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Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

The Philadelphia Flyers have played in six NHL outdoor games. Fans have enjoyed the memorable showcases. However, the Orange and Black have struggled on the big stage with a 1-4-1 record. 

Flyers in NHL Outdoor Games

The allure of the NHL Winter Classic swept the hockey world after the Penguins and Sabres competed in the inaugural game on New Year’s Day in 2008. The novelty had enormous potential, and it only grew with immediate high-profile matchups.

The chance to showcase Original Six teams and major markets became a primary focus of the NHL. Eastern Conference rivalries were some of the most obvious matchups. The league quickly dipped into the easiest pool to attract record crowds and enormous television audiences.

The Flyers have faced the Boston Bruins (twice), the Pittsburgh Penguins (twice), and the New York Rangers. Has the league shown bias in choosing the same teams to showcase? Maybe.

It’s what happens to an NHL franchise with a prominent history of impact on the league and frequent attractive storylines (for better or for worse). The Penguins and the Washington Capitals also benefitted from favoritism during the prime years of their respective superstars Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. Original Six and Canadian markets benefit similarly. 

The Modern NHL

The novelty of outdoor hockey wore off gradually through the decade of the 2010s. The league has also recently expanded opportunities beyond big markets.

Outdoor games are about much more than the Philadelphia Flyers now. Teams like the Nashville Predators and the Carolina Hurricanes that wouldn’t have had the exposure when the tradition first began have finally gotten their turn.

The league still promotes the outdoor showcases as highlights of the regular season. The opportunity for fans to enjoy a prominent professional sports stadium still supersedes typical regular-season matchups.

The level of NHL competition doesn’t ramp up drastically until the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so landmark events during an 82-game regular season become necessary to maintain fan interest and overall exposure.


  • The 2010 Winter Classic: Showcase at Fenway

    Fenway Park- Boston, MA
    January 1, 2010
    Bruins 2, Flyers 1 (OT)

    The Flyers and the Bruins were a natural fit for the Winter Classic as big market teams in contention for the Eastern Conference playing in cities separated by only a few hundred miles. Wrigley Field took its turn in 2009, and it was time for Fenway to become the historic ballpark host to the new tradition that had taken the hockey world by storm.

    A slow start to the 2009-10 season cost John Stevens his job behind the Philadelphia bench. Peter Laviolette stepped in for what would ultimately become a remarkable turnaround, but the Flyers hadn’t quite found their footing by the time the calendar turned to 2010. 

    Dan Carcillo dropped his gloves with Shawn Thornton for the first fight in Winter Classic history in the first period, and lesser-known Danny Syvret put the Flyers on the board first 1-0 in a tight defensive struggle.

    Former Flyers great Mark Recchi tied the game 1-1 in the final minutes of regulation, and the Bruins ultimately won in overtime on a goal by Marco Sturm.

    Philadelphia fans made one hell of a showing on the road, making up an estimated 40% of the packed home of the Boston Red Sox. Alternating chants of “Let’s Go Bruins” and “Let’s Go Flyers” rocked through the Fenway bleachers in a remarkable display of fandom from two of the NHL’s key cities. The crowd even got to see a historic ceremonial puck drop between legends Bobby Orr and Bobby Clarke.

    A postgame announcement of the Team USA men’s roster for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics capped off a remarkable celebration of the game of hockey.

  • The 2012 Winter Classic: A "Humongous Big" Universe

    Citizens Bank Park- Philadelphia, PA
    January 2, 2012
    Rangers 3, Flyers 2

    The major markets continued to dominate the outdoor showcase games. John Tortorella and the New York Rangers traveled south on the New Jersey Turnpike for a matchup at Citizens Bank Park before the heyday of the Phillies and the “four aces” had faded.

    The Flyers took a 2-0 lead on goals by Claude Giroux and Brayden Schenn. However, gritter Mike Rupp scored twice to tie the game. He imitated the salute of Jaromir Jagr as part of his goal celebration to get under the skin of the Flyers. Brad Richards scored the eventual game-winner early in the third period.

    The officials awarded Danny Briere a penalty shot with 20 seconds left in regulation. Henrik Lundqvist turned him away, but it didn’t stop John Tortorella from speaking his mind about the questionable call. The former New York head coach felt the league might’ve tried a little too hard to force the extra drama of a potential overtime on the big stage. 

    HBO’s 24/7 Road To The NHL’s Winter Classic series peaked before the Flyers-Rangers battle. Looks behind the scenes accentuated the personalities of NHL stars in ways that fans weren’t previously familiar with. 

    Claude Giroux was just beginning to break out as the centerpiece of the Flyers, and he played with high-profile wingers Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr in the weeks leading up to the NHL’s signature event. Stars like Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, and Ryan Callahan enjoyed the spotlight for New York.

    Who could forget Ilya Bryzgalov and a bizarre rant about outer space?

  • The 2017 NHL Stadium Series: A Golden Anniversary

    Heinz Field- Pittsburgh, PA
    February 25, 2017
    Penguins 4, Flyers 2

    The Penguins had finally ditched the distractions by 2017 and allowed the superior skill of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to take control of their fierce intrastate rivalry. The defending Stanley Cup champions overmatched the Flyers early in the Mike Sullivan era, especially at Heinz Field in a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the two franchises entering the league as part of the NHL expansion wave of 1967.

    Sidney Crosby sucked the hope from Philadelphia fans with an early goal, and the Flyers trailed the rest of the game. Any mental edge they might’ve had in the rivalry in past years was completely gone.

    NHL Stadium Series Game in 2017 at Heinz Field between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins

  • The 2019 NHL Stadium Series: A Miracle Comeback

    Lincoln Financial Field- Philadelphia, PA
    February 23, 2019
    Flyers 4, Penguins 3 (OT)

    Pittsburgh fans had already flaunted their Stanley Cup banners in the Flyers’ faces after their consecutive titles in 2016 and 2017. Things became worse when the Flyers went down in the opening round of the 2018 playoffs in embarrassing fashion against the Penguins. Why would the 2019 Stadium Series at the Linc be any different?

    Sidney Crosby once again opened the scoring for Pittsburgh and angered the home crowd to the point of vicious venom. A hit by Wayne Simmonds and a resulting scrum invited chaos, but Evgeni Malkin scored a fluky goal that looked like a backbreaker early in the third period to put the Penguins ahead 3-1. Hope was lost.

    Then the tides turned. The Penguins led by two late in the third period, but Malkin foolishly took a coincidental penalty that opened up the pace of the game. The Flyers took the momentum and cut the lead in half with a goal by James van Riemsdyk with just 3:04 remaining. 

    The Flyers clung to their last hope, and Jakub Voracek miraculously tied the game in the final minute to ignite the Philadelphia crowd. The overtime period didn’t disappoint. Brian Elliott stoned Phil Kessel to keep the Orange and Black alive long enough for captain Claude Giroux to come through with the game-winner.

    The 2018-19 season will live in franchise history as a disaster. However, just for one night, Flyers fans had something to be proud of and some bragging rights after a thrilling win against their arch-rivals.

  • 2021 NHL Outdoor Games: The Picture-Perfect Moment

    Edgewood Tahoe Resort- Stateline, NV
    February 21, 2021
    Bruins 7, Flyers 3

    The Covid-19 pandemic slammed the NHL just like it did to everyone else. The 56-game season in 2020-21 wasn’t going to be the most memorable in hockey history no matter how the league handled their business.

    One way they tried to compensate for empty arenas was the outdoor doubleheader at Lake Tahoe. The Colorado Avalanche took on the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday, Feb. 20.

    The Bruins and the Flyers faced off for a rematch of the 2010 Winter Classic on Sunday, Feb. 21. If fans weren’t getting the real experience of an outdoor game, at least they’d see some excellent photographs of a beautiful scene.

    The Flyers barely had enough skaters to compete, and a postponement might’ve been a better decision. They were no match for a talented Bruins attack. David Pastrnak scored a hat trick in a 7-3 laugher that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Carter Hart allowed six goals on 23 shots as one of the first blunders in what turned out to be a miserable season for him and for the Flyers.

    Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins in 1 of the 2 NHL Outdoor Games at Lake Tahoe in 2021

  • 2024 NHL Stadium Series: A "Rocky" Effort

    MetLife Stadium- East Rutherford, NJ
    February 17, 2024
    Devils 6, Flyers 3

    When the NHL announced the 2024 Stadium Series at MetLife Stadium, it looked like the Devils would enter as heavy favorites. An early-season surge from the Flyers thickened the plot against a team that failed to live up to the standard of their breakout season in 2022-23.

    John Tortorella and the Flyers stunned the NHL with an excellent effort in 2023-24. They had a great opportunity to reignite a rivalry that became one of the game’s best in the 1990s and 2000s. However, they fell to the Devils 6-3 with a loose defensive effort.

    Nico Hischier scored his first of two NHL Stadium Series goals 32 seconds after the opening faceoff. The Flyers trailed the rest of the night and fell to 1-4-1 in outdoor games. The Rangers and the Islanders played a classic the following day at the Meadowlands.

    Nicolas Deslauriers, Garnet Hathaway, and Nick Seeler of the Philadelphia Flyers in Rocky costumes

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