Prior to the 1979-80 NHL season, the longest unbeaten streak in Philadelphia Flyers history was a 23-game run (17-0-6) during the 1975-76 campaign. Four seasons later, the Flyers not only shattered the previous franchise and league records (a 28-game run by the Montreal Canadiens in 1977-78) but they went on to set a North American pro sports record with a 35-game unbeaten streak (25-0-10).
On December 22, 1979, the Flyers surpassed the Habs' NHL record with a 5-2 win over the Bruins at Boston Garden. The victory gave the Flyers a 29-game unbeaten streak (20-0-9).
Ken "the Rat" Linseman's goal in the opening minute of the second period gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead after Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber scored in the first period. After the Bruins struck back quickly for two goals, Jim Watson built a 4-2 lead with a goal just 30 seconds after Mike Milbury had cut the Boston deficit to a single goal.
Bob "the Hound" Kelly restored a three-goal cushion midway through the third period. Defenseman Mike Busniuk collected a pair of assists, while winning goaltender Phil Myre stopped 18 of 20 shots compared to the 13 saves made by Gilles Gilbert.
The game also featured multiple fights, including a lengthy grappling match between Paul Holmgren and John Wensick and, simultaneously, a one-sided beatdown of rookie Boston defenseman Ray Bourque by Flyers captain Mel Bridgman. Late in the third period, truculent Flyers defenseman Behn Wilson dropped the gloves with Boston scrapper Stan Jonathan.
Following the Flyers win in Boston, Philly would rattle off five wins and one tie in its next six games to bring the unbeaten streak to 35 games. The streak finally ended with a 7-1 road loss to the Minnesota North Stars on January 7, 1980.
Video: What happened December 22nd, 1979 in Flyers history
December 22: Through the Years
- 1974: Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Bernie Parent blanks the Pittsburgh Penguins on 24 shots as the Flyers capture a 4-0 win at the Spectrum. Second-period goals by Rick MacLeish, Reggie Leach and Ross Lonsberry open a comfortable lead after a scoreless first period. Bob "the Hound" Kelly adds some third-period insurance.
- 1983: Pelle Lindbergh records a 29-save shutout as the Flyers down the visiting New Jersey Devils, 4-0. Two goals by Ray Allison, along with single tallies by Doug Crossman and Paul Holmgren lead the way offensively.
- 1991: Speedy checking forward Brad Jones scores in overtime to give the Flyers a 4-3 win over the visiting Washington Capitals. Defensemen Kjell Samuelsson and Steve Duchesne score in regulation, along with Rod Brind'Amour.
- 2001: A three-point (two goal, one assist) performance by Mark Recchi sparks the Flyers to a 4-3 home win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Recchi caps off the game by scoring at the 27-second of overtime. Simon Gagne and Jeremy Roenick also tally in regulation.
- 2005: Peter Forsberg sets up linemates Mike Knuble (18th goal of the season) and Simon Gagne (24th) for power play goals, while Sami Kapanen and rookie R.J. Umberger score even strength goals to build a 4-0 lead over the visiting Ottawa Senators by the midpoint of regulation. Thereafter, the Flyers hang on for a 4-3 win. Antero Niittymaki (25 saves on 28 shots) earns third-star honors with a victory over illustrious opponent Dominik Hasek (26 saves on 30 shots).