TODAY IN FLYERS HISTORY: FEBRUARY 17
1971: Doug Favell earns a 28-save shutout in a 4-0 Flyers win over the Kings at the LA Forum. First period goals by Andre Lacroix (power play) and Serge Bernier are supplemented by third-period Gary Dornhoefer and Brent Hughes.
1973: Bobby Clarke's first career NHL hat trick lifts the Flyers to a 7-6 win in a slugfest at the Montreal Forum with the Canadiens. Clarke's third goal with a little over three minutes left in the third period is the game winner. Bill Barber, Rick MacLeish and Simon Nolet also score. Bobby Taylor earns the win in net, despite allowing six goals on 39 shots.
1977: The Flyers made a trade with the Detroit Red Wings: Philadelphia deals defenseman Terry Murray, minor league forward Steve Coates and Dave Kelly and receives defenseman Rick Lapointe and Mike Korney.
1980: Trailing 5-3 and the second intermission, the Flyers explode for three unanswered goals by Paul Holmgren, T.J. Gorence and Brian Propp to down the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-3. Bob "the Hound" Kelly scores first and second period goals, while a Bob Dailey power play goal starts the comeback.
1983: The Flyers pummel the visiting Edmonton Oilers, 7-3, at the Spectrum. Seven different Flyers score once apiece -- Paul Holmgren, Brian Propp, Lindsay Carson, Ron Flockhart, Mark Taylor, Tim Kerr and Miroslav Dvorak. Mark Howe collects three assists. Winning goalie Bob Froese stops 21 of 24 shots.
1986:Philly doubles up the Winnipeg Jets at the Spectrum, 8-4. Ron Sutter scores twice, while Brad McCrimmon, Brian Propp, Tim Kerr, Pelle Eklund and RIck Tocchet also light the lamp. Dale Hawerchuk, who finishes his Hall of Fame career in Philadelphia a decade later, has a goal and an assist for the Jets.
2001: The visiting Atlanta Thrashers hang around for two periods before the Flyers open the floodgates for four goals in the first 13 minutes of the third period in a 5-1 win. Simon Gagne leads the assault with two goals and an assist. Ruslan Fedotenko, Chris Therien (power play), and Mark Recchi also score, while Roman Cechmanek makes 28 saves.
FLYERS ALUMNI BIRTHDAYS: PROSPAL AND RUZICKA
Playmaking forward Vaclav "Vinny" Prospal was born in Ceske Budejovice in the former Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) on Feb. 17, 1975. Drafted by the Flyers in the third round of the 1993 NHL Draft, Prospal came over immediately to North America to play for the AHL's Hershey Bears.
Extremely skinny and unable to speak English when he first arrived in Hershey, Prospal's development was a lengthy process (although he mastered the English language quickly). It took Prospal until the 1996-97 season -- by which time he was leading the AHL in scoring by a wide margin to finally earn a callup to the NHL. He never went back to the minors again in a career that would eventually surpass the coveted 1,000-game milestone in the NHL.
Prospal posted 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 18 regular season game for the Flyers during the 1996-97 stretch drive and then posted four points in five games in the team's first-round playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Unfortunately, Prospal suffered a broken wrist during a practice before the team's second-round series against the Buffalo Sabres and was out for the rest of the postseason as the Flyers reached the Stanley Cup Final.
The next season, Prospal had his share of ups and downs during the first half of the season and then suffered a fractured left fibula on Jan. 3, 1998. While he was still healing, the Flyers made a trade on Jan. 17, sending Prospal and Pat Falloon to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Alexandre Daigle.
Ten years later, Prospal briefly returned to the Flyers. On Feb. 25, 2008, one night before the NHL trade deadline, the Flyers reacquired Prospal from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Alexandre Picard and a 2009 2nd-round pick (Richard Panik).
Although only acquired as a rental, Prospal was productive for Philadelphia. In 18 late-season games in 1997-98, he posted 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) and a plus-seven rating at even strength. In the playoffs, he contributed 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 17 games to help Philly advance to the Eastern Conference Final. After the season, the Flyers traded him back to Tampa for a 2008 seventh-road pick (Joacim Eriksson).
Right winger Stefan Ruzicka was born in Nitra, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia) on Feb. 17, 1985. Drafted by the Flyers in the third round of the 2003 NHL Draft, Ruzicka was a talented scorer at lower levels but had trouble translating that success to the NHL. Ruzicka spent parts of three seasons -- 2005-06 (one game), 2006-07 (40 games) and 2007-08 (15 games) -- in the NHL with the Flyers. He mustered four goals and 17 points.