Flyers take a point, lose in OT to Maple Leafs

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Flyers' Travis Sanheim celebrates
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim (6) celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs with teammates during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Toronto. (Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press via AP)

A season ago, the Philadelphia Flyers (29-19-7) went 0-3-0 against the Toronto Maple Leafs (28-16-8). The first game between these two teams in 2023-2024 doesn’t tell the same story.

Last night, the Flyers earned a point. They had an early lead on a shorthanded goal by Travis Sanheim in the first period, 1-0. Then, after three unanswered goals by Auston Matthews in the second period, a natural hat trick, 3-1, the game seemingly belonged to the Maple Leafs.

“You throw out seven or eight minutes of that game; I don’t have a bitch about any of the other minutes at all.”

John Tortorella; 2/15/2024

Garnet Hathaway and Travis Konecny had an answer for Matthews and Toronto in regulation, tying the game 3-3 in the third period. As a team, Philadelphia scored shorthanded, on even-strength, and on the powerplay. Hathaway managed the even-strengh rebound, 3-2. Konecny did the same with a man-advantage to even the scoreboard.

In overtime, the Flyers never had the puck. William Nylander scored the game-winner, 4-3. The Maple Leafs skated, tiring out Philadelphia during the three-on-three. On a late line change, Morgan Frost didn’t chase the right skater. Nylander was open for the burial on Sam Ersson.

“We’ve got some fight. Found a way to get a point.”

John Tortorella; 2/15/2024

Grinding the Middle (+)

Along with Hathaway, John Tortorella praised Ryan Poehling and Noah Cates for relentlessly attacking the middle of the ice. In the third period, that plan of action helped the Flyers tie the game, 3-3. They kept the puck deep into the offensive zone with Nick Seeler and Sean Walker protecting the blue line.

“That’s been a good line. Cates, Poehling, and Hath [Hathaway]; they grind. That was what we wanted to do. We wanted to put them [the Maple Leafs] into a grind. That first half of the game was played on the wall. We kept the middle clean because they’re such a dangerous team as far as playing in the middle of the ice. [We] really played well; lost ourselves, as we talked about, but then we got back to grinding a little bit, get a couple powerplays, and score.”

John Tortorella; 2/15/2024

As long as Philadelphia kept sticking Toronto into the boards, they were in control. That is where structure and awareness competes with the widely celebrated high-end talent.

“We just keep emphasizing on the bench that we’ve been in these positions, we’re all comfortable, play with confidence, and we give them respect, but we just believe we’re a good team, too. I think the guys are doing a great job at that.”

Travis Konecny; 2/15/2024

In the last five games, the Flyers are 4-0-1, tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for second in the NHL Metropolitan Division.

Up Next

Next, the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils clash outdoors at MetLife Stadium in the Stadium Series.

(Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press via AP)