If not for a series of significant injuries from his third season onward, the Flyers career of Mikael Renberg would likely have remained on a plane closer to the sustained stardom he seemed destined to obtain during the first two-and-a-half years of his career.
One year before the acquisition of John LeClair and the formation of the Legion of Doom line along with Eric Lindros, Renberg was a Calder Trophy finalist (NHL rookie of the year) and the winner of the inaugural Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Award (Flyers most improved player over the course of the season, as selected by his teammates).
While Renberg played a significant portion of his rookie season with Lindros and Mark Recchi as his linemates, he also played with a variety of other linemates. No matter whom he played with, the young Swedish winger produced at about the same the pace.
On March 31, 1994, Renberg scored the lone Flyers goal - a second period tally that shaved a 2-0 deficit in half until Theoren Fleury notched a pair of third-period tallies - in a 4-1 loss at the Spectrum to the Calgary Flames. Renberg's goal gave him 77 points on the 1993-94 season. He would go on to finish the season with 38 goals and 82 points.
Despite his stellar rookie campaign, Renberg finished third in the Calder Trophy voting to Martin Brodeur and Jason Arnott. The next season, Renberg and the Flyers would soar to greater heights as the Legion of Doom came together and revamped Flyers won the Atlantic Division before coming within two wins of a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
March 31: Through the Years
- 1973: The Flyers eviscerate the New York Islanders, 10-2, at the Spectrum. Philly builds up a 10-0 lead with a franchise-record eight goals in the second period. Eventual Hart Trophy winner Bobby Clarke (36th goal of the season, three assists), Bill Barber (30th goal, two assists), Rick MacLeish (48th and 49th goals), Don Saleski (11th goal, one assist) and "Cowboy" Bill Flett (43rd goal, two assists) do the most damage on the scoreboard.
- 1979: A two-goal first period proves to the difference in a 4-2 home win over the St. Louis Blues. Rookie defenseman Behn Wilson (13th goal) and gritty center Mel Bridgman (22nd) provide a 2-0 lead that holds up into the third period when Paul Holmgren (16th) makes it a three-goal lead. After the Blues finally get through for two goals on Wayne Stephenson (26 goals), Rick MacLeish (26th) adds some late insurance before the Blues can pull Ed Staniowski (21 saves) for an extra attacker.
- 1989: Tim Kerr's 47th and 48th goals of the season and Brian Propp's 30th tally of the campaign highlight an often-testy 5-4 home win over the Washington Capitals. Amid the hostilities in the second and third periods, rugged Flyers defenseman Terry Carkner collects 24 minutes worth of penalties and winning goaltender Ron Hextall touches off a late-game fracas.
- 1996: The Flyers shrug off an early goal by Pittsburgh's Petr Nedved and go onto ride a natural hat trick by John LeClair (goals 45, 46 and 47 on the season) to a two-goal lead in the third period. Bob Corkum seals the 4-1 home win with an extra insurance goal midway through the final stanza. Ron Hextall sees just 17 shots for the game against the Penguins' usually high-powered offense.
- 2001: With the game scoreless in the third period, a rare goal by checking forward Kent Manderville (5th of the season) elevates the Flyers to a 1-0 home victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Roman Cechmanek earns a 21-save shutout. It is the Czech goalie's 10th of the season; the most by any Flyers goaltender since Bernie Parent recorded 12 in 1974-75.
- 2003: Eric Weinrich plays in his 1,000th NHL game and chips in an assist in a 6-1 Flyers road win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. He becomes the third Flyer to reach the coveted NHL milestone during the 2002-03 season. Jeremy Roenick played his 1,000th regular season game on Nov. 16 in a home game against the Boston Bruins. Eric Desjardins reached the mark on Dec. 18 in a road game against the Atlanta Thrashers.
- 2013: The Flyers pull of a 5-4 comeback overtime win against the Washington Capitals at the Wells Fargo Center. Trailing 4-2 in the latter half of the third period, the Flyers force OT on goals by Claude Giroux (power play) and Kimmo Timonen. Ruslan Fedotenko then beats Braden Holtby at 1:34 of overtime to earn an improbable victory. Timonen finishes the night with four points (one goal, three assists) and Giroux has three (one goal, two assists). Matt Read and Max Talbot also light the lamp for Philadelphia.
March 31 Flyers Birthday
- Flyers fan favorite defensive defenseman Brad Marsh was born March 31, 1958 in London, Ontario.