TODAY IN FLYERS HISTORY: NOVEMBER 25
1970: In a battle between two Hall of Fame goaltenders, the Flyers' Bernie Parent outdueled the New York Rangers' Eddie Giacomin in a 3-1 home win at the Spectrum. With the game deadlocked at 1-1 early in the third period, Flyers rookie Bob "the Hound" Kelly potted the rebound of a Larry Hillman shot to put Philadelphia ahead to stay. Serge Bernier added a late empty net goal. Parent made 25 saves to earn the win and even assisted on Bernier's empty-netter.
1977: The Flyers savaged the woeful Cleveland Barons by a 7-2 count at the Spectrum in a game that saw a line brawl and numerous game misconducts handed out near the end of the first period. Bobby Clarke (two goals, one assist), Reggie Leach (one goal, two assists) and Barry Dean (one goal, one assist) paced the Flyers attack. Philly also got goals. Defenseman Bob "the Count" Dailey scored his 10th goal of the season, while Don "Big Bird" Saleski notched his 11th.
1981: The Flyers captured a 3-1 win at the Boston Garden behind a 26-save performance from goaltender Pete Peeters. Brian Propp's 16th goal of the season put the Flyers in control, while Tim Kerr got Philly on the board first and a late-game empty net goal by Bobby Clarke punctuated the victory. Peeters flirted with a shutout for 53-plus minutes before Boston's Brad McCrimmon -- who was later traded to the Flyers in exchange for Peeters -- notched the Bruins' only goal.
1987: Young Flyers enforcer Craig Berube scored the first goal of his NHL career to break a 2-2 tie midway through the third period of a 5-2 Flyers home win over the Buffalo Sabres. Team captain Dave Poulin scored a pair of goals (including a shorthanded tally) for the Flyers, while Peter Zezel and Scott Mellanby also lit the lamp.
1990: Spectacular passes by Pelle Eklund staked the Flyers to an early 2-0 lead as beneficiaries Gord Murphy and Mike Ricci scored all the goals Philly would need in a 4-1 home win against the New York Islanders. In the final minute of the third period, Rick Tocchet and Murphy added empty net goals. Second-stint Flyers goaltender Pete Peeters made 25 saves to earn the win.
2005: The Flyers top line trio of Peter Forsberg, Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble led the way to a 5-3 road win over the Boston Bruins. Three-points games by Forsberg (two goals, one assist) and Gagne (one goal, two assists) paced the attack. Eric Desjardins and Michal Handzus (empty net) also scored for Philadelphia. Antero Niittymaki (25 saves) got the win in goal.
2008: A 28-save performance by Brian Boucher and a tie-breaking goal by Scott Hartnell in the final six minutes of regulation led the Flyers to a 2-1 road win against the New York Islanders. Mike Richards' power play in the final minute of the second period sent the game to intermission tied at 1-1 after the Islanders led for most of the first two periods.
ALUM BIRTHDAY: BOB "THE HOUND" KELLY
Longtime Flyers player and current hockey ambassador Bob "the Hound" Kelly was born on Nov. 25, 1950. At 5-10 and 190 pounds, Kelly wasn’t the biggest player. He was an above-average skater, but he wasn’t the fastest player. He certainly wasn’t one of the most naturally gifted offensively. But he was one of the toughest and the most tenacious.
A member of both Flyers Stanley Cup championship teams (1973-74 and 1974-75), Kelly spent a decade in orange and black without ever playing a single game in the minor leagues. Off the ice, Kelly’s good-natured sense of humor and outgoing personality made him a favorite of teammates, fans, and reports alike. A consummate team player, Kelly was a sparkplug in the Flyers Stanley Cup engine.
Kelly scored the most important goal of his career in Game 6 of the 1975 Stanley Cup Final agains the Buffalo Sabres. With the Flyers leading the Buffalo Sabres 3 games to 2 in the Stanley Cup Finals, they entered the third period of Game 6 in a scoreless deadlock.
In the opening minute of the third period, Flyers coach Fred Shero sicked the Hound on the Sabres. Kelly pounced on huge Sabres defenseman Jerry “King Kong” Korab behind the Buffalo net, jarring the puck free. He then swooped out in front of the net and beat Sabres’ goalie Roger Crozier for his 3rd goal of the playoffs and the biggest goal of his career.
Kelly’s tally was all Philly would need. A Bill Clement insurance marker gave the Flyers a 2-0 win behind Bernie Parent’s shutout goaltending. The Flyers were once again the Stanley Cup champions. Today, Kelly says that he considers the second Cup “a little bit sweeter” than the first, because he was such a key contributor.
As the 1970s moved along and the Flyers were dethroned by Montreal and then started getting annually eliminated earlier in the playoffs, general manager Keith Allen began to disassemble the Broad Street Bullies. Amidst all the change, Kelly remained a constant.
Kelly enjoyed two his best seasons in 1976-77 and 1977-78. The first year, he received increased ice time and, for the first time, cracked the 20-goal barrier to go along with his 125 PIM. The next, he scored 19 and was a playoff warrior, with 3 goals, 8 points and uncounted big hits in 12 games. In particular, Kelly gave the Toronto Maple Leafs fits.
e late 70s were a period of upheaval on the roster. Shero left the Flyers after the 1977-78 season to take on the head coaching job and the general manager post with the New York Rangers. Kelly hated to see him go.
Shero’s initial replacement Bob McCammon didn’t last long behind the Flyers bench. With the Flyers struggling after three months, McCammon and Maine Mariners head coach Pat Quinn switched places and Quinn became the Flyers new head coach.
One of Quinn’s first moves was to experiment with a new line combination. He put Kelly on the left wing of a line with tough centerman Mel Bridgman and smooth skating rookie Tom “T.J.” Gorence. The newly dubbed KGB line helped give the fourth-place club a badly needed shot in the arm, providing both energy and supporting offense.
With Kelly, as usual, working tirelessly in the corners and creating extra room for teammates, Bridgman went on to score 24 goals and 59 points in addition to his 184 PIM while Gorence scored 13 in a half season’s worth of NHL games.
Although the Flyers 1978-79 campaign ended with a galling playoff loss to Shero’s Rangers, Quinn was proud of the effort his team showed to dig themselves out of their early season hole before running out of steam. The season included not only the mid-season coaching change, it also saw legendary goalie Bernie Parent suffer a career-ending eye injury. Through it all, the Flyers persevered. Quinn credited Kelly as one of the team’s catalysts.
The 1979-80 season would be Kelly’s last as a Flyer. He made it count. Now playing a veteran leadership role, Kelly dressed in 75 regular season games and 19 playoff contests. Although assigned primarily to checking duties, Kelly scored 15 goals. He also still knew how to lift the club’s spirits with a well-timed fight or body check (122 PIM).
Kelly was right in the thick of the action as the Flyers set a North American professional sports record by going undefeated in 35 consecutive games. They ultimately lost in a heartbreaking 6 game Stanley Cup Final against the New York Islanders, who went on to win four consecutive Cups.
As the off-season rolled around, Kelly learned that he no longer fit in the Flyers plans. The team traded him to the Washington Capitals for a 3rd round pick in the 1982 draft.