Eleven days ago the Toronto Maple Leafs ended a two game losing streak against the Philadelphia Flyers. They had given up 11 goals and only scored six themselves to the Leafs needed a confidence booster. They got that by potting seven goals against the Flyers in a 7-6 victory.
It wasn’t a defensive victory, but a win is a win.
Tonight the Leafs looked to get two more points and clinch a playoff spot against those same Flyers.
Things got going quickly when Tyler Ennis gets the puck out from behind the net right onto Connor Brown’s stick, which gives the Leafs a 1-0 lead in the first three minutes.
The Maple Leafs put more shots against Carter Hart before the goal, but Hart was on top of the puck on each attempt.
The Flyers are giving as good as they get, with the shots even at six halfway through the first period, they just aren’t as controlling. The fourth line of Ennis-Gauthier-Brown with the pairing of Ozhiganov-Marincin hem the Flyers in their own zone and gets shots off (wide) several times before the Flyers are able to regroup and dump it out.
The Maple Leafs keep the pressure on the Flyers, not giving the opposition much room to maneuver, In the Flyers end Connor Brown swipes the puck, gives it a kick and gets the pass to Nazem Kadri, who scores to give the Leafs a two goal lead.
Frederik Gauthier almost sets up the third goal of the game, but his pass is intercepted by the Flyers who take the puck all the way down to the Maple Leafs net where Travis Konecny gets a clean shot on net, but Andersen nabs with his glove.
Konecny is doing all kinds of great things with his stick in this game....
The Maple Leafs get another chance, but can’t score so they go for the tried and true ‘break the opponents starter’ method.
Not long after that Michael Raffl gets called for hooking Morgan Rielly, and the Leafs get their first power play of the game.
The power play isn’t very tight tonight, the Flyers keep interrupting passes in the slot and dumping the puck down to the Leafs zone, and we end the power play without a goal.
The first period ends shortly afterwards and the score is 2-0 for Toronto, with the shots 11-10 in the Maple Leafs favour.
The Maple Leafs are focused on scoring from the net front this game, but they’re leaving the slot open for the Flyers. Hopefully they can tighten things up in the next period.
The second image begins with Philadelphia flying in to the Maple Leafs zone with some great chances to score but Freddie Andersen keeps on denying them the goals.
The Maple Leafs will take the game back down to the Flyers zone for a minute or two, but then Travis Konecny comes down the glove side wing and rips a shot from the top of the face off circle to cut the Maple Leafs lead down to 2-.
After the Flyers score the both teams get some nice chances, with the Flyers crowding around the Leafs net making Andersen’s life difficult. He males a save and the play becomes more back and forth until Radko Gudas takes a shot from the high point that flies through traffic and goes in to tie the game at two goals a piece.
The Flyers will continue to put pressure on the Maple Leafs, keeping the puck in the Leafs zone, and out shooting the visitors.
The Flyers get a two on one into the Leafs zone, but Ron Hainsey gets in between the two Flyers and the puck and breaks up the play.
The Maple Leafs look to have a good chance when Mitch Marner spins around the Flyers defense to hold the puck, but his cross-crease pass is interrupted by Nolan Patrick, who ices the puck in a clearing attempt.
When play resumes the Maple Leafs lose control of the puck and the play goes back down around Andersen. The puck gets shot from the point and is deflected into the net by Sean Couturier to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead.
The second period was almost entirely the Flyers domain. They scored three goals to take the lead, and out shot and out played the Maple Leafs for twenty straight minutes.
Andersen makes a save with seconds left to go in the period and Nolan Patrick and Nikita Zaitsev get into it a bit with pushing and shoving - Z gets knocked to the ice - and jawing at each other after the whistle.
The Flyers out shot Toronto 18-13 in the second, and out scored them 3-0. Total score after two periods is 3-2 for the Flyers.
When the third period opens, the Maple Leafs take control of the puck and show their first period form, rather than the listless second period moves we saw.
Auston Matthews takes the puck across the ice and scores one of his “How did he get that in?” goals to tie the game less than two minutes into the third period.
After a missed John Tavares goal, former Leaf James van Riemsdyk gets a one on one with Martin Marincin and amazing does not score.
The play goes back the other way after Andersen bails the Leafs out of a scramble in front of the net, and Auston Matthews sends the puck diagonally across the ice and rebounds it off the end boards to William Nylander who beat the icing, but the shot goes up into the netting.
When play resumes Andreas Johnsson gets called for tripping Travis Sanheim. The Flyers get their first power play.
The Flyers power play gets some chances, but the Leafs keep them from dominating play. The Flyers don’t score with the man advantage, but when we get back to even strength the puck is dumped down into the Leafs zone, and when they try to clear it from the corner it goes out in front of the net to an undefended Ryan Hartman who scores to give the Flyers the lead again.
Shortly after that though, William Nylander will score to tie the game:
The game gets chippy as slashes go uncalled, and the pressure on each of these teams intensifies. In the Flyers zone William Nylander has a bad turnover to Jakob Voracek who in turn takes the gifted puck and almost sets up a lead taking goal, but isn’t able to complete the set up. Frederik Andersen does have to dive to cover the puck to prevent Ryan Hartman from getting his second of the game a bit later on. Freddie is getting a workout tonight.
Kasperi Kapanen comes close to giving the Maple Leafs the lead, but Travis Sanheim stick checks him and Kappy misses the puck. That draws a penalty against the Flyers, so for the second time the Maple Leafs head to the power play.
The first 45 seconds of the power play sees the puck in full control by the Maple Leafs, and Morgan Rielly and Nazem Kadri both work hard to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Once the Flyers get the puck out the Maple Leafs have a hard time getting it back in, as the Flyers continually dump it down the ice. The period ends as the penalty expires.
The game is tied at four after three periods of play.
The trio of Matthews-Kapanen-Rielly set the tone for the overtime, keeping the puck out of their own zone, but not getting much in the way of chances. Tavares-Marner-Muzzin do much better in front of the Flyers net forcing Carter Hart to smother the puck for a whistle.
The Flyers get into the Maple Leafs zone and Sean Couturier almost ends the game, but it goes off Andersen’s pads. James van Riemsdyk tries to wrap it around the net and Travis Sanheim thinks he’s scored, but the referees whistled the play dead before the puck crossed the line.
The Flyers argue this call, taking up more time than is left in the game, but the refs stand pat and play resumes with a face off to Freddie’s left. The Leafs get the puck out, but it gets dumped down in. The Flyers use this time to change lines, so Mitch Marner skates it in but is chased out of the Flyers zone. John Tavares gets to go one on one with Carter Hart, but he shoots wide.
Travis Sanheim and van Riemsdyk almost score, but the puck deflects up and over the goal, and the overtime period ends.
First shooter for the Flyers is Claude Giroux who comes in too close to Andersen and is stopped.
First for Toronto is Tyler Ennis who shoots right into Harts glove.
Second for Philly is Voracek who also goes into the goalies glove.
Second for Toronto is Mitch Marner who close the five hole on the puck.
Third for the Flyers is Nolan Patrick who shoots wide.
Auston Matthews has the game deciding goal on this stick but Hart gets the pad on it.
James van Riemsdyk is number four, and doesn’t score.
John Tavares comes up for Toronto, and loses the puck off his stick as he serpentines his way to the net.
Sean Couturier scores by deking around Andersen’s skate to tuck it into the net.
William Nylander is denied by Carter Hart and the Flyers win the game 5-4 in a shootout.
The Maple Leafs played well for two non-consecutive periods, and lost their first shootout of the game.
- Nazem Kadri ends a 12 game goal-less streak.
- Patrick Marleau played his 1,652nd game tying Mark Recchi for fifth all time.
- Auston Matthews set a new career high in points at 70 this season.
- This was the Maple Leafs first shootout of the season, coming in game 77.
- Carter Hart is the first Flyers rookie goaltender to beat the Leafs since Brian Boucher in 2000.
The next Maple Leafs game is Saturday night in Ottawa. Game time is 7PM. I have two hopes for this game. The first is that the Leafs use the next two days off to rest everyone and the second is Garret Sparks gets the start to give Freddie five days off.