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Today in Philadelphia Flyers history: Delmore 1st NHL rookie defender to post playoff hatty, Gagne OT hero in early return

Andy Delmore becomes first rookie defender in NHL history to record a postseason hat trick as Flyers take first series lead against Penguins, Simon Gagne scores in overtime in early return from injury to save Philly from elimination at the hands of the Bruins, and Hexy becomes the franchise's 8th GM highlight May 7

Bruce Bennett

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

Philadelphia holds a 7-3 all-time record in 10 playoff contests played on May 7, including wins in their last five -- two of which came in overtime.

1985 -- Goals by Dave Poulin (shorthanded), Murray Craven, and Ilkka Sinisalo gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead heading into the third period, on the way to a 4-2 defeat of the Quebec Nordiques at Le Colisee. The win evened the Wales Conference Final series at a game apiece.

Joe Paterson added an insurance goal in the third period, and Pelle Lindbergh stopped 27 of the 29 Nords' shots he faced to pick up the win.

1995 -- Karl Dykhuis' bouncing shot squibbed past Dominik Hasek and into the net midway through overtime to give Philadelphia a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at the Spectrum in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.

It was the first Flyers' postseason game in nearly six years, having failed to qualify for the playoffs over the course of the previous five campaigns.

Trailing 2-1 late in the middle frame, Philly got goals from Brent Fedyk and Kevin Haller within a span of 1:28 to take a 3-2 lead into the third. But Buffalo controlled play for much of the final twenty minutes of regulation time, outshooting the Flyers 11-5 and getting the game-tying goal on Jason Dawe's second of the contest with 7:27 remaining to send it to the extra session.

It was all Philadelphia in overtime, as Philly held the Sabres without a shot before Dykhuis' game-winning goal on the Flyers' fifth shot on Hasek of the extra stanza.

Ron Hextall -- who was reacquired the previous summer following two seasons away from Philadelphia -- turned aside 26 of 29 Buffalo shots to backstop the Flyers triumph.

1996 -- Dan Quinn and Eric Lindros scored power play goals late in the first period as the Flyers came out with an early fury and held on for a 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers at Miami Arena. The win gave Philadelphia a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinal.

Quinn and Lindros each scored power play goals in less than a minute span, with both man advantages coming as a result of a Brian Skrudland double-minor for high-sticking Rod Brind'Amour.

Florida's Paul Laus cut the lead in half in the second, before Trent Klatt restored the two-goal lead early in the third.

Ron Hextall made 24 saves for the Flyers.

The game ended with a brawl at the 20:00 mark, sparked by an altercation between Lindros and Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski.

1997 -- Dale Hawerchuk and Paul Coffey paced a three-goal first period as the Flyers cruised to a 4-1 triumph over the Buffalo Sabres at the CoreStates Center, giving Philadelphia a 3-0 Eastern Conference Semifinal series lead.

Hawerchuk scored a goal and set up another pair, while Coffey assisted on all three as the Flyers dominated the opening frame. They outshot Buffalo by a 15-8 count and in addition to Hawerchuk's tally, also received markers from Eric Lindros and Rod Brind'Amour.

Philly carried play throughout, and finished with a lopsided advantage in the shots department. They fired 38 on Steve Shields, while the Sabres were only able to counter with 16 of their own.

Garth Snow made 15 saves in the win, and also added an assist on Hawerchuk's first period power play goal.

2000 -- Andy Delmore became the first rookie defenseman in NHL history to record a postseason hat trick and Mark Recchi tied a club record with a five-point game to lead Philadelphia to a 6-3 rout of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the First Union Center, giving the Flyers their third consecutive victory and first lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinal at 3-2.

Delmore -- who managed two goals and seven points in 27 regular season contests during his initial NHL campaign, and was held without a point in Philly's five-game opening round triumph over Buffalo -- scored once in each period, twice against starter Ron Tugnutt, and once (in the third) against reliever Peter Skudra.

It didn't take long to see the Flyers had gained a tremendous amount of momentum following their epic five-overtime, 2-1 victory in Pittsburgh just two days earlier that evened the series at two games apiece.

Daymond Langkow got things started off quickly for the home team, putting a backhander past Tugnutt on a breakaway just 23 seconds after the opening faceoff to make it a 1-0 Philadelphia lead. Delmore doubled that advantage with the Flyers on the power play just over three minutes later, when his slap shot from the point -- one in which Tugnutt later likened to "a Phil Niekro knuckler" -- sailed past the Penguins goaltender and into the net to give Philly a 2-0 lead.

Dan McGillis stretched the lead to three just 16 seconds into the middle stanza, and it was apparent that the rout was on. After Recchi and Tyler Wright traded goals, Delmore struck again late in the frame. He skated through the slot and took a John LeClair feed before depositing the puck over a fallen Tugnutt to make it 5-1 heading into the third.

Delmore completed the hat trick in the final session to give him five goals and six points in the five games against the Pens, helping the club dig themselves out from the hole in which they had put themselves into after a pair of losses on home ice in Games 1 and 2.

The 23-year-old also became the first NHL rookie defenseman to have two multiple-goal games in one playoff year (he had notched two goals in Game 3 of the series, including the winner in OT). His three goals in Game 4 also marked the first time in franchise history that a defender notched a hat trick in a postseason contest.

"The goal in overtime the other night (in Game 3) was the highlight of my career so far. When the third one went in today, that's a great feeling, too. There aren't words to describe how I felt." -- Delmore on his incredible series and first hat trick

Recchi was in on the first five Flyers tallies, -- scoring once and assisting on the other four -- to tie the club record for most points in a postseason game.

In addition to Delmore's showing, a continued outstanding performance was turned in by another Philadelphia rookie. Netminder Brian Boucher finished the tilt with 29 saves on 32 Pittsburgh shots, and the goal he yielded to Wright at 15:06 of the second period snapped a scoreless stretch of 184 minutes and 45 seconds.

2010 -- Simon Gagne made an early return from injury just in time to score the game-winning goal at 14:40 of overtime, giving the Flyers a 5-4 victory and fending off elimination and a Boston Bruins sweep in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

Gagne -- who required two screws be surgically inserted into his foot just 14 days earlier after blocking a shot during Game 5 of the first round against the New Jersey Devils -- wasn't supposed to even start skating for another couple of days, and was realistically looking at a return at some point in the next round if Philadelphia were to advance. But he asked head coach Peter Laviolette for a chance prior to the game, and he certainly made the most of it.

"Yeah, it's a good ending. I cannot ask for more to be able to come back early a little bit in the series. To be able to score that big goal. It's fun to score goals, but when you get those in overtime it's the best feeling in the world. It's good to be able to win this game." -- Gagne after his game-winner in OT

Things looked good for the Flyers as the midway point of regulation approached. Daniel Briere, Chris Pronger, and Claude Giroux each scored goals to erase a 1-0 deficit after former-Flyer Mark Recchi had opened the scoring late in the first, but Michael Ryder scored shortly thereafter, and Milan Lucic tied it up early in the third period to leave the club's postseason teetering on the brink of extinction.

Ville Leino deflected a Pronger shot past Tuukka Rask with 5:40 left in regulation and it appeared as if Philly would indeed be forcing a Game 5, but Recchi beat Brian Boucher for his second of the contest with just 31.5 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.

Both teams had their chances in the extra stanza, with Boston having the better of play and testing Boucher nine times.

Matt Carle -- who finished the evening with four assists -- keyed the game-winning goal with a gorgeous feed that Gagne -- skating in his only shift of the overtime after experiencing cramping late in regulation -- redirected past Rask on the Flyers' seventh shot of overtime to extend the series for at least one more game.

The win still left Philadelphia trailing their best-of-seven series 3-1 and heading back to Boston, a city where they had not won in the postseason since May of 1976. But as goalie Brian Boucher mentioned, there was a feeling that they had transferred the pressure back to the Bruins side of the ledger.

"It's nice to get a win, we wanted to get this game. It's a must-win, I don't need to say that. It shows a lot about our character. We're back in this thing. We feel good about ourselves and now the pressure is on them. They're going home and we still have nothing to lose here. We're going to give our best on the road, give a good road effort, and hope to bring it back here (for Game 6)."

2014 -- Less than a week after celebrating his 50th birthday, Ron Hextall was named the eighth General Manager in franchise history. The Flyers' all-time leader in games played (489) and wins (240) for a goaltender was brought back to the organization a year earlier to serve as Paul Holmgren's assistant and Director of Hockey Operations, after spending seven very successful campaigns as Vice President and Assistant GM of the Los Angeles Kings. After finally winning a Stanley Cup as part of the Kings organization in 2012, Hextall returned to try to do the same in Philadelphia and try to take care of some unfinished business. He returned to where he had his most successful time as a player, nearly winning the Cup in a grueling 7-game defeat to the Edmonton Oilers in his rookie year of 1987. For his efforts, Hextall was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the MVP of the postseason.