Chronology of the game
The Leafs opened the scoring at 17:06 of the first period when Nazem Kadri absolutely turned Michael Del Zotto into a human pylon. After a quick breakout pass from Nikita Zaitsev, Kadri took a tough pass from Tyler Bozak in flight and stepped right around the Flyers' defenceman to go in alone on Steve Mason and beat him with a nice move.
Nazem Kadri dances around Michael Del Zotto, dangles Michael Neuvirth and puts the Leafs up 1-0 with a breakaway goal. pic.twitter.com/O9pf5ty3Dc— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) November 12, 2016
There are those nifty mittens.
The Flyers, however, had something to say about that.
With James van Riemsdyk in the box for tripping, it took only a few seconds for Wayne Simmons to tip a shot by Frederik Andersen:
Claude Giroux ties the game for Philadelphia, 1-1 pic.twitter.com/XZZF08P4ym— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) November 12, 2016
Then, just a few seconds later, the Flyers took the lead! It was Travis Konecny slipping past Connor Carrick. No doubt that Carrick would want that play back.
Travis Konecny quickly makes it 2-1 Flyers. That Leafs lead didn't last long at all. pic.twitter.com/ua7jDNUnSg— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) November 12, 2016
it took until the final minute of the period, but the Leafs pulled even. On a 5-on-3, Mitchell Marner dished the puck back to Morgan Rielly, who was drifting in off the point. Rielly held the puck just long enough for a sliding Flyer defender to get out of the way before roofing a shot against the play into the top corner of the net.
I'm not sure what's better about this goal, Marner's pass, Rielly's patient shot, or Marner's absolute giddiness after it goes in. pic.twitter.com/oQRGznFejo— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) November 12, 2016
The period ended 2-2.
van Riemsdyk made a bad giveaway on a drop pass at the offensive zone blue line during a power play just under three minutes into the second period that allowed Simmons to walk in on Andersen all alone and score.
Wayne Simmonds takes advantage of a poor effort passing play from Bozak, JVR, and Rielly and scores on a shorthanded breakaway. 3-2 Flyers. pic.twitter.com/6Db0sosX1h— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) November 12, 2016
The Leafs had trouble keeping the puck out of their end through most of the second period and generated relatively few chances on net. The shots at the end of two periods were 27-14 for the Flyers.
Fortunately, the Leafs started the third period with a lot more jump than they had in the second. After some nice passing, it was Martin Marincin who blasted home a one-timer off a drop pass from Rielly. Tie game.
What a drop pass by Morgan Rielly to set up a Martin Marincin (!!) bomb to tie the game for the Leafs. 3-3 with 15 to go in regulation. pic.twitter.com/lTwxO2EQOy— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) November 12, 2016
Zach Hyman put the Leafs ahead at 11:26 of the third period after a frantic shift from his line had the Flyers scrambling all over their zone. Auston Matthews had two fantastic chances including a shot that hit the crossbar before Hyman stuffed it home.
Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) November 12, 2016
With just under 9 minutes left in the third period Leo Komarov intercepted a Claude Giroux pass in the Leafs' end, out-skated Shayne Gostisbehere to go in alone against Mason, and tucked a backhand deke five hole. 5-3 Leafs.
Marner added some icing to the cake for the Leafs with a power play goal.
Mitch Marner makes it 6-3 Leafs with his 5th goal of the season. pic.twitter.com/qe9FkrnuZ4— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) November 12, 2016
The Leafs again looked porous in the neutral zone, but the Flyers simply weren't strong enough on the forecheck to really make the Leafs pay. Instead, the Leafs moved the puck out of the D-zone with ease, and, aside from the second period, didn't have to spend much time chasing the play. As evidenced by the Los Angeles game, the Leafs will need to fix their neutral zone play going forward, but at least they won't be so badly exposed every game.
Morgan Rielly looked great tonight in the offensive zone, and set a career-high four points with one goal and three primary assists.
Mitch Marner has been arguably the best Leaf this season, and maybe also the best rookie. He picked up a goal and an assist tonight and looked lethal again on Tyler Bozak's wing. ON TYLER BOZAK'S WING.
Nazem Kadri has been on fire lately, trucking fools and scoring beautiful goals. Every other team hates him, and that's exactly why you should love him. The fact that his production is going way up this year shouldn't come as a big surprise to anyone - his possession numbers have always been good and he's only just now getting to play with two competent wingers - Komarov and Brown, and for a while in this game, Nylander. If he plays with good players, Kadri puts up points.
Ben Smith should be replaced by Peter Holland.
Auston Matthews has hit more than one post per game over his last what... four games? He'll break out of this scoring slump. Heck, he even had an assist tonight.