When the Philadelphia Flyers acquired defenseman Dan McGillis from the Edmonton Oilers at the 1998 trade deadline in exchange for young offensive-minded defenseman Janne Niinimaa, the deal was widely panned. However, McGillis ended up holding his end of the bargain in an underrated Flyers career that spanned four full and two partial seasons.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound McGillis brought a physical but usually clean style of play and boasted a very heavy shot that enabled him to score 14 goals one season (2000-01) as well as unheralded first-pass ability. Twice as a Flyer, McGillis attained 45 points or more while playing generally solid defense. The only thing he lacked was speed.
McGillis was well-established in the Flyers' blueline top four by the time he set his single-game point high with three points (zero goals, three assists) in a 5-2 win at the First Union Center over the Montreal Canadiens. On that night, team captain Eric Lindros (one goal, two assists) and Legion of Doom linemate John LeClair (two goals, one assist) got most of the attention, however.
The Flyers pulled away in the third period, as goals by former Legion of Doom right wing Mikael Renberg (now in his second Flyers stint and playing on Rod Brind'Amour's line), linemate Valeri Zelepukin and LeClair turned a narrow lead into a comfortable one.
In an era in which ties were still part of the regular season in the NHL, the Flyers' win over the Habs was part of an eventual eight-game undefeated streak (6-0-2) and part of a stretch which saw Philadelphia lose only once in 24 games (16-1-7).
February 4: Through the Years
- 1968: The first-year expansion Flyers knock off the defending Stanley Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-1, at the Spectrum. Doug Favell is stellar in net, stopping 43 of 44 shots. A pair of first-period goals by John Miszuk lead the way offensively, supplemented by a second-period goal by Claude Laforge and a third-period tally by Don Blackburn.
- 1971: The Flyers knock off the Chicago Blackhawks, 6-2, at the Spectrum. Rising young star Bobby Clarke enjoys a two-point game (one goal, one assist) and keeps the likes of Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull in check. Doug Favell stops 26 of 28 shots.
- 1979: In a relatively peaceful game - no penalties until the third period - the Flyers blow out the Atlanta Flames at the Spectrum, 7-4. Seven different Flyers light the lamp, with even enforcer Dave Hoyda joining the scoring parade. Bob Kelly, Behn Wilson, Don Saleski, T.J. Gorence, Reggie Leach and Dennis Ververgaert also score once apiece.
- 1995: Eric Lindros has a hand in all of the Flyers' scoring in a 4-2 win at the Spectrum against the Buffalo Sabres. Lindros scores once and assists on tallies by Mikael Renberg, Garry Galley, and Brent Fedyk. Dominic Roussel (29 saves on 31 shots) outduels aging Grant Fuhr (17 goals on 21 shots). The Sabres will later be the Flyers' first-round playoff opponent after a five-season absence from postseason play.
- 1997: In a brawl-filled game in Buffalo, the Flyers and Sabres skate to a 1-1 tie. Joel Otto ties the game with 1:55 remaining in the third period. Garth Snow stops 22 of 23 shots and is involved in a line brawl at 7:44 of the second period.
- 2001: The Flyers grind out a 3-1 road win over the Los Angeles Kings, posting a picket fence on the scoreboard: shorthanded first-period goal by Ruslan Fedotenko, second period even strength goal by defenseman Eric Weinrich and a third-period breakaway goal by Simon Gagne. Goaltender Roman Cechmanek stops 20 of 21 shots.
- 2004: The Flyers generate a 41-20 shot advantage over the Washington Capitals and eventually pull away with three unanswered goals in the third period to claim a 5-1 home win over the Washington Capitals. Simon Gagne, John LeClair, Kim Johnsson, Mark Recchi and Keith Primeau (empty net) provide the goal support for winning goaltender Antero Niittymaki.
February 4: Flyers Birthday
- Checking winger Joe Sacco was born on Feb. 4, 1969 in Medford, Massachusetts.