The score reads 6-1, but the game was far from easy for the Flyers. The eruption of four goals came within the last 3:28 of the third period. In the end, six different Flyers scored as they remain red hot and beat the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The start of the game was what we thought it would be. Two teams looking to maintain their hot streak. The Flyers were looking for their fifth win in a row. The Maple Leafs won four of their last five. It came as no surprise that both teams would come out flying around the ice. In the end, the Flyers continued their hot streak, winning their fifth game in a row. They picked up in December right where they left off in November.
The First Period, The Leafs Had More Jump
The Leafs jumped out to a 15-7 shots on goal (SOG) edge after the first period. This was largely in part due to the lone penalty going against the Flyers’ Ivan Provorov. During the ensuing powerplay, the Leafs were all over the offensive zone and got six shots on goal. Carter Hart was forced into action and he was up to the task. Hart made 15 saves in the first period. The biggest was a glove-hand save robbing Leafs’ start Auston Matthews on the power play.
The First period saw a back and forth battle with little to show as the score was 0-0 at the end of the first. The Flyers killed off what would be their lone penalty of the game. At the end of the first, Joel Farabee and Ivan Provorov lead the Flyers in shots with two. Phil Myers led the team with three hits.
Second Period Success
The second period started out quickly for the Flyers as they put a lot of pressure on the Maple Leafs. There was just one problem, they weren’t shooting the puck. The forwards were trying to pass too much. Just over four minutes into the second period, the Maple Leafs had the best scoring chance early on, as Andreas Johnsson got in on a breakaway. Hart shut him down.
Scott Laughton started the scoring, tapping in a Kevin Hayes pass. Hayes used his big frame to protect the puck along the boards. He bodied the defender away and turned to the goal line. As Leaf defenders converged, Hayes hit Laughton with a centering pass that lead to Laughton’s third of the year.
The Flyers had two powerplay opportunities in the second period but failed to get a shot on either of the opportunities.
The Flyers Erupt in the Third
The Third period again was a well contested period for the first 16 minutes. The Flyers had trouble clearing the defensive zone and the Leafs capitalized on this. Just over eight minutes in, the Leafs tied the game when Travis Dermott’s shot from the point hit Hart up high. The puck bounced straight up and Hart lost sight of it as it fell behind Hart and into the net. After the game, Hart explained what happened on the goal:
“Yeah, it was like it was hit my shoulder and went straight up in the air. I didn’t know where it was. It went straight up straight down and in. It’s kind of weird. It was like in a high enough where I probably could stand up on the shot but their sticks and friends I gotta go down in case there’s a redirect or defection.”
The Flyers bounced back just under two minutes later. Myers made a smart pinch from the blue line, getting the puck to Travis Konecny. Konecny fed Claude Giroux for his ninth of the season. The Flyers then scored four goals with less than four minutes remaining. Konecny converted on a Myers clearing pass to give the Flyers a two-goal lead. Farabee then added an empty-net goal for his third of the season. Shayne Gostisbehere potted a slap shot from the point and Myers sprung James van Riemsdyk on a breakaway where JVR scored. Flyers win their fifth in a row.
Myers may have had his best game in the NHL. He had a game-high three points and was a plus-three. Myers played a physical game and tied for the game-high in hits, with four. In fact, most of the game when the Flyers needed a shot on net, Myers was there. Myers stated the following about simplifying the game:
“I felt like we weren’t getting enough pucks on net and, you know. I was just trying to create chaos and you know, when you shoot on net, good things happen, right.”
Despite the goofy goal, Hart was simply amazing, stopping 27 shots. Hart credited the defensive corp with having a really strong game in front of him. NBC Sports Philadelphia’s graphic says it all.
Michael Raffl played just over six minutes. According to head coach Alain Vigneault, “he broke his pinky, so he’ll be out around a month or four weeks.” When asked about who might replace Raffl, AV laughed said he was going to go talk to his GM and figure that out.
Next up, the Flyers look to continue their hot streak as they host the Arizona Coyotes Thursday 12-5. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM at the Wells Fargo Center.
Mandatory Credit – © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports