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Flyers 4, Maple Leafs 2: Bouncing back on Hockey Night in Canada

The Flyers got help up and down the lineup tonight and received a great effort from Brian Elliott as they ended their two-game skid in Toronto.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, the Flyers headed up to Toronto to try and snap a two-game losing streak as they face the Maple Leafs. And they’d do just that! Solid work by the team’s top line and its goaltender gave the Flyers a 4-2 win, one which should help get rid of the bad taste in the mouth that Thursday’s loss in Ottawa clearly left. Below, you can read as we relive this one via my minute-by-minute thoughts, sort of.


6:50 p.m.: The Flyers have lost two games in a row and given up 11 goals in doing so. Their second and third lines are close to nonexistent, and their goaltending has been ... well, it’s been Flyers goaltending. And they’re facing off with the highest-scoring team in hockey in Toronto.

So ... they’re totally winning this one, right?

6:55 p.m.: Strange start to the year for Brian Elliott. Pretty much every game’s either been above-average or terrible by the numbers — not a whole lot of in-between. Tough task for him tonight against a lot of offensive talent in Toronto.

6:58 p.m.: Also, the World-Destroying top-line of the Flyers gets one of its toughest tests of the young season tonight. Auston Matthews and William Nylander ain’t no joke here.

7:10 p.m.: Remember when they said this was going to be a 7 p.m. start? That was fun. (We’re still waiting.)

7:16 p.m.: And we’re FINALLY underway. Flyers’ top line out against Toronto’s third to start it out.

7:22 p.m.: The much-maligned middle-six off to a solid start. Good shift by the Lehtera line early on, with Konecny getting a couple of chances in close.

7:29 p.m.: Oof. Offensive-zone penalty on the Flyers as Sean Couturier trips Connor Brown coming out of the zone. Late whistle there by the ref. Big test early after what’s been a pretty strong start by the Flyers.

7:31 p.m.: And Brian Elliott is really called upon for the first time tonight — and he answers, stopping a wide open Marleau in front on the PK. Marleau beat Hagg to that spot.

7:32 p.m.: Flyers kill the penalty aaaaaaaaaaaand it’s 1-0 Toronto. Matthews sneaks behind Provorov, goes cross-ice to Kadri who beats Elliott. Those kinds of things will happen.

7:34 p.m.: On replay here, Laughton gets caught behind here, but perhaps more curiously what exactly is Gudas doing all the way over on that side of the ice?

7:35 p.m.: And now Marner streaks down the opposite side and rips a dangerous shot that goes high and wide. Things have been going poorly for the Flyers basically ever since that initial penalty by Couturier.


* That was a goal. Come on. We all know it.

7:39 p.m.: In plain English: We’re tied 1-1 as Brandon Manning puts the Flyers on the board. Raffl with the pass from the neutral zone to spring Leier, then Laughton makes the cross-ice pass to Manning who whips it home. That’s how you bounce back.

7:43 p.m.: Leafs have been threatening since the Flyers evened things up. This team creates offense out of nowhere about as well as any in the league.

7:49 p.m.: Awwwwwwww, here it goes. Jake’s back. Second goal in two games. 2-1.

7:50 p.m.: What a classic power move by Voracek in front. Put Morgan Rielly and Freddy Andersen on a dang poster.

7:53 p.m.: 2-1 Flyers through one period. Ebb and flow of this one shifted around a bit, but all three goals here were pretty quick strikes. That’s the kind of game you’re going to get in against this team, and so far the Flyers seem up for it — they bounced back well following the first shift or two after Kadri opened the scoring.

8:11 p.m.: We’re underway in the second after a long intermission. Seriously what’s with the long delays bookending periods here? Are Canadian minutes like Canadian dollars where one minute here is like 1.2 minutes there? Do people really want to hear Don Cherry that much in the year of our lord 2017?

8:13 p.m.: Kasperi Kapanen — yes, that one — denied on a 2-on-1 right in front as Elliott slams the door on him. Kapanen beat Sanheim to the front of the net there. Elliott’s been good while facing a number of chances and hectic situations already -

8:14 p.m.: Shayne Gostisbehere takes what we’ll describe as a “good penalty to take”, as he slashes Matthews right in front to prevent what would probably have been a goal otherwise. Do whatcha gotta do, Shayne.

8:16 p.m.: Aaaaand then the Flyers will go on a brief 3-on-5 as another minor is called. Robert Hagg will head to the box as he held Nazem Kadri in the offensive zone, I guess? Kadri — an asshole, for the record — hit the ice reeeeeeal easily there. I get the call, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

8:17 p.m.: What a start to the second PK by Couturier. Wins the faceoff and immediately fires it down ice, then turns around Matthews after he enters the zone again and gets the puck out. 5-on-3 is over.

8:19 p.m.: Outstanding extended penalty kill there by the visitors. A couple of chances by Toronto but about as good of an effort as you can ask for. Featuring a half-decent chance by Scott Laughton, who pinged one off the upper-left corner of the cage.

8:21 p.m.: Nifty shift there by Konecny, who gets the puck in the offensive zone, gets dumped by Polak, and still moves the puck out to the point from his butt to help create a scoring chance.

8:27 p.m.: Sheesh, Auston Matthews is good. Hagg and Manning are right up in his face as he hits the blue line and he still manages to create a chance for himself down near the circle on a shot that pings off the crossbar and out of play.

8:29 p.m.: Jordan Weal shoots up the left side, Sanheim creeps down low and hits Filppula RIGHT IN FRONT OF AN EMPTY NET AND he can’t push it home. Delay of game called on the Leafs, though, and the Flyers will go on the man advantage for the first time this evening as we hit the halfway mark of the contest.

8:32 p.m.: Naturally, right after Filppula blows an easy one in front, he comes back and fires one from the top of the circle that makes it past Andersen and lands bar-down. I guess he heard me? And how does Andersen not stop this? 3-1 good guys.

8:33 p.m.: That goal, by the way, came not long after Ghost was pretty flagrantly boarded (and un-called!) by Leo Komarov. Ghost was a bit slow to get up after the hit, but he had the stretch pass that started that goal so hopefully he’s fine? Something to keep an eye on. (AFTER-THE-FACT UPDATE: Here is that hit. Cripes.)

8:35 p.m.: And there’s your bounce-back. Voracek tries to push Rielly over at the blue line, it doesn’t work, a point shot rebounds out in front and is pushed to Elliott’s right, Ghost gets completely lost, and Kadri beats him to the rebound and gets his second goal of the evening. We’re back within one. Let’s get back to ahead by two? I liked that more?

8:40 p.m.: Leafs’ forecheck has been all over the Flyers on these past couple of shifts since the goal. Don’t let things snowball here.

8:41 p.m.: They won’t! An absolutely obscene pass from Voracek’s own goal line makes it off the boards and out to Giroux at the opposite blue line, Giroux outraces Kadri (GOOD) towards the net, and wires one top-corner past Andersen, who is not having a very good night. Back up two as it’s 4-2, The Philadelphia Team.

8:47 p.m.: Pretty quiet in the few minutes since that goal. The Flyers haven’t won the overall shot-attempts battle this period, but in terms of hitting the net, they’ve outshot Toronto 15-6 so far in the middle frame. Great to see.

8:50 p.m.: A couple of good chances in the final push of the second period as Laughton and Provorov both get shots in there, teaming up with Simmonds and Filppula to get a nice cycle going, but there’s no goal and we’ll go to the third up 4-2.

9:09 p.m.: Getting going here in the third period. 20 minutes away from a really good win against a really good team, but if anyone’s gonna charge back from down in the third period, it’s Toronto. Don’t give ‘em an inch.

9:15 p.m.: One nice chance for Zach Hyman that went off the bar and out, but otherwise a pretty slow start to this third period. How the Flyers would prefer it, you’d think.

9:16 p.m.: Wellllllllp.

The Flyers surely won’t tell us more on the matter here, but with how that hit went, it could be darn near anything that’s sidelining Ghost here. A concussion? A shoulder? Who knows? He played in multiple shifts after the hit on Komarov. Hopefully this is precautionary.

9:18 p.m.: What a spinning pass by Nylander back to Hyman, who proceeds to ... put another one off the bar and out of play. Not his period so far.

9:22 p.m.: Another scrum in front that Elliott covers up quickly. Shot from the point by Rielly was gobbled up before Matthews or Hyman could get to the rebound.

9:24 p.m.: Nearly-broken play following a nice carry up-ice by Couturier still leads to a quality chance by Giroux, who gets a swat at a rebound from Voracek. This line is fun. I like this line.

9:28 p.m.: Defensive pairs sans-Gostisbehere are all over the place. It looks like Manning is taking Gostisbehere’s spot next to Provorov, and Hagg is being used to spell guys on both of those pairs.

9:31 p.m.: What a dang shift by Jordan Weal and Wayne Simmonds to eat pretty close to a minute by just hanging around in the neutral and offensive zones playing keepaway.

9:33 p.m.: Per a graphic on the NBCS Philly broadcast, 19 of the Flyers’ 28 shots on goal tonight have come from defensemen. That’s very 2016-17 of them. Though, per Natural Stat Trick, they’re still getting some solid volume from right in front as well.


We’ll ... talk about that defense some other time, I suppose.

9:36 p.m.: Man, if they don’t come back that top line of Toronto is going to see this period in its nightmares tonight. A lot of close chances gone by the wayside.

9:40 p.m.: Another good shift by that Weal/Simmonds/Filppula line, which has had a pretty nice night even without any goals (at evens).

9:42 p.m.: Babcock pulls Andersen with about 3:20 left. Like the move from Toronto’s end, I gotta say. Shoot your shot(s).

9:44 p.m.: Brian Elliott makes a big stop through traffic with 1:31 left and this has definitely been one of his better games in net for the Flyers. His overall numbers — 25 saves on 27 shots as of this moment in time — are good, and while he hasn’t made a ton of ten-bell saves on the evening, he’s looked as poised and controlled as he has at any point in this young season — no small task against this Leafs team.

9:46 p.m.: Top line — with Voracek! — out with Provorov and Hagg for the draw in the final minute. Well-deserved, too.

9:47 p.m.: Game. 4-2 is your final. The home crowd boos (man who let all the Philly fans in am I right?) as the Flyers bounce back from a clunker and a heartbreaker with a big win against one of the East’s best teams.

We’ll have more on this one for you in the morning. Otherwise, the Flyers are back at it on Monday at home against the winless Arizona Coyotes, so be prepared for a demoralizing and inexplicable loss. Until then, go Flyers.