Despite a quick start and numerous chances offered by Toronto goalie Ben Scrivens, the Philadelphia Flyers were unable to pull out a win in Monday night’s matchup with the Maple Leafs, falling by a 4-2 count.
Monday’s was the second of three games between the two teams this season. The Leafs took the first one back on February 11 with a final score of 5-2.
In a game where the Flyers were attempting to hit the .500 mark for the first time this season, they looked downright lost at times. Kimmo Timonen and Mike Knuble were noticeably slow on the ice, and the entire team’s passing game — save for a few decent ones here and there — was sloppy.
Philly head coach Peter Laviolette summed up the team’s recent struggles best: “One step forward, two steps back.”
Things looked promising for the Flyers out of the gate. For the first ten minutes, they led in shots with seven, and Scrivens gave them numerous opportunities to cash in on rebound attempts. But the second half of the first was lackluster for Philadelphia, and by the time the period ended, the teams were tied with 10 shots apiece.
The Leafs scored first on a snap shot from Phil Kessel in the first period and held onto the lead throughout the rest of the game.
The second period was not the Flyers’ best, as Toronto’s road to victory was paved by a goal from Nikolai Kulemin. Scott Hartnell’s first goal of the season was one of the very few high points of those 20 minutes for the Flyers.
In the third, Mikhail Grabovski gave his team the two-goal lead again, and despite their fair efforts and a goal from Jake Voracek, the team was unable to overcome the deficit. An empty-netter from Jay McClement at the end of the game sealed the deal for the Leafs.
Between the pipes, Ilya Bryzgalov faced 21 shots from Toronto, while Scrivens faced 25 from the Flyers. Bryzgalov’s save percentage now sits at .857.
After the game, Bryzgalov said that his team needs to do a lot of work from this point forward. “We need to play everyday is like our last chance, otherwise we’re going to be watching the playoff games on the TV.”
Now 9-11-1 on the season, the Flyers will once again attempt the climb back to .500 when they face the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.
Notes: Jake Voracek’s tally in the third brought him to a six-game point streak (14 points in his last six)… Erik Gustafsson saw 20:08 of ice time tonight; only Braydon Coburn had more with 20:17… Zac Rinaldo’s hitting streak continues, as he had six hits in only 7:49 minutes of play… former Flyer James van Riemsdyk was met with boos as he was introduced; it was his first game back in Philadelphia since being traded to Toronto on June 23, 2012… the Flyers and Maple Leafs will meet for the third and final time this season on April 4 in Toronto.