The 5 Moments That Make Every Philadelphia Flyers Fan Nostalgic
In the 46-year history of the Philadelphia Flyers, the Orange and Black have had plenty of memorable moments.
Some came shortly after the franchise's inception, while others are memories for the most recent generation of Flyers fans.
Here's a look at five moments that make every Philadelphia Flyers fan nostalgic.
Ron Hextall Becomes First NHL Goaltender to Shoot and Score a Goal
On December 8, 1987, Flyers goaltender Ron Hextall made NHL history when he became the first netminder to score a goal after intentionally shooting the puck into the opponent's goal.
Down late in the third period, the Boston Bruins pulled goaltender Rejean Lemelin for an extra attacker only to see Hextall gather a dump in at the side of the net before sending it the length of the ice and just inside the right post of the Bruins cage.
Eleven different goaltenders have registered goals in the NHL with only six of those intentionally trying to score into an opponent's vacated goal.
Hextall was the first to do so and is the only netminder in NHL history to intentionally score multiple goals.
It's one of the great and truly unique moments in NHL history and is one of the fondest memories in Philadelphia Flyers history.
Flyers Overcome 3-0 Deficit vs. Boston in 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals
On the morning of May 7, 2010, the Philadelphia Flyers found themselves facing a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 series deficit at the hands of the Boston Bruins. Exactly one week later, the Orange and Black had completed one of the most improbable comebacks in NHL history.
After being outscored 12-7 through the first three games of the series, the Flyers outscored the Bruins 15-8 the rest of the way and earned gut-wrenching one-goal triumphs in Games 4, 6 and 7.
Simon Gagne returned to the lineup in a must-win Game 4 and notched the winner in overtime to keep Philly's comeback hopes alive. The Flyers then earned 4-0 and 2-1 victories in Games 5 and 6, respectively, to force a decisive seventh game.
After erasing a 3-0 series deficit, Philadelphia then erased a 3-0 deficit in the series' final game thanks to goals from James van Riemsdyk, Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere before claiming the series for good with Gagne's third-period winner.
With the win, the Flyers became just the third team in NHL history and the first since the 1975 New York Islanders to win a series after trailing three games to none.
It is one of the truly great comebacks in both Philadelphia Flyers and NHL history.
Keith Primeau Nets 5OT Game-Winner vs. Pittsburgh in 2000 Playoffs
On May 2, 2010, the Philadelphia Flyers earned a 4-3 overtime victory at the Pittsburgh Penguins to get on the board in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Two nights later, the Flyers went to overtime again. And again. And again.
After even-strength goals in regulation from Pittsburgh's Alex Kovalev and Philadelphia's John LeClair, the two sides squared off in overtime for the second straight contest. But unlike Game 3's decision, one overtime wasn't enough. Nor two, three or even four.
In fact, it took 92 extra minutes of game play that night (and early into the following morning) before Keith Primeau netted one of the most memorable goals in Flyers history. The Flyers claimed victories in the subsequent Games 5 and 6 to oust the Penguins and finished just one game shy of the Stanley Cup Final that year.
It wasn't by any means among the most dynamic goals scored in Philly's 46-year history, but it's certainly among the most satisfying.
On a personal note, this is one of my fondest Flyers memories.
As a senior in high school, I stayed up with my dad to watch the conclusion even though I had a final exam the next morning. I slept 15 minutes at a time during intermissions, and while I don't remember what I scored on my exam the morning after, I distinctly remember both my dad and I jumping out of our respective chairs following Primeau's conversion and embracing in a rare hug exchanged between an 18-year-old son and his father.
Kate Smith Singing 'God Bless America'
What's more nostalgic than Kate Smith singing "God Bless America" before an important Flyers game?
The alto singer's classic rendition was first played in Philadelphia on December 11, 1969, and the Flyers have gone an astounding 94-26-4 in 124 games since when "God Bless America" is played or sung in person.
Smith herself made a surprise appearance at Philadelphia's home opener on October 11, 1973 and received a tremendous reception in advance of a 2-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Greenville, Va. native then returned to a capacity crowd at the Spectrum in advance of Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final en route to a cup-clinching triumph over the Boston Bruins.
In 1987, the team erected a statue of Smith outside the Spectrum in her memory, and the Flyers still show a video of her singing "God Bless America" in lieu of "The Star Spangled Banner" for good luck before important games.
Flyers Win Their First Stanley Cup in 1974
It took the Flyers just seven seasons to capture their first Stanley Cup and just one additional year to claim a second championship. Sadly, those are the only two instances in Philadelphia's 46-year history that the Orange and Black have found themselves atop hockey's mountain.
Behind Flyers legends like Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, Rick MacLeish, Dave Schulz and Bernie Parent, the Flyers defeated the Atlanta Flames, New York Rangers and Boston Bruins in the 1974 Stanley Cup playoffs to earn the franchise's first championship. The title was also the first for the City of Brotherly Love since the Philadelphia 76ers captured the NBA title in 1967.
Championships in Philly haven't always been easy to come by (the four major sports teams have combined for just three titles since 1980), but the Broad Street Bullies brought home one of the memorable titles in the city's long, proud sports history.