Where the hell was this all last week? The Maple Leafs played a great game, worked well as a team, and scored way more goals than the opponent. This is what we expect every night, guys.
Pontus Holmberg made his NHL debut tonight, and got the rookie solo lap to kick things off.
The Leafs don’t let the Flyers control the game right off the bat, so we’re off to an okay start. Morgan Rielly comes out to try and put the Leafs on the board first, but isn’t able to get the puck in the net.
The Leafs push hard, and continue to sneak into the offensive zone, but no early goal for them.
Michael Bunting draws a hooking penalty from Nick Seeler, putting the Leafs on the first power play of the game just over five minutes in. The Flyers penalty kill clogs the slot, keeping the Leafs to the outside and does a good job of robbing the power play of any quality scoring or passing chances.
No goals there, but Travis Konecny goes down right as the power play ends for roughing TJ Brodie and the Buds get another chance with the man advantage.
you can't do that, Leafs back to the PP pic.twitter.com/wZwiloETyR— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 2, 2022
The Flyers penalty kill out plays the Leafs power play for the second straight time, and the score stays tied at 0-0 halfway through the first period, despite out shooting Philly 8-2.
The Flyers control the game since their first penalty, and then Joel Farabee scores the first goal of the game with a nice point shot as he’s left alone in the Leafs zone.
The Leafs follow this up with a penalty of their own, when Victor Mete is called for crosschecking. The Leafs penalty kill keeps on catching the puck from the Flyers and dumping it back out. The Flyers aren’t getting to set up as much as the Leafs were, so their seeing less zone time, and this works for Toronto as the Flyers can’t extend their lead.
It’s a parade to the penalty box tonight, next up Nicolas Deslauriers trips Auston Matthews, giving the Leafs their third penalty and the Flyers the chance to go 3/3 on the penalty kill.
The Leafs get to set up their play again, and after a Matthews shot they swarm in and get the rebound to tie the game at ones.
John Tavares doesn’t want to settle for setting up a goal, so he works hard to keep the play around the Flyers net, keeps passing to the point, who passes it in, and JT sneaks up to the point himself to shoot it in off the crossbar, and gives the Leafs the lead.
The first period ends with the Leafs in the lead, with more than double the shots the Flyers have (15-6). It wasn’t completely dominant like I want to see, but it was far from the slack-jawed yokels we saw on the road trip.
The second period is much more Leafs than the first. Flyers goalie Felix Sandstrom is looking for his first win in his eighth start and is getting quite the work out, facing six more shots to start the period.
another shot from Matthews saved by the blocker pic.twitter.com/CCuZ96MkQW— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 3, 2022
The Flyers get saved from the offensive onslaught of the Leafs when Denis Malgin is called for crosschecking Egor Zamula. They try to get a power play going, but the Leafs can’t be stopped and get some shots off even being down a man.
Midway through the game, the Flyers get their tenth shot on goal, and their third power play of the game after Mark Giordano is called forholding Lukas Selak. This power play goes by without incident, no goal for the Flyers and not much of a chance at one either.
The Flyers get a little worked up after the power plays, and get some more shots off on Ilya Samsonov, but he’s sliding around making all the necessary saves. It’s a goaltenders duel in this game.
Another penalty for Toronto, their fourth tonight, has William Nylander called for interference. Both teams are getting a little more chippy as the clock ticks down in the second period. The Leafs power play once again overpowers the penalty kill, nothing from the Flyers for two minutes and then Pierre Engvall takes a nice shot from the dot, bounces the puck off Sandstroms chest, but the goalie covers the puck so no rebound opportunity.
Nylander picks up the puck and finds Engvall pic.twitter.com/RU8j8AscRa— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 3, 2022
Another Toronto penalty, again it’s William Nylander, this time for high-sticking. The Flyers are 0/4 and averaging one shot per power play. They get another one, but Samsonov covers up right away. The second period ends with 27 seconds left on the power play, and the Leafs leading 2-1. Shots are 30-15 for the Leafs.
The third starts with the Flyers winning the face off and Samsonov makes a great save when the puck comes right at him. The last of the power play is killed and we’re back to full strength.
Owen Tippet gets slashed, and when he gets back into play he takes a shot to the head. He gets up off the ice and onto the bench.
Owen Tippett takes a puck to the visor pic.twitter.com/15A705MAwa— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 3, 2022
The Leafs control the puck up and down the ice, where Zack Aston-Reese teams up with Denis Malgin to get the puck into the Flyers end, and ZAR gets a shot off into an open net to make it 3-1 Leafs.
The Flyers get their sixth powerplay of the game, John Tavares this time, and it finally pays off when Owen Tippet gets a short side goal just under the blocker to bring the Flyers within one.
Owen Tippett brings the Flyers within one pic.twitter.com/k30P0DpRUW— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 3, 2022
Some good play is coming from unexpected sources tonight. The bottom six is working hard, Justin Holl is having a good game defensively and Denis Malgin is breaking ankles.
John Tavares is having a great night as well, he dekes around the Flyers defence, passes to himself between their legs, and out stretches Sandstrom to get one past his toes. 4-2 Leafs.
JOHN TAVARES— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 3, 2022
SENT HIM TO THE SHADOW REALM pic.twitter.com/O1PPmcrvtT
The Flyers take offense to this, and after a save by Samsonov Scott Laughton knows he can’t outscore Tavares so he glove punches him in the face after the whistle. Petty.
The Leafs get a powerplay of their own finally, Zac MacEwan for hooking TJ Brodie, and with five minutes left they look to extend the lead to three. The Leafs take their time, set up their shots. john Tavares rips on right in front of the net, but hits Sandstrom in the chest. Tavares sets up shop in the slot again and after some passing around the perimeter, Tavares gets the hat trick.
Auston Matthews wants a goal too, and he goes between the legs on a rush, but can’t score. Another chance, but he can’t do it. Matthews and Konecny almost come to blow but Mark Giordano swoops in and tackles the Flyer to save Matthews from the fight.
they went for Matthews— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 3, 2022
Bunting and Giordano step in pic.twitter.com/bhxlGfnACn
There’s lots of pushing and shoving and words and it ends with Giordano and Kevin Hayes throwing punches while Konecny and Michael Bunting wrestle to the ground.
After all that, Bunting, Matthews, Giordano get penalties for the Leafs and DeAngelo, Hayes, Tanner Lazynski, and Konecny go off for the Flyers. There’s less time left in this game than what the refs have spent sorting this out.
The Leafs will spend the final 1:44 left in the game on the power play. Unless they score.
Matthews had a chance to get another one pic.twitter.com/pJQdRl7Dnu— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 3, 2022
They don’t, but they do win the game! 5-2 Over the Flyers in their return home from a disastrous trip out west.
A hat trick, sticking up for your team mates, and solid goaltending and special teams. This is the team we expect to see night in and night out. Hopefully they can enjoy this game and realize what kind of talent and people they have on this team.
Thank you Leafs for entertaining tonight. It’s been a while.
The Leafs have a couple days off, and the next game is Saturday night in Boston.
See you then!