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Sloppy play defines Flyers 4-0 loss to Leafs

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[Recap] - [Boxscore] - [Complete Coverage] - [TOR Reaction]

You can tell this isn't the regular season. The Flyers looked completely lost in the offensive zone and it led to a 4-0 loss at John Labatt Centre last night in London, Ontario. The game doesn't count, of course, but in our first view of televised Flyers hockey this season, the team didn't impress.

Brian Boucher played flat out miserably in the first half of the game, allowing three goals. Of course, his defense didn't help much either. Logan Stephenson, in camp on an amateur try out contract, was paired with Ryan Parent, and it wasn't hard to tell that he's no Kimmo Timonen. A complete defensive breakdown by Stephenson led to the first Leafs goal. He was knocked down in front, Parent went to cover for him, and when Stephenson got back up, he skated right into Parent, leaving a wide open Lee Stempniak to bang home the loose puck.

Later in the period, former London Knight and 2009 Leafs draft pick Nazem Kadri teamed up with Niklas Hagman to turn Stephenson inside out on a nifty little passing maneuver. Poor kid, 2-0 Toronto.

It's not really all that unexpected, or really a concern for that matter, that a kid who won't make the team made some mistakes on defense. It is a slight concern, however, the way the team played offense last night. Maybe it had something to do with taking way too many penalties for a second consecutive night, but the Flyers didn't seem to get any chemistry going on the offensive end at all. They got pucks to the net successfully at times, but most of the time they were low-percentage shots that were easily turned aside by whatever AHL-caliber goalie the Leafs had in net.

The physicality was definitely there, as expected, and there were several fights. Arron Asham delivered a cheap shot to Mikhail Grabovski at center ice late in the third period that was pretty dirty. There's really no need for that sort of thing, especially in the preseason. Disappointing. It's hard to complain about the penalties as a whole, though because the Leafs took just as many. It was just that sort of game. And Scott Hartnell didn't play.

Overall, the Leafs just looked like they wanted it more. They beat the Flyers to loose pucks, they fought harder, and they beat the Flyers in just about every aspect of the game. That's a concern, and the fact that Coach Stevens said in his post-game news conference that he "liked the effort" is slightly disturbing.

It wasn't all bad last night, though. Danny Syvret, an outside shot at making the Flyers and, most certainly the number one or two defenseman on the Phantoms, had a solid game in his old home rink (he also played junior hockey in London). James van Riemsdyk played well again, and Blair Betts continued to show how badly he wants a spot on this roster.

The bright spots are something to build on, but the game is something to forget.