Flyers Greatest Moments: The Streak

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

At the start of the 1979-80 season, the Flyers opened with a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders on Oct. 11. Two nights later, they lost to the Atlanta Flames, 9-2. Their third game of the season was the next night on Oct. 14, and the Flyers squeaked out a 4-3 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

That was the start of a streak that lasted nearly three months and spanned 35 games. Nothing has approached it since either.

Here is a look back at another Flyers Greatest Moment, the Streak.

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Flyers Greatest Moments: Remembering Pelle Lindbergh

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

For the past few weeks, we have been looking back at some of the greatest moments in Flyers history that happened outside of the playoffs and some of the legendary playoff series. Today, the series of greatest moments continues with a moment that is not a great moment, but a tribute to one of the greatest players the franchise has ever known.

In 1979, the Flyers drafted a young goaltender out of Sweden and his name started to become known in the 1980 Winter Olympics. During the 1980-81 season, he made his way over to North America and joined the Flyers AHL team, the Maine Mariners. In 1982, he made his NHL debut. By 1983, he was a full-fledged rookie on the Flyers, posting a 23-13-3 record with a 2.98 GAA and .891 save percentage in 40 games and being named to the NHL All-Rookie team. 

After another season of working in a tandem, the Flyers unleashed this young goaltending prodigy on the hockey world in the 1984-85 season. In 65 games, Pelle Lindbergh had 40 wins to lead the league and took home the Vezina Trophy with a 3.02 GAA and .899 save percentage. The Flyers made a run to the Stanley Cup Final that season, with Lindbergh posting a 12-6 record in 18 games with a 2.50 GAA, a .914 save percentage and three shutouts. Unfortunately, Lindbergh and the Flyers met an All-World group in the Edmonton Oilers in the Final, and after winning Game 1 handily, lost the next four in a row. Lindbergh didn’t get the start in Game 5 after losing three straight games.

Following up on his Vezina-winning season, Lindbergh was off to another great start in 1985-86. Through 12 games, the Flyers were 10-2-0 and had an eight-game winning streak entering a game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Nov. 7.

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Flyers Greatest Moments: The Shootout

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

In April 2010, the Flyers were finishing up a tumultuous season that featured a mid-season firing of their head coach and were clinging to the final playoff spot into the final week of the season.

On Friday night, April 9, a win over the Rangers would take care of everything and lock them into the playoffs, but the Rangers held off the Flyers in a 4-3 win to extend the season to the final day. The task was simple: the winner of the final game was going to the playoffs and the loser, no matter how it happened, was going into the offseason.

The scene shifted to Philadelphia for the final game on April 11 and it set up one of the best finishes and a memorable playoff run.

Here is a look back at the Shootout.

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Bettman: Canceling NHL Season ‘Not Something I’m Even Contemplating’

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It’s been just over two months since the NHL joined the other major leagues in putting a halt to play in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while there are still more questions than answers at this point about how it will happen, commissioner Gary Bettman is determined to have the season come to an end with the traditional awarding of the Stanley Cup.

As a guest on a virtual town hall held by the San Jose Sharks for members of its business alliance, Bettman discussed the possibility of the season being cancelled as a result of the pandemic.

Bettman said it’s “not something I’m even contemplating,” according to an article in The Mercury News. “I believe that if the right time comes, and the right circumstances, based on all of the options that we’re considering and our ability to execute them, we’ll get this season done.

“I don’t want to sound Pollyanna, but canceling is too easy a solution. That means you stop working hard to do all of the things that we’re doing, and I ultimately believe that there will be an opportunity.”

“States are re-opening, cities are re-opening and if we do the right things, I think we’ll be able to finish the season.”

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Flyers Greatest Moments: 2012 Winter Classic and Alumni Game

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

As New Year’s Day 2012 approached, the concept of the outdoor game was still relatively new to the NHL. There had been four Winter Classics played -- a tradition that started in 2008 -- and the Heritage Classic had been played between two Canadian teams just twice. Otherwise, there were just three outdoor exhibition games on record that were played for nothing more than pride.

The Flyers had participated in one in 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, but it was their turn to host in 2012.

It was a weekend full of festivities, starting with a New Year’s Eve Alumni Game for the ages that featured the return to the ice of many legends for both the Flyers and New York Rangers. Then came the main event on Monday, Jan. 2 -- in observance of the New Year’s holiday being on a Sunday -- where the two division rivals with a lot of history took the ice.

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Flyers Greatest Moments: 2019 Stadium Series

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers had their playoff hopes on life support and were hoping the fourth time was the charm in an outdoor game. Two years after another loss in the 2017 Stadium Series at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, the Penguins paid a visit to Lincoln Financial Field.

A cold and rainy February night set the stage for the Flyers most recent outdoor appearance and for most of the night, it was looking as if the Flyers were going to be on the wrong end of yet another outdoor game that provided a great atmosphere.

But in the final moments of the game, the tables had turned. The Flyers get some opportunities and got some bounces and turned it into a dramatic comeback win that will forever hold a place in Flyers lore.

Here is a look back at our next Flyers Greatest Moment, the 2019 Stadium Series game.

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Flyers Greatest Moments: The Red Army Game

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

In the season following the Flyers second consecutive Stanley Cup win, they were the talk of the league and it wasn’t necessarily in the best light. The Broad Street Bullies were hated across the league as the expansion-age team that would impose their will and fists on any opponent. League officials scowled at the thought of handing over the Stanley Cup to the Flyers.

But all bets were off during the 1976 Super Series when HC CSKA Moscow, also known as the Red Army Club, came to play the final game of the series with NHL teams at the Spectrum in Philadelphia.

The Red Army Club was joined by Krylya Sovetov Moscow -- also called the Soviet Wings -- and the two teams played eight games combined against the NHL in the 1976 Super Series. The Flyers were the last NHL team on the schedule on January 11, 1976. The Soviet Wings had defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and New York Islanders in the series already and had lost to the Buffalo Sabres, 12-6. 

But the Red Army Club was the much more well-known and dominant team in the Soviet League, featuring top Russian players like Aleksander Maltsev, Valeri Kharlamov, Boris Mikhailov and Vladislav Tretiak -- considered to be the greatest goaltender in the world. They had remained dominant through the Super Series to that point, defeating the New York Rangers, 7-3, playing to a 3-3 tie with the eventual Stanley Cup champions in 1976, the Montreal Canadiens, and defeating the Boston Bruins, 5-2. 

Given the lack of success that NHL teams were having against the Soviets, the entire league and much of the world was in support of the Flyers to come away victorious and to give the Soviets a beatdown on the ice in the fashion they had to so many opponents in the NHL.

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Flyers Greatest Moments: Fight Night at the Center

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

In the midst of a playoff race, tensions can run high, especially for two teams that are making a push for division titles. In March 2004, the Flyers and Ottawa Senators were both in similar positions.

The Flyers were at 86 points with a six-point lead in the Atlantic Division. The Senators had 84 points and were two points out of the Northeast Division lead. It was very possible that this could be a potential playoff preview. 

It also helped to stir the pot that just eight days earlier, the teams played to a 1-1 tie that featured a moment that had the Flyers up in arms. Martin Havlat attempted to injure Mark Recchi by swinging his stick at Recchi’s head. Havlat was given a major penalty for attempting to injure and a game misconduct and was later suspended for two games and fined as a repeat offender. Following the game, Flyers head coach Ken Hitchcock set the tone for the next meeting to come just days later, saying that “someday, someone’s going to make him eat his lunch. This is something, in my opinion, that the players should take care of.” 

The bad blood was still fresh from that, so when the teams met on March 5, 2004, it would become a historic night in a very different way.

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Flyers Greatest Moments: Ron Hextall Scores a Goal

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Over the previous few weeks, as the NHL’s pause has gone on, we looked back at great playoff moments for the Flyers in Series in Review. Now, we want to shine the spotlight on some great regular season memories with a new series called Flyers Greatest Moments.

Our series begins with a look at the Flyers all-time leader in goalie wins making some NHL history in one of them. Ron Hextall was certainly a colorful and unorthodox netminder. He had a mean streak that fit the city of Philadelphia like a glove. He also had a knack for playing the puck and there was just the sense that sooner or later, he would give it a try and go for a goal with an empty net at the other end of the ice.

On Dec. 8, 1987, Hextall was in the middle of his second season in the NHL and the opportunity presented itself in a game against the Boston Bruins at the Spectrum. To that point, only one goaltender had scored a goal in NHL history. It happened when Billy Smith was credited with a goal after the Colorado Rockies scored into their own net on a delayed penalty call. But no goaltender had actually fired a shot on an empty net and scored a goal.

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NHL Issues Update on Pause

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Since the NHL went on pause, joining the other major sports leagues is halting play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a lot of speculation regarding if, when and how the league would resume play.

Last week, one scenario was shot down. There had been reports that the NHL was exploring neutral sites like North Dakota, New Hampshire and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where teams would be able to report and remain in isolation. The NHL and NHLPA later confirmed that the idea never made it off the drawing board. Instead, the league’s focus has been to find 4-5 neutral locations within the NHL where teams from specific divisions or other new alignments based on what works best would be able to report and play out the regular season and playoffs. Commissioner Gary Bettman said the reason NHL arenas are needed is because of the “back of house” area that they provide, meaning more locker rooms and facilities for teams that meet the standards of the NHL that smaller venues just can’t accomplish.

Wednesday evening brought the latest update from the NHL and NHLPA regarding the possibility of a return to play. The update states:

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