Flyers Fail To Bag Leafs, Lose 3-2
With the Flyers one of the deeper teams in the league plugged in Nikolay Zherdev and rookie call up Ben Holmstrom, who made his NHL debut as Jeff Carter was a late scratch with the Flu.
Holmstrom had been called up earlier in the day would have a good first period helping kill off some of the four Leaf power plays surrendered in the period. He was paired with Blair Betts on those kills and also with Betts and Shelley on the fourth line.
The Flyers needed to jump out to a quick start and did maybe to quick as Ville Leino raced down the ice to cancel an icing and hit a Leafs defenseman after the whistle to give the Leafs the game's first power play just 1:23 into the game. The Flyers would successfully kill off this Leaf power play as well as the other three leaf power plays in the first period.
The Flyers would find the back of the net first tonight as Kris Versteeg would net the first of two goals tonight just under six minutes into the game. It was followed by a fist pump with a little emphasis towards his not so old team.
This was Versteeg's first season with the Leafs as he was traded from the Chicago Blackhawks for multiple players. The Leafs would waste no time, almost as if the Flyers were still high fiving, the Leafs would capitalize on a Scott Hartnell turnover to a wide open Kulemin who slapped it by the partially screen Sergei Bobrovsky to tie the game at one just twenty one seconds after the Flyers had opened the game's scoring.
Laviolette sending a message to Hartnell, as he would miss some shifts for that mistake. Both goaltenders played well in the first period , often bailing out their teams as the first period of the game ended tied at one and with the shots on goal tied at nine. Flyers were 0-1 on the power play as the Leafs went 0-4.
The second period started with a fight between Hartnell and Aulie just 1:41 in. Hartnell landed a few but Aulie put him down with a punch to the nod. The Flyers again would strike first this period when Versteeg received a perfect cross ice pass from Richards and in one motion wristed the puck into the open net for his second of the game.
That goal, Versteeg's third as a Flyer and 16th and 17th on the season put the Flyers up 2-1. The Flyers again looked like they were going to surrender the lead shortly after as a shot found its way through Bobrovsky's legs and slid wide of the net.
Bobrovsky would make some great save during that flurry to maintain the Flyers one goal lead. This would be Bobrovsky's best period of the game turning away sixteen leaf shots making some spectacular split saves along the way.
The Flyers did not look good this period, looking a step behind which may have been the reason for three more power play opportunities for the Leafs this period. With Kessel in the box for tripping the Flyers would get called for a too many men on the ice bench minor with nineteen seconds left in the period.
The Leafs would score on the four on four opportunity just eight seconds in as Dion Phaneuf would wrist a shot past Bobrovsky to tie the game at two with 10.5 seconds left in the period. The period would end with the teams tied at two.
Toronto lead the period in shots with seventeen and would go 0-3 with the man advantage while the Flyers went 0-2.
Shortly after the third period started the Flyers would get an early opportunity to get the lead back. Tyler Bozak picked up a delay of game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass just two minutes into the third period.
The Leafs would kill that power play off with the strong effort from James Reimer, who kept the puck out of his net the rest of the third period.
The Maple Leafs would get their chance with the man advantage at the ten minute mark of the third when Ville Leino went off for tripping for his second penalty of the game. This time the Flyers and Bobrovsky would kill off the power play and keep the game tied at two.
That would not last long as five minute later Sean O'Donnell would get out worked in the corner and Darryl Boyce would emerge with the puck. Boyce took it to the net for a partial wrap around shot beating Bobrovsky low to the far side as he was too deep in his net and not out challenging which exposed the far side.
The Flyers would pull their goalie and throw a flurry of shots at Reimer, one of which he stole with his glove bounced off the top off the net into his crease where he covered the puck staving off the Flyers last good scoring chance of the game. The Leafs would hold the Flyers off for the 3-2 road win and much needed two points.
The Flyers did not have a good game tonight and often looked a step behind the faster Toronto Maple Leafs. All but one Flyer struggled to deposit the puck in the back of the net tonight.
It is the norm for the Flyers to struggle against a goalie they face for the first time. the story line is always the same, many scoring chances but not much to show for it. Some how some way the Flyers have to find ways to score when the going gets tough.
The goaltenders in the playoffs are only going to be that much harder to beat , especially a hot Tim Thomas. The team discipline tonight was terrible with the Flyers committing seven minor penalties. Meszaros lead the way with three followed by Leino with two. That obviously also can not happen in the play offs this year or it will be a short one.
Lastly the Flyers need to start hitting in their own zone and make teams look over their shoulders when heading into the corners. It is not happening right now and teams are controlling the puck in the Flyers zone with no consequences to be paid. Don't know when we will see Pronger's mean streak appear but we need it now.
Stand Out Players