Ranking the 5 Best Offensive Performances in Philadelphia Flyers History
The Philadelphia Flyers have been one of the more successful teams in the NHL since they joined the league back in 1967. Here is a look back at the finest individual offensive games in Flyers' history.
To qualify for this list, the game had to occur during the regular season. This is not a team category, but an individual one. One player's offensive production is all that mattered. Of course, the Flyers won all the games recounted here.
Some of the players on this list are all-time Flyers greats. Others are just players who had one outstanding offensive game in a rather ordinary career.
Before we get started, some honorable mentions like Alexandre Picard's five-assist game against the New Jersey Devils February 1, 2007; John LeClair's four-goal, two-assist performance against the Montreal Canadiens on February 6, 1997; Tim Kerr's four-goal, one-assist game against the Chicago Blackhawks on November 20, 1986; and a four goal and two assist contribution by Eric Lindros on March 19, 1997 in Toronto.
Feel free to comment on any of the games listed here or to add one you feel belongs on this list. As always, indicate why you feel the way you do.
5. Al Hill
Forward Al Hill scored only 40 goals and 95 points during his NHL career, but for one game, the native of Nanaimo, BC, set the world on fire. In fact, it came in his NHL debut on February 14, 1977.
Hill set a league record for first games by scoring two goals and five points in a 6-4 Flyers win over the St. Louis Blues. In fact, Hill recorded a "Gordie Howe" hat trick in the game since he also dropped the gloves with Bob MacMillan in the second period.
Hill scored his first NHL goal just 36 seconds into his career. Bob Kelly and defenseman Terry Murray earned assists on the goal.
Amazingly, Hill almost didn't make it to the Spectrum for the game. Hill told Bill Meltzer of the Flyers official website:
We had a game in Rochester the night before, and we bussed back all night, getting home at about 4:30 in the morning. A few hours later, I got a call from the Flyers that they wanted me in the lineup at the Spectrum for the game against the Blues. I left for Philly right away, but there was a big snowstorm and, for awhile there, I wasn’t sure if I’d able to make it in time to play.
Hill made it and became a difference-maker for the Flyers, at least for this one game. The record, five points in a player's NHL debut, still stands today.
4. Rick Tocchet
On January 25, 1990, forward Rick Tocchet scored four goals and added a pair of assists for the Flyers in an 8-6 win over the Winnipeg Jets at the Spectrum.
Winnipeg goalie Bob Essensa was the victim of Tocchet's breakout performance, allowing three goals. The fourth was an empty-net tally that clinched the win for the Flyers.
Tocchet scored once in the first period, but two goals by Winnipeg's Paul Fenton left the Flyers trailing 3-2 after 20 minutes.
Tocchet evened the score 4:17 into the second period, then set up a power-play goal by Pelle Eklund with less than two minutes left in the middle stanza to even the score at 4-4.
After picking up his second assist of the night early in the third period on a goal by Murray Craven, Tocchet put the Flyers ahead 6-5 with a power-play goal at 12:03 of the third period. His empty-netter with 19 seconds left ended the scoring and iced the victory for the Flyers.
Tocchet had one other four-goal game with the Flyers, but this game was his most dominant.
3. Eric Lindros
Eric Lindros was a dominant player for the Flyers before injuries shortened his career.
While Lindros had a four-goal, six-point effort in Toronto in 1997, his seven-point game against the Ottawa Senators on February 26, 1997, was his most impressive single-game performance. The Flyers beat the Senators 8-5 in Ottawa. John LeClair had a hat trick in the game for Philadelphia with Lindros setting up all three of his goals.
Lindros' only goal came in the second period and tied the game at 5-5. He added four assists in the first period and one each in the second and third.
The 1996-97 season was a dominant one for Lindros. He finished with 32 goals and 79 points in just 52 games before adding 12 goals and 26 points in 19 playoff games. He helped lead the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final that year.
2. Rich MacLeish
Some contemporary Flyers fans forget how talented Rick MacLeish was and what a big role he played on the franchise's championship teams.
The speedy center from Cannington, Ontario, was the first 50-goal scorer in franchise history when he had exactly 50 tallies and 100 points in 1972-73.
On March 4, 1973, MacLeish scored four goals and added three assists in a 10-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Spectrum. Doug Favell made 29 saves to earn the shutout for the Flyers.
MacLeish's first three goals came off of Ron Low, while the final tally was off of Gord McRae. MacLeish's second goal of the night, which came midway through the second period, gave him 40 for the season. By the end of the night, he had 42.
MacLeish set up Bobby Clarke and Gary Dornhoefer in the second period and Ross Lonsberry in the third to finish with seven points for the night.
At the time, the seven-point performance was a franchise record.
1. Tom Bladon
Defenseman Tom Bladon set all kinds of records when he scored four goals and eight points in the Flyers' 11-1 win over the hapless Cleveland Barons at the Spectrum on December 11, 1977.
Bladon had a goal and two assists in the first period, added two more tallies in the second period and added another score and two helpers in the third period.
The Flyers outshot the Barons 52-18 with Gary Edwards playing in goal for Cleveland for two periods before being lifted for Gilles Meloche. Bernie Parent narrowly missed a shutout when Cleveland's Dennis Maruk scored with just 1:15 left in the game.
Bladon finished the game with a plus-10 ranking, which also set a new league record. Amazingly, not one of Philadelphia's 11 goals were scored on the power play.
The eight-point night was a new NHL record for defensemen, besting the old mark of seven set by Bobby Orr. The only other players in NHL history to record eight or more points in a night up until that time were all future Hall of Famers: Maurice "Rocket" Richard, Bert Olmstead and Darryl Sittler.
Despite this outstanding evening, Bladon never scored more than 14 goals in any one NHL season and never accumulated more than 53 points in a single campaign.
But on this one night, he had the most dominating offensive performance in Flyers' history.