TODAY IN FLYERS HISTORY: DECEMBER 5
1971: Doug Favell notched a 27-save shutout and Gary Dornhoefer had a goal and an assist as the Flyers blanked the California Golden Seals at the Spectrum, 3-0. Larry Keenan and Jim Johnson opened the scoring with first-period power play goals for Philadelphia.
1974: Bernie Parent and Tony Esposito took turns making spectacular saves before the Flyers prevailed in a hard-fought 3-2 game at the Spectrum. Jimmy Watson, Rick MacLeish and Reggie Leach scored for the Flyers, while Dave "the Hammer" Schultz had a memorable second-period fight with Chicago's Phil Russell.
1976: Rick MacLeish scored a hat trick and linemates Bobby Clarke (two goals, one assist) and Bill Barber (one goal, one assist) enjoyed multi-point games as the Fyers cruised to a 6-2 wins over the visiting Cleveland Barons. The game featured four fights, including bouts between MacLeish and Greg Smithand pair of fights involving Mel Bridgman.
1981: The Flyers skated off with a 5-2 road win in a brawl-filled tilt with the Detroit Red Wings. Ken "the Rat" Linseman lit the fuse with a first period sucker punch on Detroit's Greg Woods and later went on the rack up a power play goal and two assists much to the opponent's dismay. Bill Barber (one goal, one assist) and Brian Propp (two assists) also had multi-point efforts, while T.J. Gorence, Bobby Clarke (shorthanded goal) and Bob Hoffmeyer also tallied for the Flyers. The game featured a line brawl at 17:35 of the second period and another multi-player tussle in the final seven seconds the game after John Barrett speared Philadelphia's Ron Flockhart, Over the course of the game, Paul Holmgren racked up 33 minutes worth of penalties -- a fighting major, two separate 10-minute misconducts at 3:19 and 15:24 of the second period, a roughing minor, a high sticking minor, a boarding minor and a first-period hooking minor -- and was still around to assist on a Linseman goal in the third period.
1997: After the Flyers underwent some recent line changes -- including the temporary splitting of Eric Lindros and John LeClair -- the changes paid some dividends in a 4-4 tie with the New York Rangers. LeClair rolled to his 21st and 22nd goals of the season, with new linemates Chris Gratton and Dainius Zubrus chipping in one point apiece. The line of goal-scorer Rod Brind'Amour, along with Lindros and Trent Klatt also got on the board, whle Vaclav Prospal chipped in a power play goal. Unfortunately, the Flyers were unable to hold a 4-1 lead and ended up settling for a tie. Brian Leetch scored a pair for the Rangers.
1998: A pair of PPGs by Rod Brind'Amour powered the Flyers to a 2-1 home win against the Washington Capitals. Ron Hextall (22 saves) provided shutout goaltending for 50-plus minutes before Brian Bellows' power play goal cut Washington's deficit in half. The game also featured a first-period fight between the Caps' Craig Berube and Flyers' defenseman Luke Richardson.
2002: In one of the most dramatic finishes in franchise regular season history, Michal Handzus converted an overtime penalty shot against New York Rangers goaltender Dan Blackburn to seal a 3-2 home win for the Flyers. Mark Recchi (power play goal, assist) and Jeremy Roenick tallied in regulation for the Rangers. Booed every time he touched the puck throughout the game, New York Rangers center Eric Lindros scored the tying goal to erase Philadelphia's lead. Roman Cechmanek eventually earned a 24-save win, including two crucial saves in overtime.
2003: Former Coyotes goaltender Robert Esche outdueled his old goal and won a head-to-head matchup against two-stint Flyer Sean Burke (whom the Flyers reacquired later this season). Defenseman Jim Vandermeer and forwards Tony Amonte and John LeClair scored for Philly.
2005: In a trade the organization would later deeply regret but at the time was considered a fairly minor swap of struggling young players in need of a fresh start, the Flyers swapped Patrick Sharp to the Chicago Blackhawks for Matt Ellison. The deal also saw Eric Meloche head to Chicago while the Flyers obtained a 2006 third-round pick. The draft pick was subsequently traded to the Montreal Canadiens,who used it to select forward Ryan White (himself later a Flyer). Ellison dressed in seven games for the Flyers over parts of two seasons, primarily playing for the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms during his time in the organization. Sharp went on to become an all-star caliber player in Chicago.
2010: Trailing 2-1 midway through the third period, the Flyers rallied for a pair of goals to secure a 3-2 regulation road win against the New York Islanders. Andreas Nodl (power play) tied the game before Danny Briere notched the game-winner with 5:44 remaining in the third period. Briere's linemates Ville Leino and Scott Hartnell assisted on the final goal. Matt Carle scored a first period goal to open the scoring. Sergei Bobrovsky (28 saves) earned the win.
ALUM BIRTHDAY: KEVIN HALLER
One of the speediest defensemen in Flyers franchise history, Kevin Haller was born in Trochu, Alberta on December 5, 1970. A member of the Montreal Canadiens' 1992-93 Stanley Cup winning team along with fellow future Flyers Eric Desjardins, John LeClair and Gilbert Dionne, the Flyers acquired Haller from the Habs in a 1994 offseason trade that sent defenseman Yves Racine to Montreal in a one-for-one swap.
Although he did not offer as much offensive prowess as Racine, Haller quickly proved to be an upgrade in terms of defensive reliability.When the Flyers made the famed blockbuster trade of Mark Recchi to Montreal in February 1995, Flyers head coach Terry Murray reunited the newly acquired Desjardins with Haller.
For most of the remainder of Haller's stint with the Flyers, Desjardins was his partner on the Flyers' top defensive pairing. Speed was the duo's hallmark, along with Desjardins' two-way savvy and poise as well as Haller's sometimes chippy streak with his stick. At one point during the fall of 1995, the duo of Desjardins and Haller went nearly a full month without being on the ice for an opposing even strength goal.
Haller, who had his share of injury issues during his time in Philadelphia, posted a plus-13 rating in 36 games (two goals, 10 points, 48 penalty minutes) during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 campaign.That season, all NHL teams played 48 regular season games. Haller missed 12 games as a result of two separate groin pulls.
During the 1995 playoffs, Haller played arguably his best stretch of hockey as a Flyer. In 15 games, he notched four goals, eight points and a plus-seven rating. Perhaps the most famous moment of his Flyers career came in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals as Haller scored the game-winning goal on the first shift of overtime. The tally give the Flyers a 4-3 win and a two games to none lead en route to sweeping the defending Stanley Cup champion Rangers.
In 1995-96, Haller posted five goals, 14 points, 92 penalty minutes and a plus-18 rating in 65 games. He missed 13 games that year with a chest muscle injury sustained in December and was sidelined in the playoffs by broken thumb suffered in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He returned for the final game of the playoffs, as top-seeded Philadelphia was eliminated in six games by the underdog Florida Panthers in the second round.
Haller's play dropped off early in the 1996-97 season after sustaining another groin pull. Struggling for multiple games upon his return, he was moved down in the defensive rotation by Murray and even sat out a mid-November game as a healthy scratch. He dressed in 27 games, posting five assists, 37 penalty minutes and an even plus-minus rating.
On December 15, 1996, the Flyers traded Haller to the Hartford Whalers as part of the trade that brought aging Hall of Fame offensive defenseman Paul Coffey to Philadelphia. The deal also saw Philadelphia trade their 1997 first-round draft pick and a 1997 seventh-round pick to the Whalers with a 1997 third-round pick (Kris Mallette) coming back from Hartford.