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Flyers fall to Maple Leafs as we learn shootouts are still awful

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They deserved a win tonight, but hey Gary Bettman wanted a skills competition to decide regular season games.

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

First Period

Coming into this game it wasn’t exactly going to be surprising if the Flyers looked overwhelmed from the jump. The Maple Leafs hadn’t played since Tuesday night vs. Washington, more than well-rested in comparison to the Flyers who played yesterday. Toronto took it to them in the first outshooting them 10-1 at one point, and getting the game’s opening goal. Shayne Gostisbehere attempted to jump, and glove a puck in the air, but he missed and it created a 1-on-1 situation with Kasperi Kapanen and Travis Sanheim.

So uh ... what the hell is going on with Travis? On back-to-back nights, Sanheim falls down attempting to turn, and it leads to Kapanen beating Brian Elliott to put Toronto up 1-0. Even though the consensus was that Sanheim looked much better vs. the Devils, that miscue where he fell down directly lead to a goal. The same thing happens tonight and he just, he just needs to be better, guys. No matter how good of an overall game he plays, when his mistakes consistently lead to a goal against, it offsets all the good done.

After the goal the Leafs would continue to dominate the game, until a too much man call put the Flyers on the power play. Before we get to the results of said power play I’d like to show you lovely readers something:

Firstly, BAHAHAHAHAHA I’m sorry, Dave Hakstol and “understands how to talk to players” do not belong in the same sentence unless the word “doesn’t” is in between them. This is the same guy who just didn’t tell let players know why they were scratched, or what they were doing wrong. So let’s get that out of the way. Also, I can’t get over the fact Mike Babcock basically pulled the “visually better” card to describe the penalty kill, just stellar stuff here.

Anyway, Ivan Provorov (on PP1 btw) blasted a puck to the net through traffic, deflects, and ends up in the back of the net to tie the game at one, and that would be the score at the end of the period. The Flyers looked somewhat better after that goal, definitely more involved in the game.

Second Period

Oh yeah, that momentum carried over in a big way. The Flyers would dominate the second period, yet the game will still be tied come the end of it. It began with that sweet, sweet visually better Leafs’ penalty kill giving up another goal. This time it was the captain, Claude Giroux who made Frederik Andersen and the Leafs’ defense just look silly, as he scored his third goal of the season.

The Flyers would control almost the rest of the period, but the Leafs would get a late goal to tie the game. Jason Spezza, who took a bad penalty earlier in the game, would bury a loose puck in front. Justin Braun didn’t look great on this goal, getting caught flat footed as a scramble went down, but Travis Sanheim has to clear the puck. I’m not sure what he was going for exactly on that clearing attempt, but it wasn’t great. He’s having one of those games again, and they really need him to be better sooner rather than later.

Third Period

Something tells me Sanheim heard that, and he got the third period started off with a bang. He made a nice move around the Leafs checkers, went behind the net, and buried his own rebound for his first goal of the season giving his team a 3-2 lead. Sadly, that lead would be short lived as Sean Couturier turned the puck over in the neutral zone, leading to Mitch Marner doing Mitch Marner things. He’d tie the game with a wraparound goal, continuing the “you score, I score” trend of the game.

Despite some strong chances from both teams down the stretch, neither would score sending this game to overtime. Overall, the Flyers played a hell of a period for a team that went to a shootout the night before, against a well-rested speed demon team in the Leafs.

Overtime

The Flyers would get a power play opportunity less than a minute into overtime as Kasperi Kapanen, who had been absolutely flying all night long, tripped Oskar Lindblom. They would fail to score on it however, and seconds after it ended James van Riemsdyk missed a high percentage shot. Travis Konecny would get a late breakaway but was stopped by Andersen, sending this game to a shootout

Shootout

The shootout is stupid, Leafs win, good god that was so stressful.

Three Stars

1. Ivan Provorov (1 G, 1 A)

2. Claude Giroux (1 G, 1 A)

3. Travis Konecny (SO goal)

Answering the Bell

1. Can the Flyers slow down the Leafs’ potent offense?

For the most part, yes! The Flyers had another strong defensive effort after a rough first period, and kept the Leafs in check for most of the game. Considering the circumstances, this was an exceptional effort from the team against a highly skilled team.

2. Can the power play get it together?

Yes, actually! The power play looked much better with Giroux on his traditional left side (who would have thought) and they scored twice. The zone entries looked much better, the passing in the offensive zone was vastly improved, and they got the results to bring it home.

Play of the Night

It’s gotta be the goal from Giroux, watch it again because man was it pretty.