulling for you is a great feeling," Neilson said of the show of support following the game.
2000 -- Simon Gagne posted a pair of goals and three points, Rick Tocchet managed a Gordie Howe hat trick, and Roman Cechmanek stopped 30 of 33 shots as the Flyers downed the New Jersey Devils, 6-3, at the First Union Center.
Goals by Daymond Langkow, Tocchet, and Ruslan Fedotenko staked the home squad to a 3-1 lead at the first intermission, and Gagne's first of the contest early in the middle frame made it 4-1. But Flyer-killer Patrik Elias scored and Alexander Mogilny connected for his second of the game to pull N.J. within a goal at 4-3 heading into the third period.
With the outcome still hanging in the balance late in regulation, 6' 8", 250-pound defenseman Chris McAllister scored his first goal as a Flyer and Gagne notched his second of the night just 21 seconds later to put the game away.
Tocchet assisted on Langkow's marker and notched a goal of his own during the first period, then fought Randy McKay in the middle session to complete the Gordie Howe feat. He added a second helper with an assist on Gagne's second period tally.
Langkow and defenseman Luke Richardson each contributed two assists to the winning cause.
2007 -- Even though he would score later in the contest, Daniel Briere was stoned by Martin Brodeur on a penalty shot midway through the second period with the score tied at 1-1 in an eventual 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils at Continental Airlines Arena.
2008 -- Mike Richards and Simon Gagne each scored one goal and assisted on two others, while Antero Niittymaki stopped 29 of 31 shots to lead the Flyers to a 5-2 triumph over the Colorado Avalanche at the Wachovia Center.
All of the opening period markers came via special teams as Paul Stastny notched a power play goal to give Colorado a 1-0 lead, but a power play strike from Mike Knuble and a shorthanded tally by Jeff Carter -- his 22nd goal of the season -- gave the home team a 2-1 lead after one.
Philadelphia extended their lead in the middle frame on goals from Joffrey Lupul and Richards 1:18 apart to make it 4-2 at the second intermission.
Gagne added a power play marker early in the third to close out the scoring.
Kimmo Timonen assisted on two Philly goals, while Richards stretched his point-scoring streak to eight games, in which he notched seven goals and 15 points.
2014 -- Peter Forsberg was honored in a ceremony for his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, but the Flyers couldn't take advantage of the pre-game momentum in an eventual 3-1 home defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It was the NHL debut of Bolts goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, and the home team opened the scoring with a first period tally by Wayne Simmonds. But Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson answered in the middle session, and Vasilevskiy wouldn't yield anything else the rest of the way as Philly's five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2) came to an abrupt halt.
The loss was the sixth straight against Tampa Bay as the Flyers continued their struggles against their southern opponent, with their record dropping to 3-12-1 over the course of their last 16 meetings since the 2010-11 campaign.
December 16 Flyers Trades:
On this day in 2002, the Flyers traded defensive prospect Jeff Woywitka, a 2004 first-round draft pick (turned out to be Robbie Schremp), and a 2005 third-round selection (ended up being Danny Syvret; so this is technically the first time of many that Philadelphia dealt the defender) to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for 23-year-old forward Mike Comrie. The Edmonton, Alberta-native had one 30-goal season under his belt when he came to Philly, but lasted less than two months with the Flyers. He posted four goals, nine points, a +2 rating and 12 PIMs in 21 games, before being sent to the Phoenix Coyotes for goaltender Sean Burke and forwards Branko Radivojevic and Ben Eager in early-February.
On this day in 2006, Philadelphia sent defenseman Freddy Meyer and a conditional draft choice to the New York Islanders for veteran rear guard Alexei Zhitnik. The then 34-year-old would spend just 31 games with the Flyers -- posting three goals, 13 points, and a -16 rating -- during the worst season in franchise history. What he did for the team during that short stretch wasn't nearly as important as what he brought to Philly when he was dealt to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for 21-year-old defender Braydon Coburn, who has continued to be one of the leaders on the current Flyers blue line.