If the 1972 Summit Series marked Bobby Clarke's arrival as a bona fide star player, the 1972-73 season marked his ascension to superstardom. That season, he became the first expansion team player to win the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player.
On February 17, 1973, Clarke attained another personal milestone: his first NHL hat trick. It came at one of the league's most famous venues: the Montreal Forum.
Clarke's three goals lifted the Flyers to a 7-6 win in a slugfest with the Montreal Canadiens. Clarke's third goal with a little over three minutes left in the third period is the game winner. Bill Barber, Rick MacLeish and Simon Nolet also score. Bobby Taylor earns the win in net, despite allowing six goals on 39 shots.
February 17: Through the Years
- 1971: Doug Favell earns a 28-save shutout in a 4-0 Flyers win over the Kings at the LA Forum. First period goals by Andre Lacroix (power play) and Serge Bernier are supplemented by third-period Gary Dornhoefer and Brent Hughes.
- 1977: The Flyers make a trade with the Detroit Red Wings: Philadelphia deals defenseman Terry Murray, minor league forward Steve Coates and Dave Kelly and receives defenseman Rick Lapointe and Mike Korney. Lapointe would play parts of three seasons with the Flyers (1976-77 through 1978-79), recording eight goals and 42 assists for 50 points and 183 penalty minutes in 146 regular season games.
- 1979: The career of Hall of Fame goaltender Bernie Parent comes to a sudden and shocking end as he suffers an eye injury in a home game against the New York Rangers. An errant stick poked into the right eye hole of his fiberglass mask.
- 1980: Trailing 5-3 and the second intermission, the Flyers explode for three unanswered goals by Paul Holmgren, T.J. Gorence and Brian Propp to down the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-3. Bob "the Hound" Kelly scores first and second period goals, while a Bob Dailey power play goal starts the comeback.
- 1983: The Flyers pummel the visiting Edmonton Oilers, 7-3, at the Spectrum. Seven different Flyers score once apiece - Paul Holmgren, Brian Propp, Lindsay Carson, Ron Flockhart, Mark Taylor, Tim Kerr and Miroslav Dvorak. Mark Howe collects three assists. Winning goalie Bob Froese stops 21 of 24 shots.
- 1986: Philly doubles up the Winnipeg Jets at the Spectrum, 8-4. Ron Sutter scores twice, while Brad McCrimmon, Brian Propp, Tim Kerr, Pelle Eklund and Rick Tocchet also light the lamp. Dale Hawerchuk, who finishes his Hall of Fame career in Philadelphia a decade later, has a goal and an assist for the Jets.
- 2001: The visiting Atlanta Thrashers hang around for two periods before the Flyers open the floodgates for four goals in the first 13 minutes of the third period in a 5-1 win. Simon Gagne leads the assault with two goals and an assist. Ruslan Fedotenko, Chris Therien (power play), and Mark Recchi also score, while Roman Cechmanek makes 28 saves.
February 17: Flyers Birthdays
- Playmaking forward Vaclav "Vinny" Prospal was born in Ceske Budejovice in the former Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) on Feb. 17, 1975.
- Skilled right winger Stefan Ruzicka was born on February 17, 1985 in Nitra, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia).