Flyers snap three-game skid with 4-3 win over Leafs
After only five minutes into the second period, it looked like it was going to be a long night.
Losers of three consecutive games against three division opponents and being held scoreless for over 98 minutes, the Philadelphia Flyers managed to lose two separate leads almost as quickly as they had gained them.
Facing a formidable Toronto Maple Leafs club that could pull within three points of the Flyers in the Eastern Conference standings with a win, Thursday night was a chance for a struggling team to turn the ship around.
While the first five minutes of the second was disappointing, it was the final five minutes that proved to be the game.
Following a goal by Claude Giroux to take the lead, it was Brayden Schenn who scored around the five-minute mark to give the Flyers enough to hold on for a 4-3 win.
The Flyers jumped out of the gate with a bounce in their step.
Dominating the majority of the first, the team seemed to carry over their offense-centric performance from Tuesday night against the New York Islanders by outshooting their opponents 16-5.
However, unlike their previous game, the team was able to make good on their chances.
“I think after last game, we got shut out, we had chances and things weren’t going in for us,” Schenn said. “And tonight kind of the same thing, but they were going in.”
With five minutes remaining in the period, Scott Hartnell scored his first goal since the All-Star break on a play where he batted the puck into the net like a baseball player.
Then in a surprising twist, Hartnell dropped the gloves with Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf immediately after scoring the goal.
While it’s unusual to see a player celebrate a goal with a fight, this occasion had some history to it.
During the All-Star game, Hartnell was heard saying, “Suck it, Phaneuf” while mic’d up for the television network TSN.
Following the game, both players said the fight had nothing to do with Hartnell's comment.
“No, that was all in good fun,” Hartnell said of the All-Star game incident. “Little things like that are fun of the game.”
Some players found that the fun carried over into Thursday night too.
“It’s awesome,” Brayden Schenn said of the fight. “pretty funny, pretty cool, to see a guy score a goal and somebody drop the gloves.”
After a back-and-forth second that saw the Leafs pull within one with two minutes left in the period, it was encouraging to see the Flyers completely shut them down in the third to protect a one goal lead.
Considering how rough the team’s previous three games had been, Thursday night was a welcomed change of pace.
Playing well in almost every phase of the game, the team managed a win against a difficult opponent.
With the fore-seeable future not getting any easier, the win was a much-needed boost.
“When you leave here today, you go into work tomorrow, you practice some things you think you need to work on or show some video,” Peter Laviolette said. “You walk out of here with the two points and that is what it is about in the regular season. The rest of the season is just collecting points."
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