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 put together an impressive 9-6-1-0 overall record -- which includes a 7-3-0-0 mark at home -- in 16 games that took place on December 7 over the course of franchise history. Philadelphia won six straight December 7 contests between 1980 and 1995, but have dropped four of the last five tilts played on this day since 2002.
Some of the more memorable moments and brief recaps in Flyers history that took place in December 7 games:
1972 -- Bill Flett scored twice, Bobby Clarke figured in on four goals, and goaltender Michel Belhumeur stopped 30 of 32 shots as the Flyers blitzed the Minnesota North Stars, 6-2, at the Spectrum. It was Philadelphia's second win in a row and fourth straight game without a loss (2-0-2).
Minnesota's Dean Prentice gave the visitors a lead just 36 seconds after the opening faceoff, but tallies from Clarke and Flett turned the game around by the first intermission.
Belhumeur received additional offensive support from Rick MacLeish, Gary Dornhoefer, Tom Bladon, and Flett's second of the contest to pick up his second win of the year.
The goal and three assists gave Clarke five goals and 11 points in a torrid four-game point-scoring streak.
Minnesota's Caesar Maniago made 32 saves in the loss.
1975 -- Reggie Leach scored a pair of goals and Wayne Stephenson made 20 saves to lead the Flyers to a 6-1 triumph over the Minnesota North Stars at the Spectrum.
Goals by Gary Dornhoefer, Joe Watson, and Bill Barber staked Philadelphia to a 3-0 lead after one, and they never looked back the rest of the way. Don Saleski also lit the lamp for Philly.
Rick MacLeish had three helpers for the Flyers, who totally dominated the first and third periods -- outshooting Minnesota 16-4 in the opening frame and 21-5 in the final stanza.
Pete LoPresti turned aside 42 of the 48 Philly shots sent his direction, while the victory gave Stephenson a 7-1-1 record in his last nine starts.
1980 -- Reggie Leach's goal midway through the third period snapped a 2-2 deadlock and lifted the Flyers to an eventual 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies at the Spectrum.
Trailing 2-0 near the midpoint of regulation on goals from Merlin Malinowski and Rene Robert, Bill Barber got Philadelphia on the board and Behn Wilson connected on the power play with 31 seconds remaining in the second period to tie the game at 2-2 heading into the final stanza to set the stage for Leach's game-winner.
Rick MacLeish sealed the outcome with his 17th goal of the year with 1:53 left on the clock, while Bobby Clarke and Brian Propp added two helpers apiece.
Phil Myre stopped 18 of the 20 shots he faced to post the win, while Hardy Astrom made 25 saves in defeat.
1985 -- Murray Craven and Brian Propp each notched two goals and Bob Froese stopped all 23 shots he faced to record his second shutout of the season in a 4-0 blanking of the New York Rangers at the Spectrum. The win broke a three-game losing skid for the Orange-and-Black.
Philadelphia carried play throughout, outshooting the Rangers in each period and 39-23 for the game. The usual animosity between the hated arch-rivals was also on full display, as eight fighting majors were doled out -- including two to new Philly rear guard Dave Richter.
Winger Bo Berglund -- who was also acquired from the Minnesota North Stars along with Richter in exchange for defenseman Ed Hospodar and disgruntled forward Todd Bergen -- added two assists in his second appearance in a Flyers uniform. It would be the only points he would record in seven games before being demoted to the AHL's Hershey Bears.
1986 -- Dave Poulin, Brian Propp, and Scott Mellanby each scored one goal and assisted on another and Ron Hextall turned away 28 of 30 shots as the Flyers snapped a two-game losing skid with a 5-2 triumph over the Edmonton Oilers at the Spectrum.
Poulin started things off for Philadelphia with a goal just 14 seconds after the opening faceoff, which was followed by goals from Propp, Ed Hospodar (his first since being re-signed as a free agent over the summer), and Peter Zezel to make it a 4-0 first period lead.
After making just eight saves on the first 12 Flyer shots, Oilers goaltender Andy Moog was lifted in favor of Grant Fuhr to start the second, and Wayne Gretzky got Edmonton on the board at 4-1 heading into the final stanza.
Mellanby and Mark Messier (shorthanded) traded goals in the third to close out the scoring, while Pelle Eklund contributed a pair of helpers to the winning cause.
1989 -- Ron Sutter beat Daren Puppa with the first shot of overtime 1:24 into the extra session to lift the Flyers to a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at the Spectrum.
Sutter's goal salvaged the win for Philadelphia, who almost blew the two points after leading 3-1 in the third period before yielding a pair of late goals, including the game-tying tally by Rick Vaive with just 11 seconds left on the clock to force overtime.
Rick Tocchet scored a goal and assisted on another two Philadelphia markers, giving him 15 goals and 35 points in 24 appearances for the season, while rookie defender Jiri Latal notched his first NHL points with a goal and an assist.
Scott Mellanby also scored for the Flyers, and Murray Craven added a pair of helpers.
Ken Wregget picked up the win in a 22-save effort, while Puppa made 33 saves and was collared with the loss.
1991 -- Rod Brind'Amour led the charge with a pair of third period goals as the Flyers scored four times in the final stanza to pull out a 5-3 victory over the Boston Bruins at Boston Garden.
Trailing 3-2, Brind'Amour tied the game 2:28 into the third and notched the game-winner with 3:30 remaining in regulation. Brad Jones added an insurance marker just 16 seconds later.
Pelle Eklund and Mike Ricci also dented the twine for Philadelphia, while Kevin Dineen and Andrei Lomakin assisted on two goals apiece.
Ken Wregget stopped 23 of 26 Bruins offerings to top Reggie Lemelin, who also made 23 saves.
1995 -- John LeClair, Eric Lindros, and Pat Falloon each scored a pair of goals apiece and Anatoli Semenov snapped a 3-3 deadlock late in the second period for what would be the game-winner in a 7-3 Flyers stampede over the Buffalo Sabres at the Spectrum.
Philadelphia torched Buffalo starter Dominik Hasek for first period goals from LeClair (two) and Lindros to take a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.
Hasek was replaced by Andrei Trefilov to start the second, and the move seemed to shift the momentum to the visitors. Randy Burridge scored with a man advantage in the frame's first minute and the Sabres tied it up on markers by Pat Lafontaine and Doug Houda, before Semenov and Lindros answered prior to the end of the stanza.
Falloon struck twice in the final period to clinch the ouitcome.
The Legion of Doom Line of LeClair (two goals, assist), Lindros (two goals, assist), and Mikael Renberg (two assists) ran amok over the visitors for eight points, while Rod Brind'Amour added a pair of helpers.
Ron Hextall turned aside 18 of 21 Sabre shots to pick up the victory.
2011 -- Claude Giroux beat Ryan Miller on an overtime breakaway to lift the Flyers to a come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center.
Goals by ex-Flyer Ville Leino, Zack Kassian, and Thomas Vanek staked the home team to a 3-0 lead, with Vanek's coming with just 23 seconds remaining in the opening period. But Maxime Talbot got Philadelphia on the board with just one tick left on the clock in what would be an absolute momentum-changing goal.
Matt Read, Scott Hartnell, and Jaromir Jagr scored during the middle frame as the Flyers roared back to take a 4-3 lead before the second intermission, but Drew Stafford evened things up with 1:35 left in regulation.
Giroux forged the game-winning goal when he stole a Marc-Andre Gragnani pass and went in all alone on Miller, deking the goalie before slipping a shot through Miller's five-hole to lift Philly to their third consecutive victory and fifth in six outings -- with three of those five wins coming in extra time.
It was the second game in the last three that the Flyers found themselves down 3-0, only to come back and have Giroux provide overtime heroics. The same scenario played out in Anaheim in a 4-3 triumph over the Ducks just five days earlier.
The winning goal wasn't Giroux's only contribution, as Philadelphia's leading scorer also assisted on all three second period markers.
Ilya Bryzgalov recovered from a slow start to make 20 saves in posting his third win in a row and fifth in his last six decisions.
2013 -- Andrej Meszaros staked the visitors to a 1-0 first period lead, but Tyler Seguin posted a natural hat trick and the Dallas Stars racked up three goals in a span of 62 seconds late in the second period on the way to drilling the Flyers, 5-1, at American Airlines Center.
December 7 Flyers Birthdays:
Current Philly centerman Sean Couturier was born in Phoenix, Arizona on this day in 1992. The Flyers were able to gain the rights to the eighth-overall selection in the 2011 entry draft by virtue of the Jeff Carter trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and used the pick to grab Couturier. The 18-year-old stuck with the big team after an impressive training camp, and showed why many compare his game to that of Jordan Staal. Couturier posted 13 goal (including two shorthanders), 27 points, and a +18 rating in a very successful rookie campaign, in which his defensive prowess was used to the club's advantage in shadowing such NHL stars as Pittsburgh Penguins leading scorer Evgeni Malkin. In his first playoff run in the spring of 2012, Couturier notched his entire postseason scoring total in one contest. He posted a hat trick and four points in a wild come-from-behind 8-5 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal in Pittsburgh, all the while keeping Malkin in check. Couturier's was the first hat trick for a Flyers' rookie since defenseman Andy Delmore completed the feat -- also against the Pens -- in 2000. Now early in his fourth NHL season, Couturier has accumulated 35 goals and 91points in his career thus far, and is still regarded as one of the premier defensive forwards in the league.
On this day in 1983, former-Flyer winger Scottie Upshall was born in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The 6' 0", 185-pounder was acquired from the Nashville Predators in a deal that sent Peter Forsberg to Music City, and made an immediate impact by scoring goals in his first two Philly contests, including the game-winner to beat the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in his Flyers' debut. Upshall's feisty style of play made him a fan favorite, where he recorded 27 goals, 64 points, and 145 penalty minutes in 134 regular season games. During his one Flyers postseason in the spring of 2008 he posted four goals, seven points, and 44 PIMs in 17 contests. In what appeared a rushed desperation move just prior to the 2009 trade deadline, GM Paul Holmgren sent Upshall to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for agitator Daniel Carcillo.
Former head coach Peter Laviolette was born in Norwood, Massachusetts on this day in 1964. After winning the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, Lavy took over the reigns as Philadelphia's 17th all-time head coach when John Stevens was fired on December 4, 2009. Laviolette led the Orange-and-Black to a 145-73-26 regular season record, and a 23-22 postseason mark, including a trip to the 2010 Cup Final in a six-game loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.