Winners of the new NHL Western Division in their inaugural season, the Philadelphia Flyers opened the 1968 Stanley Cup playoffs against the St. Louis Blues on April 4, 1968. The game was played at the recently re-opened Spectrum, which had been closed for a month after sustaining roof damage.
While the game (and, ultimately, the series) did not have the desired outcome for the Flyers, it was nevertheless an history game that featured a matchup of two Hall of Fame goaltenders: Bernie Parent for the Flyers and veteran Glenn Hall for the Flyers.
Despite getting outshot by a margin of 33-14 for the game, Parent managed to hold the match scoreless for 53:13. Finally, offensive-minded defenseman Jim Roberts scored the game's only goal after he was denied two previous times by Parent.
With the Flyers pressing the attack in the St. Louis end, Philadelphia turned the puck over. Frank St. Marseille gained control and passed to Gary Sabourin, who found Roberts open with a half-step on defender Joe Watson. From 20 feet away, Roberts rifled a shot past Parent's outstretched glove and into the right corner of the net.
Flyers coach Keith Allen was more alarmed by the team's lack of offensive pressure for most of the game than the goal the Blues scored. "Our offense has been non-existent for the last four or five games," he said to the Delaware County Daily Times. "Bernie played a helluva game. He had the tougher saves."
Hall earned a 14-save shutout for the Blues. The Blues benefited from a puck that Simon Nolet chipped wide of the net as it hopped on its edge but scoring chances were otherwise few and far between. A crowd of 10,649 Flyers partisans witnessed the game at the Spectrum.
April 4: Through the Years
- 1974: Bernie Parent earns a 30-save shutout as the Flyers blank the New York Islanders, 4-0, at the Spectrum. Ross Lonsberry (30th and 31st goals of the season) and Bill Barber (power play tally for his 30th goal) both hit the 30-goal milestone for the 1973-74 season, while Tom Bladon notches his 11th goal and Rick MacLeish chips in a pair of assists.
- 1982: Tim Kerr compiles his second career NHL hat trick amid a 7-1 blowout win at the Spectrum over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bobby Clarke collects three assists, while Bill Barber scores his 45th goal of the season and adds two assists for a three-point night of his own. Pete Peeters sees just 18 shots for the game, while the Flyers strafe future teammate Michel "Bunny" Larocque for 59 shots.
- 1985: Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Pelle Lindbergh records a 34-save shutout in a rousing 3-0 win over the New York Islanders at the Spectrum. All the scoring comes in the second period, as Tim Kerr (54th) breaks a scoreless deadlock just 16 seconds into the middle frame and then even strength and power play tallies by tough-guy defenseman Ed "Boxcar" Hospodar (3rd) and rookie sensation Todd Bergen (9th goal in 13 NHL games) build a three-goal cushion.
- 1993: Rookie goaltender Tommy Soderstrom records his fourth shutout of the season as the Flyers upend the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-0. Kevin Dineen scores even-strength and power play goals for his 31st and 32nd tallies of the season, while rookie center Eric Lindros (38th goal) also has a two-point game and low-scoring tough guy defenseman Ryan McGill (3rd) finds the net in the final five seconds of the first period to give Philly a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. Defenseman Garry Galley assists on the Lindros goal and the second Dineen goal. The game is relatively peaceful until the latter stages of the third period, when several after-the-whistle skirmishes and fights break out.
- 1994: With their playoffs hopes on the verge of being mathematically extinguished after dropping four of their previous games, the Flyers settle for a 2-2 road tie with the Winnipeg Jets.The outcome of the game is overshadowed by an injury to second-year center Eric Lindros, who is knocked out of the remainder of the season (four games) as a result of a shoulder injury on a controversial hit from behind by Jets defenseman Igor Ulanov. The Flyers miss the playoffs by four points.
- 1996: In the front end of a home-and-home clash with first place in the Atlantic Division at stake, the Flyers convincingly defeat the New York Rangers, 4-1, in a war of a game at the Spectrum. Eric Lindros dominates when pitted against childhood idol Mark Messier and scores his 45th and 46 goals of the season while Messier is held off the scoresheet. Amid a fight-filled first period, Messier loses his cool and throws an elbow pad at long-time nemesis Joel Otto. Kevin Haller scores a shorthanded goal off a clean faceoff win by Rod Brind'Amour and John Druce later converts a Bruce Driver turnover into his first goal as a Flyer.
- 2008: In a crucial game for their playoff hopes, the Flyers earn a 3-0 shutout at the Wachovia Center behind the goaltending of Martin Biron. An early R.J. Umberger goal (13th of the season) stands up until the third period. Scottie Upshall, who has been in coach John Stevens' doghouse of late, returns from being a healthy scratch the previous game to tally his 13th goal of the season and give Philly some mid-third period insurance. Joffrey Lupul follows up on the game's next shift by scoring his 20th goal of the season to open a three-goal lead.
- 2010: Needing a win to gain an upper hand over the New York Rangers in the battle for an Eastern Conference playoff spot, the Flyers earn a 4-3 regulation home win over the Western Conference powerhouse Detroit Red Wings. The game is tied 2-2 at the first intermission before Claude Giroux (15th goal) puts Philly ahead, 3-2, in the opening minute of the second period. Arron Asham (10th) adds late second-period insurance that proves critical in the third period. Dan Carcillo (12th) and Kimmo Timonen (6th) score first-period goals to give Philly a short-lived 2-0 lead. Ian Laperriere assists on both tallies.
April 4: Flyers Birthdays
- Hockey Hall of Fame center and right wing Dale Hawerchuk was born April 4, 1963 in Toronto.
- Flyers 1981 first-round pick Steve Smith was born April 4, 1963 in Trenton, Ontario.