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Today in Philadelphia Flyers history: Mixed results in four Christmas Day contests

The NHL once had a tradition of every team playing on Christmas day, and they had games on December 25 in four of their first five years of existence.

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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 1-2-1-0 record in the four contests played on December 25 over the course of franchise history, prior to the National Hockey League ending the tradition of games being played on Christmas Day in 1971. The league also decided to discontinue games from being scheduled on Christmas Eve a year later, a day in which Philadelphia never played.

Brief recaps of the four Flyers' December 25 outings:

1967 -- Tallies from Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle, and Vic Hadfield staked the visitors to a three-goal lead through two periods, and Eddie Giacomin made 32 saves to lead the New York Rangers to an eventual 3-1 victory over the Flyers at the Spectrum in Philadelphia's inaugural season Christmas day contest.

Bernie Parent stopped 33 of the 36 Blue Shirts shots he faced in dropping his second straight start, while Ed Hoekstra spoiled Giacomin's shutout bid with a power play goal late in the third period.

1968 -- Dick Sarrazin's shorthanded goal midway through regulation gave Philly a 2-1 lead, but Reg Fleming scored the game-tying marker at the midpoint of the final frame as the Flyers and Rangers skated to a 2-2 draw at the Spectrum.

Ron Stewart opened the scoring with a shorthanded tally late in the first, but Philadelphia's Brit Selby answered less than three minutes later to send the teams to their respective dressing rooms tied up at 1-1.

Doug Favell was busy in the Flyers' crease but stopped 36 of the 38 Rangers' shots he faced, while Gilles Villemure made 23 saves in the deadlock.

1969 -- First period goals from Jim Johnson, Dick Cherry, and Simon Nolet staked Philadelphia to a 3-0 lead, while Doug Favell made 31 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Oakland Seals at the Spectrum.

Gerry Ehman ruined Favell's chances for a shutout when he notched a power play tally early in the second period for the Seals' lone goal, while Oakland goaltender Gary Smith saw 45 Flyers' shots.

1971 -- Bobby Clarke gave the visitors a 1-0 lead after one period of play, but the big, bad Boston Bruins took over complete control of the final 40 minutes in a 5-1 rout of the Flyers at Boston Garden.

Bobby Orr shifted the momentum squarely in favor of the home squad with a goal just 54 seconds into the middle stanza, and strikes from Ken Hodge Sr. and Phil Esposito before the second intermission made it a 3-1 Bruins' lead heading into the final frame.

Things didn't get any better for Philadelphia as Boston held a lopsided 22-8 shots advantage over the course of the last session, and claimed the only two goals of the third from Wayne Cashman and Derek Sanderson.

After finishing the opening period even with seven shots apiece, the Bruins poured 38 more on Doug Favell and Bruce Gamble -- who relieved Favell following Cashman's tally -- while the Flyers managed just 16 over the final two stanzas. Gerry Cheevers settled in following Clarke's first period marker, finishing the contest with 22 saves.

Hodge Sr. added three assists to figure in on four of the five Boston goals, while Cashman -- who would end up becoming the 11th coach in Flyers' franchise history in 1997 -- added a pair of helpers to go along with his third period tally.

Flyers' December 25 birthdays:

Checking line center Jim Dowd was born in nearby Brick, N.J. on this day in 1968. The journeyman began his NHL career with the New Jersey Devils during the 1991/92 campaign, and Philadelphia became his 10th and final NHL club when he was inked as an unrestricted free agent in 2007 at the age of 39. Dowd saw action in 71 Flyers' games that season, posting five goals (including one shorthander), 10 points, and 41 PIMs. He was one of the character guys added during the summer of 2007 that helped bring about a heightened defensive conscience to the team, which made a return to the postseason a year after the worst Philly team in franchise history. In 17 playoff games in the spring of 2008, Dowd recorded a goal, three points, and four PIMs.   Chelyabinsk,