Throughout the summer months, philadelphiaflyers.com will dig through the archives here at the Wachovia Center and take a look back at some classic moments in the history of the Wachovia Spectrum as the building prepares to close its doors forever.
* * * It is easily one of the most memorable moments to ever occur on the Spectrum ice.
In December of 1987, goaltender Ron Hextall was continuing to make a name for himself as a standout second year player in the NHL. He had already taken the Flyers to within one victory of the Stanley Cup the previous year as a rookie, when the Edmonton Oilers won the championship in seven games over Philadelphia.
Along with his ability in the crease, Hextall's prowess outside of it was what set him apart from other netminders. His stickhandling and skills with the puck are still described today as having revolutionized the position of goaltender.
On December 8 at the Spectrum, in a game against the Boston Bruins, Hextall put those skills to use when he became the first goaltender in NHL history to actually shoot a puck into an open net. It happened with Philadelphia leading Boston 4-2 and after Bruins goaltender Reggie Lemelin had just been pulled for an extra attacker.
Check out the original game footage here, as Gene Hart and Bobby Taylor pick up the call from right before the goal through the end of regulation.
"The old codger has seen 50 years of hockey...his first game in the National League [was] the Montreal Maroons against the New York Americans in 1937...it took me 50 years to see that," quipped the legendary Hart moments after the goal.