December 20, 1979: The Flyers Match The Unbeaten Record
On December 20, 1979, the Philadelphia Flyers tied the NHL record of 28 games in a row without a loss, when they skated to a 1-1 tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins, in front of a home crowd at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. The crowd of 17,077 were there to see the record matched and they would not be disappointed. The Penguins jumped to an early lead on a powerplay goal by Ron Stackhouse in the first period. From there, it was a battle of the goaltenders as Pittsburgh's Greg Millen and Philly's Pete Peeters turned away everything that was thrown at them. The Flyers came out in the third desperate to score the equalizer. They peppered the goalie but just couldn't break through the Millen wall. With 5:39 left in regulation, Pittsburgh defenseman Bob Stewart was called for hooking, it was a game changer. At the 4:08 mark Behn Wilson took a pass from Dennis Vervegaert and punched it into the corner of the goal. The crowd let out a cheer that Millen called the most incredible thing he had ever heard following the goal by Wilson. Once the clock hit zeros and the tie was intact, red and black balloons, fell from the rafters with cards floating through the air like confetti that read "28 you were there." The record had been set by the Montreal Canadiens during the '77-'78 campaign and on that night in Philly it was done yet again. The Flyers would extend the streak to 35 before it was snapped. To date, it is the longest unbeaten streak in the history of North American sports. The streak began with a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 14th of '79 and was capped off with a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on January 6th of '80. During the run they won 25 of the 35 and tied the other 10 as they rewrote the record books. Philadelphia would post a remarkable 48-12-20 record as they rolled through the playoffs and into the Stanley Cup Finals. Unfortunately for the fans in Philly and all those men who worked to get there, the run would end there as they fell in 6 games to the New York Islanders. Even so, they rewrote the history book along the way and that was one great season by those Philadelphia Flyers.