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Leafs Lose to Flyers, 2-1

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Courtesy of Kate Frese

The Leafs hit their final game before the All-Star break, hoping to solidify their hold on a playoff spot a little more before the unofficial second half kicks off. They’ve been ot recently, especially on the road, so let’s hope they can keep it going.

First Period
  • [20:00] Both teams playing their backups tonight, on the second night of a back-to-back... could be seeing a lot of goals.
  • [19:20] Matthews’ line has it’s customary first shift in the offensive zone. They will likely be there often tonight.
  • [16:55] Strong period so far for the Leafs. Some solid pressure in the offensive zone, though no particularly dangerous chances.
  • [15:31] Romanuk, in explaining the idea of why backups tend to play the second night of a back-to-back, displays that he does not know what averages are.
  • [15:00] Almost-Leaf Travis Konecny has a great chance on a centring feed from Brayden Schenn, after Zaitsev gets caught puck-watching. McElhinney keeps the game tied.
  • [14:32] Polak might take the idea of ‘never a bad thing to take a shot’ to it’s logical extreme.
  • [12:52] An absolutely dominant shift from the Matthews group leads to another one for Kadri’s, as the Leafs change on the fly in the offensive zone. Gardiner/Carrick predictably running the show.
  • NOTE: For some reason, there’s no game clock on Sportsnet now.
  • Off a draw, Bozak gets high sticked, and it draws blood too. Leafs will have 4 minutes to try and get a lead.
  • The Leafs haven’t gotten a whole lot through the first half of this power play. Not really getting set up
  • They finally do get some zone time, but no chances at all. Brown is having some trouble handling the puck, and has fumbled a couple of chances.
  • The Flyers kill off the penalty and the Philly crowd is into it.
  • [7:43] And shortly after, Wayne Simmonds gets a breakway, and puts it away adeptly, just as he did in Toronto. What a player. Giveaway by Hunwick sets it up. 1-0 Flyers.
  • [7:05] They almost immediately get another incredible chance, but McElhinney stops Nick Cousins on another partial break.
  • [3:57] The Leafs have done alright at even strength so far, but the best couple of chances have definitely gone to Philly. And you can’t let a team with their forward talent have such high quality chances.
  • [2:25] Babcock has been liberal in using his fourth line tonight, even against good competition
  • [1:57] Radko Gudas goes low on Kadri as the latter tries to dance around him in the neutral zone... another PP for the Leafs upcoming. Kind of dirty from Gudas.
  • [0:46] That’s been a couple times where Gardiner hasn’t been able to keep the puck in off a mundane pass on the power play.
  • [0:00] First period ends with the Leafs stuck a goal, as the power play is close to expiry.
Second Period
  • [17:43] More of the same for the second. Leafs doing well at ES, but occasionally giving up the most dangerous chances.
  • [16:28] A great Gardiner pass finds Brown with space on the wing, but his shot misses the target entirely.
  • [15:20] Jake has been phenomenal tonight, by my eye test.
  • [15:00] Giroux finds Voracek on a centring pass in the Leafs zone, but McElhinney robs him.
  • [11:10] Been pretty monotonous, but Marner and Zaitsev get huge chances in the slot. Neuvirth saves the first, and Mark Streit saves the second.
  • [8:52] Flyers go the PP, as Carrick is sent to the box for interference.
  • [7:03] Lots of shots, no goals for the Flyers, as McElhinney stands tall on the PP.
  • [6:09] Marner gets a pseudo-breakaway shortly after the penalty expires, but his shot is turned away by Neuvirth.
  • [5:21] Marner loses his stick on a defensive zone shift, and spends the rest of it like a chicken with his head cut off. Just get your damn stick, Mitch. The two seconds it takes is better than playing 5-on-4 for 25 seconds.
  • [4:25] Leafs tie the game! Nylander, who has been great at puck retrieval all game, scores a gritty goal in front. Kadri centres the puck from behind the net, and Willie pokes it home on the second attempt. This was preceded by some great forechecking by the Leafs forwards. Tie game!
  • [1:10] Strong shift by Kadri’s group, but in the process, Komarov takes a puck to the ankle off a point shot from Zaitsev. He’s headed to the tunnel, and will be a big miess for the Leafs if he’s gone for the rest of the game, or extended periods of time.
  • [0:00] Period over, and the Leafs claw their way back into it. We head to the third tied.
Third Period
  • [19:44] Third period underway. Hasn’t been a crazy high event game so far, at leasat not by the Leafs standards. We’ll see if that changes, or if the teams are content to play for one as the period winds down.
  • [19:25] Strong opening shift for Philly, as Couturier nearly gets a goal in tight.
  • [17:41] Flyers getting the better of the Leafs in the early going, as the Leafs are really having trouble getting out of their zone with control at times. This is a game of two pretty aggressive teams, but if one starts to tire and lose steam on the forecheck, it may give the other a huge advantage.
  • [16:19] The Leafs’ rookies have gotten a lot of attention, but Provorov and Konecny are incredibly impressive as well.
  • [14:30] Flyers crowd is hot about a no-call. At this point, even strength looks like a power-play for Philly as the Leafs are getting almost nothing going offensively.
  • [12:41] McElhinney is keeping the Leafs in it right now. Save after save, as the Flyers pour on the pressure.
  • [7:29] Leafs starting to do a little better now. Some hope of surviving.
  • [5:33] This is REALLY nerve-wracking. The Leafs have been a hair’s width away from losing the tie for most of this period.
  • [3:52] I feel like I haven’t said Matthews’ name at all today. Been quiet from his line, especially in the third.
  • [3:24] Though the Leafs as a whole have gotten killed in the third. Road back-to-backs in two different cities are no joke. Also, Philadelphia is a pretty decent team. Credit to them for taking it to the Leafs in the third.
  • [2:37] Yeah... that was expected. Roman Lyubimov scores after an extended shift in the Leafs zone. The Leafs fourth line hasn’t gotten victimized much recently, but they were here. And now the Leafs have to chase the game, and they don’t have a lot of time to do so. 2-1 Flyers.
  • [1:55] The Leafs pull the goalie early, as they should.
  • [0:52] Yeah, not much going on here for the Leafs.
  • [0:00] Time runs out, with the Leafs pressuring. Real shame not to get a point here, but the Flyers absolutely deserved the win with how they played in the third. The Leafs will get a few days off before facing Dallas next Tuesday. Meanwhile, we get to watch Auston Matthews in the All-Star game and lick our wounds. There are worse fates in the world.