On Feb. 19, the Philadelphia Flyers hosted the Buffalo Sabres at the Wells Fargo Center. Before the puck dropped however, a special ceremony took place on the ice. Eric Desjardins, who was one of the greatest players to ever put on a Flyers sweater, was inducted into the franchise’s Hall of Fame.
During his 11 seasons with the “orange and black,” Desjardins proved to be a fast and talented defenseman. He scored 93 goals, notched 303 assists, and tallied 396 points. Desjardins’ won seven Barry Ashbee trophies as the Flyers “outstanding defenseman.” He was also a valuable piece when Philadelphia advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997.
As Desjardins walked out to center ice, he acknowledged the same fans that have cheered his name for over a decade. The atmosphere was surreal. Flags with the number 37 were raised, the number 37 scattered across the ice in graphics, and a tribute video was played on the scoreboard jumbotron.
After Desjardins recited his speech and waved to the 19,472 spectators in attendance, he was quickly embraced by his family, which included his wife, Manon, his son, Jakob, his daughter, Alana, and his mother, Gisele. Together, they stood arm in arm, looking up at the rafters to watch his number 37 banner unravel.
Nearly ten years have passed since Desjardins’ retirement, but he was finally recognized for his accomplishments. He became the Flyers third Hall of Fame inductee this season. Eric Lindros and John LeClair got inducted before the Flyers Nov. 20 game against the Minnesota Wild. Desjardins also became the 23rd player to receive this honor.
As each player took the ice, they sported a black number 37 patch on their jerseys. The Flyers hosted the worst team in the league, but the Sabres took an early one goal lead when Nicolas Deslauriers found the net. Just a few minutes later, Ryan White tied the score with his first of the season. The score remained 1-1 after the first period.
The Sabres did not take long to retake the lead. Just 38 seconds into the second period, Brian Gionta gave Buffalo the lead. However, the Flyers caught a break when Zemgus Girgensons was called for interference. Buffalo was shorthanded and Philadelphia capitalized when Jakub Voracek scored his 19th goal to tie the game at two.
Each team recorded 12 shots in the third period, but nobody scored. The game would be decided in a shootout following a scoreless overtime. With both teams tied at one, both goalies made impressive saves to keep their teams alive. Finally, Buffalo’s Brian Flynn scored the game winning goal, ending the shootout in four rounds. On a night of festivities, the Flyers fell, 3-2.
Buffalo goaltender Michal Neuvirth was instrumental in his team’s victory. Neuvirth stopped 36 of 38 shots. Ray Emery had a solid performance between the pipes, making 30 saves on 32 shots. The Flyers rebounded to pick up a point following a 5-2 loss to Columbus on Tuesday night.
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
1988 – Bob Clarke and Bernie Parent 1989 – Bill Barber, Ed Snider and Keith Allen 1990 – Rick MacLeish and Fred Shero 1991 – Barry Ashbee and Gary Dornhoefer 1992 – Reggie Leach and Gene Hart 1993 – Joe Scott and Ed Van Impe 1994 – Tim Kerr 1996 – Joe Watson 1999 – Brian Propp 2001 – Mark Howe 2004 – Dave Poulin 2008 – Ron Hextall 2009 – Dave Schultz 2014 – Eric Lindros and John LeClair 2015 – Eric Desjardins