Visiting a desperate Toronto team, the Flyers were able to beat the Maple Leafs 3-2 tonight. Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist helping the Flyers win their second straight game after dropping four straight. The win improves the Flyers’ record to 42-19-6.
A flaw of the Flyers game as a whole is the powerplay. Last game against Edmonton, a Jeff Carter tally was the only goal registered on a five minute advantage during the opening period. Tonight, Mike Komisarek received a, what some might call a questionable, five minute major for boarding Daniel Carcillo just before the four minute mark in the first period.
Taking advantage of the Komisarek boarding major, Andrej Meszaros blasted home his sixth goal of the season. After Danny Briere dangled with the puck for a bit in the circle to James Reimer’s right, he’d slide it over to Claude Giroux. Moving towards the blue line, Giroux passed it to Meszaros at the point. Not thinking twice, Meszaros wound up and ripped home the opening goal one minute and ten seconds into the man advantage as Reimer couldn’t find the slapshot through traffic.
The Flyers nearly enjoyed a two goal lead, but a quick and unheralded whistle prevented the situation. As Carter stood in front and whacked away at the puck, a whistle was blown just before the puck crossed the goal-line. The referee incorrectly believed Reimer had the puck covered up.
Unfortunately for Philly, the remaining time on the powerplay went goalless and after a five minute man advantage the Flyers had only a 1-0 lead.
Brian Boucher made his presence felt throughout the remaining time in the first period. After putting seven shots on the elongated man advantage, the Flyers were out shot 8-4 in the second half of the first period. Despite getting outworked for the latter part of the period, the orange and black held onto a 1-0 lead.
Reimer cancelled out all the hard work he did for the first half of the second period by allowing a soft goal to give Philly the 2-0 lead. After the Leafs’ had just killed off a Dion Phaneuf slashing call, trouble clearing the zone ultimately led to a Darroll Powe shot from the corner to Reimer’s left. Grabbing the puck and spinning clockwise, Powe threw a puck on net from the goal-line that leaked its way through Reimer’s 5-hole.
Powe’s sixth goal didn’t give the Flyers a two-goal lead for long. As Nick Boynton sat in the sin bin for hooking, a Phaneuf slapshot from the point banked off of Mikhail Grabovski’s face, who was standing next to the right post, and into the net. Grabovski’s head gave him his twenty-sixth goal of the season and cut the deficit to one a minute and forty-seven seconds after Powe’s goal.
The Maple Leafs then surged briefly after Grabovski’s goal before Giroux regained the two-goal lead. On a rebound resulting from a James van Riemsdyk shot, Giroux put the puck home blocker side on Reimer from the slot. Toronto’s one-goal deficit lasted all of three minutes and seventeen seconds before Giroux’s twenty-second goal of the season made it two again with five minutes and twenty seconds left in the middle period.
Keeping their hopes up for gaining two points, Mike Brown displayed a great individual effort that resulted in a Joffrey Lupul goal. Moving the puck from the neutral zone to the Leafs’ offensive zone, Brown deked past Sean O’Donnell resulting in a 2-on-1 with Lupul. Brown then passed it to Lupul through the slot where Lupul kicked it to his stick and shot it in the net over a sprawling Boucher. Lupul’s ninth made it a one-goal game with twelve minutes left in regulation.
Tensions ran high late in the game when Giroux was hit by Carl Gunnarsson into the boards. After a clean hit, Gunnarsson held Giroux to the ice before Giroux threw a punch in an attempt to get Gunnarsson off of him. Agitated by the punch, Gunnarsson pushed Giroux while he was on his knees. Naturally, since the game was in Toronto, both players received minors; Giroux for roughing, Gunnarsson for cross-checking.
Both players left the box with just two minutes and twenty-nine seconds left in regulation. The remaining time didn’t warrant any goals resulting in a 3-2 Flyers win.
Filling in for an injured Chris Pronger, Nick Boynton didn’t have the greatest first game as a Flyer. Not registering any points, Boynton’s hooking penalty in the second led to Grabovski’s goal. Boynton had an even rating on the night.
With games against Atlanta on Saturday and Florida on Tuesday, the Flyers can increase their winning streak to four games.
Notes: Tonight was the first game since 2/5/11 against the Stars that both Powe and Meszaros scored. Giroux scored his first goal since a third period mark against the Coyotes on 2/22/11. The Flyers went 3-1-0 against Toronto in the 2010-2011 season and are now 11-6-0 against the Northeast division this season (BOS 1-2-0, MTL 3-1-0, BUF 2-1-0, TOR 3-1-0, OTT 2-1-0).