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 managed an 11-3-2-2 overall record -- which includes a nine-game undefeated stretch (8-0-1) from 1973-1988, and a sparkling 7-0-0-2 mark on home ice -- in 18 December 22 outings over the course of franchise history.
Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place on December 22:
1973 -- Bobby Clarke snapped a 2-2 tie with 8:12 remaining in the third period and Bernie Parent stopped 26 of 28 shots to lift the Flyers to a 4-2 triumph over the Chicago Blackhawks at the Spectrum.
The game was tied heading into the final stanza, but Stan Mikita gave the visitors the lead with a power play tally at 1:14. Simon Nolet evened things up just under three minutes later, setting the stage for Clarke's game-winner.
Dave Schultz also scored in the opening frame, and Barry Ashbee hit the empty net with two seconds left and 'Hawks netminder Tony Esposito pulled for an extra attacker as Chicago attempted to forge a tie.
Bill Barber added a pair of helpers to the winning cause, while Parent won his third straight start -- and only having lost once in his last 15 decisions (10-1-4) -- to improve his season record to 19-6-4.
1974 -- Bernie Parent turned away all 24 shots he faced to post his sixth shutout of the season, and he received goal support from four different skaters as the Flyers blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-0, at the Spectrum.
Rick MacLeish's shorthanded tally midway through the middle stanza was all Parent would require in this one, and late-period strikes from Reggie Leach and Ross Lonsberry and a third period marker from Bob Kelly gave ample breathing room as the legendary netminder posted the 28th regular season shutout in a Flyers' uniform.
Bobby Clarke and Ed Van Impe each added a pair of helpers.
1979 -- Goals by Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, and Kenny Linseman staked the Flyers to an early 3-0 lead, and Phil Myre stopped 18 of 20 shots as the 'The Streak' reached 29 games to set a new NHL record for the longest stretch of games without tasting defeat in a 5-2 victory over the Boston Bruins.
Boston Garden had been something of a house of horrors for Philadelphia throughout the years -- as their overall 14-37-9 record against the Bruins in both regular season and playoff contests would attest -- including a disastrous 0-23-4 mark from 1969 into 1974, and 4-20-6 all-time showing at the Garden.
With the Flyers leading 3-0 early in the second period, Boston mounted a counterstrike. Goals from Tom Songin and Mike Milbury in a 1:07 span brought the home team back to within a goal, but defenseman Jimmy Watson beat Gilles Gilbert just 30 seconds later to restore a two-goal cushion, and Bob Kelly closed out the scoring in the final session as the Flyers made history.
Myre -- who improved his personal record to 9-0-5 during the undefeated run -- said despite heading into a hostile environment where Philly had not fared well, he noticed an air of confidence exuding from his teammates.
"The best memory I have of that night is how confident this team was, there was no way we were going to lose that game," Myre recollected during an exclusive telephone interview. "I felt that from the team in front of me throughout the game, that they weren't going to lose that game. It just wasn't going to happen."
Some other notable quotes regarding the record-breaking 29th consecutive contest without a loss from exclusive interviews conducted with members of that amazing team:
"When we tied the record, it was already an amazing feat," rookie sensation Brian Propp pointed out. "But when we broke the record in Boston -- where the Flyers hadn't won in years – it showed the world that we were one of the best teams ever assembled. After we passed the 28 games without a loss, we kept on cruising because we had built up the feeling of winning every game. We knew we had to lose sometime, but we all hated to lose."
"We got the job done and got out of there," Barber said, recalling an injury of his own suffered during the contest. "And believe me when I say there were a lot of stitches, bumps and bruises in that game. It was like a war, we were banged up pretty good in that game. I remember receiving stitches to my head. I was sitting on the bench near the end of the first period, and never made it out for the third period. I had a real bad gash on my head. One of the linesman had jumped up on the glass and kind of clipped me in the head."
Philadelphia's 29-game unbeaten streak -- which began innocently enough following a 9-2 drubbing at the hands of the Flames in Atlanta in the second contest of the season -- consisted of 20 wins and nine ties, shattering the previous mark set two years earlier by the Montreal Canadiens.
The win gave the Flyers an amazing 21-1-9 record at the 31-game mark and a large lead for first place overall among NHL clubs.
For the goalie, there was one lasting, vivid image that stands out above the rest.
"The thing that I remember most is (head coach) Pat Quinn walking down the ice and coming over to congratulate me in the net like the players do," Myre told me. "As a matter of fact, there was a picture of that in Time Magazine."
1982 -- Ron Flockhart's second goal of the game snapped a 1-1 tie early in the second period and Pelle Lindbergh turned away 27 of 28 shots to lead the Flyers to a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils at Brendan Byrne Arena.
Mark Howe gave Lindbergh some breathing room with a shorthanded marker midway through the middle stanza.
1983 -- Ray Allison posted a pair of goals and an assist and Pelle Lindbergh stopped all 29 shots he faced as the Flyers skated to a 5-0 whitewash of the New Jersey Devils at the Spectrum. The shutout was Lindbergh's first of the year and fourth of his young career.
Doug Crossman opened the scoring with a late first period power play tally, then a pair from Allison and one from Paul Holmgren in the second chased Devils starter Glenn Resch. Ron Low relieved "Chico" and yielded only Tim Kerr's 24th of the season out of the 16 shots he faced in the final frame.
1985 -- Murray Craven scored at 2:12 of overtime to lift the Flyers to a 3-2 triumph over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Spectrum.
The clubs traded second period goals -- with Mario Lemieux giving Pittsburgh the lead and tough guy Dave Brown knotting it at 1-1 just 54 seconds later -- in a middle frame that saw the visitors outshoot Philly by a 13-4 margin.
Ilkka Sinisalo's 18th of the season put Philadelphia ahead 2-1 early in the third, but Terry Ruskowski evened things up with 7:50 remaining in regulation.
Bob Froese turned aside 25 of 27 shots to pick up the win.
1987 -- Rick Tocchet notched a pair of goals and three points and Ron Hextall made 30 saves to lead the Flyers to a 6-4 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Trailing 2-0 on two John Ogrodnick goals early in the opening period, Philadelphia got markers from Tocchet, Derrick Smith, and Pelle Eklund in a 4:10 stretch to take a 3-2 lead into the locker room at the first intermission.
The teams each scored twice in the middle stanza -- with Murray Craven and Mark Howe providing the offense for the Flyers, and Walt Poddubny and Tomas Sandstrom for the Blue Shirts -- to make it a 5-4 Philly lead heading into the final frame.
Hextall had to be very good in the third as N.Y. outshot the visitors, 14-4, and Tocchet sealed the win with his second of the contest with 7:55 left.
In addition to his second period goal, Howe also added a pair of helpers to the winning effort.
1988 -- Ron Sutter scored twice and Ron Hextall stopped 26 of 28 shots as the Flyers skated out of Nassau Coliseum with a 4-2 triumph over the New York Islanders. The victory made it nine consecutive contests without a loss for the Orange-and-Black (8-0-1).
Brian Propp and Jeff Chychrun also scored, with Chychrun's first NHL goal coming in the second period and ending up as the game-winner. Tim Kerr and Jay Wells each added two assists apiece.
The win was the sixth in a row for Hextall, and gave him a personal eight-game unbeaten streak (7-0-1).
1991 -- Brad Jones scored 1:10 into overtime to give the Flyers a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals at the Spectrum.
Defensemen Kjell Samuelsson and Steve Duchesne scored goals 1:12 apart in the opening period as the teams went into the third period tied at 2-2. Rod Brind'Amour gave Philadelphia a 3-2 lead midway through the stanza, but Kelly Miller knotted the game with 44 seconds remaining in regulation.
Ken Wregget made 25 saves to garner the victory, while Don Beaupre stopped 24 of 28 Flyer offerings in defeat.
1996 -- Eric Lindros scored twice within a 48 second span in the second period to erase a 2-0 deficit and Garth Snow turned away 25 of 27 shots to help the Flyers salvage a 2-2 deadlock with the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.
Chicago took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission on goals from Sergei Krivokrasov and Tony Amonte, but things turned around in the second. Lindros got Philadelphia on the board via the power play just seven seconds after a James Black slashing minor, and tied the score with an even strength marker less than a minute later.
Krivokrasov's goal came at 2:38 of the opening frame and snapped a club record streak of scoreless play at 265:08, in which the Flyers had recorded four consecutive shutouts.
Eddie Belfour made 30 saves -- including the only two in the extra session -- to earn the draw.
2001 -- Mark Recchi set up Jeremy Roenick for a third period game-tying goal, then beat Arturs Irbe for his second of the contest just 27 seconds into overtime to give the Flyers a 4-3 triumph over the Carolina Hurricanes at the First Union Center.
Both teams scored once in each period, with Recchi, Simon Gagne, and Roenick doing the honors for Philadelphia. Sami Kapanen posted a goal and an assist for Carolina.
Donald Brashear -- playing in his second game since being acquired in a trade from the Vancouver Canucks for Jan Hlavac -- notched his first point as a Flyer with an assist on Recchi's first period marker.
Brian Boucher stopped 20 of 23 shots to post the win.
2005 -- Simon Gagne -- who played for the first time after missing five games with a groin strain -- scored once and assisted on another goal and Antero Niittymaki made 25 saves as the Flyers built a 4-0 second period lead, and held on for a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators at the Wachovia Center. It was head coach Ken Hitchcock's 700th game behind an NHL bench.
Mike Knuble, Sami Kapanen, R.J. Umberger, and Gagne beat Dominik Hasek to make it 4-0 midway through regulation, but tallies from Zdeno Chara, Antoine Vermette, and Mike Fisher brought the visitors back to within the slightest of margins.
Peter Forsberg posted a pair of assists in the win.
2007 -- Mike Richards fought Nathan Paetsch in the first period, scored two goals in the second, and added an assist on a Kimmo Timonen third period marker to register a Gordie Howe hat trick, but the Flyers dropped the decision when Thomas Vanek beat Martin Biron for the game-winning goal with just eight seconds remaining in regulation to give the Buffalo Sabres a 6-5 victory at the Wachovia Center.