The decade comes to a close on Tuesday night and while the Flyers have one more game on the ice, it is a time to reflect on the decade that was.
It will not go down as the most memorable decade in Flyers franchise history, but there were certainly a few great moments from start to finish in the 2010s.
With that, we give you the Top 10 moments from the 2010s that defined the Flyers franchise, some happy some monumental and some of sadness.
First Outdoor Appearance - January 1, 2010
Outdoor games were a relatively new phenomenon when the Flyers took the ice for their first on New Year’s Day at Fenway Park against the Boston Bruins. This was just the third Winter Classic and seventh outdoor game in NHL history.
The first period featured the first ever fight in an outdoor game, with Dan Carcillo and Shawn Thornton dropping the gloves. The Flyers scored the first goal of the game at 4:42 of the second period, with Danny Syvret scoring his first NHL goal. The 1-0 lead held into the final five minutes of the third when Mark Recchi scored on the power play to tie the game with 2:18 left in regulation.
At the 1:57 mark of overtime, Marco Sturm scored to give the Bruins the win.
The Comeback vs. Boston - May 2010
The 2010 Winter Classic ultimately set the stage for a playoff series between the same two teams in May of that year. While there was a lot of other activity happening at that time, this series deserves its own section.
The Bruins handled the Flyers in the first three games of the series, taking a 5-4 decision in overtime in Game 1 and then getting a late goal in the third to take a 2-0 series lead. A convincing 4-1 win in Philadelphia in Game 3 gave the Bruins a 3-0 series lead and had the Flyers on the ropes.
Game 4 was finally appearing to go the Flyers way as Ville Leino broke a 3-3 tie with 5:40 to play. But Recchi scored to tie the game with 32 seconds to play and force overtime.
Back after missing the first three games with injury, Simon Gagne played hero, scoring at 14:40 of overtime to give the Flyers the win.
In Game 5, the Flyers pitched a 4-0 shutout despite losing goalie Brian Boucher to injury midway through the game. In Game 6 back in Philadelphia, the Flyers jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Mike Richards and Danny Briere and held off the charge late from the Bruins to send the series back to Boston for a deciding Game 7.
Game 7 became a microcosm of the series. Michael Ryder opened the scoring and Milan Lucic added a pair of goals in the first period to open up a 3-0 Boston lead. Head coach Peter Laviolette took his timeout and indicated that the Flyers needed one goal to get back into the game. They got it from James van Riemsdyk with under three minutes to play in the period.
Goals by Scott Hartnell and Briere tied the game in the second and set the stage for a third period for the ages. A too-many-men on the ice penalty gave the Flyers a power play in the final 10 minutes of the period and they took full advantage. It was Gagne getting the go-ahead goal with 7:08 to play in the third. From there, the Flyers had to hold off a frantic push from the Bruins, surviving to claim the series and post the most dramatic comeback in franchise history.
The Stanley Cup Run - April-June 2010
The Boston series and comeback aside, there were many great moments from a Stanley Cup run that lasted two months. It started simply enough. The Flyers had to beat the Rangers to get into the playoffs on the final day of the season. A third-period goal by Matt Carle tied the game and it required a shootout to determine the winner.
Briere and Claude Giroux scored goals and Boucher made the deciding save on Olli Jokinen to send the Flyers to the playoffs.
During a five-game series win over the New Jersey Devils, two unlikely heroes emerged. The scrappy enforcer Dan Carcillo was the overtime hero in Game 3. In the deciding Game 5, Ian Laperriere dropped to block a shot and took it off the face.
Following the Bruins series, Michael Leighton became a huge success story, posting three shutouts in the Eastern Conference Final against Montreal. The Flyers steamrolled the Canadiens, 6-0, in Game 1 and opened up a 2-0 series lead with a 3-0 win in Game 2. After Game 3 went to Montreal, the Flyers got another shutout win in Game 4, 3-0.
That set the stage for Game 5, a possible clincher in Philadelphia to go to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1997. Who could forget Mike Richards’ goal to open the scoring for the Flyers and tie the game at one, as he barreled down the ice shorthanded, squeezed through a collision between Roman Hamrlik and Jaroslav Halak and scored into an empty net. Goals by Arron Asham and Jeff Carter gave the Flyers the lead in the second, and the Flyers finished it off with another goal by Carter into an empty net to seal the victory.
The Stanley Cup Final featured some good moments as well. After dropping the first two games of the series, the Flyers got a dramatic overtime win, with Giroux scoring the winner, to take Game 3. A 5-3 win in Game 4 evened the series at two. Unfortunately, the Flyers could not find a way to beat the Chicago Blackhawks on the road and had to return to Philadelphia for Game 6 needing a win to keep their Cup dream alive. Things looked bleak before a Hartnell goal with 3:59 remaining in the third tied things up at three and forced overtime.
Of course, you know what happens from there, but the little moments throughout a magical playoff run got the decade off to a great start.
The 2012 Winter Classic - January 2, 2012
The Flyers played in another outdoor game in 2012 and this one took place right in their backyard. The Flyers played host to the New York Rangers at Citizens Bank Park.
Just like in their previous outdoor game, the Flyers scored first and opened up a 2-0 lead. Brayden Schenn scored his first NHL goal and Giroux also added a goal to put the Flyers in front. Just 30 seconds after Giroux scored, the Rangers got on the board with a goal by Mike Rupp.
Rupp scored again early in the third to tie the game and Brad Richards scored at 5:21 to give the Rangers the lead. Despite a power play for delay of game with under six minutes to play and a penalty shot for Briere in the final minute, the Flyers could not beat Henrik Lundqvist again and lost to the Rangers, but the showing by the city of Philadelphia for a game on such a national scale was as good as it gets.
Flyers-Penguins Playoff Series - April 2012
The Flyers still made the playoffs in the 2011-12 season and drew the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. The series came on the heels of an April 1 meeting that featured plenty of animosity, including Laviolette and Dan Bylsma getting into a shouting match between the benches.
The playoff series didn’t disappoint in terms of entertainment, though defense was optional. The Flyers fell into a 3-0 hole in Game 1, only to rally back and force overtime. Jake Voracek scored the game-winning goal in overtime to give the Flyers the win.
Again, in Game 2, the Flyers trailed multiple times. They erased the deficits as Sean Couturier scored a hat trick and Giroux had a hat trick of his own and six points in an 8-5 win.
Game 3 was a fight-filled spectacle that saw the Flyers ultimately dominate the Penguins in an 8-4 decision. The Penguins were on the ropes in the series.
After a loss in Game 4, 10-3, and another in Game 5, 3-2, the Flyers got the spark they needed in Game 6 right from the start as Giroux, the team’s best player that year, opened the scoring just 32 into the game. The Flyers opened up a 3-0 lead and finished off a 5-1 decision to move onto the second round.
The Hiring of Ron Hextall as GM - May 7, 2014
In the offseason before the 2014-15 season, the Flyers made a change and appointed the heir apparent to the GM chair. Ron Hextall, the former Flyer netminder that had become part of a successful Los Angeles Kings front office, was the Flyers new GM.
Hextall spent the next five years helping to mold a future for the franchise, one that featured a large collection of draft picks, many of which make up the current roster. He made savvy deals to get back into the first round or to collect additional picks and get better odds at building a contender from the ground up.
It was a move that, at the time, many Flyers fans embraced. They had watched the Kings, with former Flyers Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, build and grow into a contending team and a two-time Stanley Cup champion. For several seasons, the Flyers had neglected their top round picks and traded them away most times without hesitation in an effort to get the rental player to win now. The change in philosophy seemed to be a welcome one.
The Loss of the Flyers Founder - April 11, 2016
The Flyers had missed the playoffs in 2015 and made a coaching change, bringing on college coach Dave Hakstol. In Hakstol’s first season, the Flyers did get off to a slow start, but managed to be in playoff position over the final days of the season.
Entering a game on April 9, the Flyers simply needed to beat the Penguins at home, and Pittsburgh was resting some crucial players. The Flyers got the 3-1 win and made the postseason.
Two days later, the Flyers franchise was forever changed with the news that owner, founder and chairman Ed Snider had passed away. The rest of the playoffs was dedicated to him and with the team preparing to celebrate their 50th anniversary season the next year, tributes for him ran throughout the year.
Wave of Changes - December 2018
As the fall turned to winter in 2018, it was becoming apparent the Flyers were stuck in a tailspin. There were no improvements being made and it looked like the team had checked out on playing for the current regime.
Following a 6-0 thrashing by Toronto, the Flyers fired Ron Hextall as GM on Nov. 27. A week later on Dec. 3, Chuck Fletcher was named GM. Two weeks after that, Dave Hakstol was fired as head coach and Scott Gordon took over as interim head coach.
There were changes on the ice too as Carter Hart came up and made his NHL debut and there was a greater emphasis on getting rookies some meaningful ice time. But it was the quick wave of changes, virtually from top to bottom in the front office, that really made a difference.
Stadium Series Comeback - February 23, 2019
It was starting to become apparent by late February that the Flyers could not afford to lose many more games to keep their playoff hopes alive. That set the stage for a very meaningful Stadium Series game at Lincoln Financial Field on February 23, 2019.
The Penguins had defeated the Flyers, 4-2, in the 2017 Stadium Series at Heinz Field, making the Flyers 0-3 in outdoor games. It sure appeared that the streak was going to continue for the Flyers.
Sidney Crosby scored in the first period, though that was matched by Sean Couturier to send the two teams to the first intermission tied, 1-1. Justin Schultz scored in the second to give Pittsburgh the lead and when Evgeni Malkin’s shot went off Brian Elliott’s glove, into the air and into the net midway through the third, it felt like the dagger.
Late in the third, the Flyers got a power play with a chance to get the margin back to one. James van Riemsdyk scored to make it a 3-2 game with 3:04 to play. With just 19.7 seconds remaining, Jake Voracek scored from a sharp angle off a face-off, tying the game and forcing overtime.
At 1:59 of overtime, captain Claude Giroux sealed the comeback and the first outdoor win for the Flyers with a goal to win the game, 4-3.
In a season that was ultimately marred by disappointing results and a lot of internal changes, this proved to be the highlight of the season.
The New Regime - April-October 2019
The last moment comes over an eventful offseason that is sure to signal a new era. Chuck Fletcher got to work on his first offseason quickly by hiring veteran head coach Alain Vigneault. He then worked through the rest of the playoffs, bringing on new additions like Kevin Hayes, Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun. He secured the future by signing Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny to long-term deals.
With their future in place and some new veteran additions, the Flyers were ready to go and to show they were an improved team. In 39 games entering New Year’s Eve, the Flyers had a 22-12-5 record.