Leafs have Flyers number again

This article can be found published on Center Ice Hockey Magazine’s website.
Jakub Voracek continued on his hot streak with another goal Monday night. (Candice Monhollan)

Jakub Voracek continued on his hot streak with another goal Monday night. (Candice Monhollan)

“It’s like one step forward and two steps backwards.”

It was the sentiment felt by Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette after his team came out flat for most of the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday night in a 4-2 loss.

This was the sixth chance this season for the Flyers to reach the .500 mark, but they failed once again to achieve it.

“It’s not like we’re shooting for .500 in the room,” Laviolette said. “We’ve just got to get back…It’s got to get to the point where we put together three out of four, five out of six, six out of seven, and start to get the win column going in the right direction.”

The loss was attributed to the lacking play during the first 50 minutes of the game.

“We need to learn to play 60 minutes a game and that hurt us again tonight,” said Flyers captain Claude Giroux. “It’s the same story. We need to play as a team and get four lines rolling.”

The Flyers dominated the last 10 minutes of the game after a power-play goal drew them to within one, but it was too little too late and they were unable to get one past goaltender Ben Scrivens.

“I don’t know if [Toronto] had a shot in the last 10 minutes,” Scott Hartnell said. “Teams, when they have a lead like that in the last 10 minutes, they buckle down and sometimes you’re lucky to get a goal and sometimes you’re not. Tonight wasn’t that night.”

The Flyers showed up to begin the game, but quickly disappeared and let the control fall to the Maple Leafs. A lackluster power play, which managed just one shot through four opportunities in the first two periods, didn’t help matters.

The Maple Leafs lit the lamp first late in the opening frame. Skating to a loose puck, Phil Kessel blasted past Kimmo Timonen and sniped one by an unmoving Ilya Bryzgalov at 17:20.

“It was a hell of a shot,” said Bryzgalov. “From that angle, I did everything I was told by the coach and he hit the far post. It’s a very impressive shot.”

The ice began tilting in favor of the Maple Leafs during the second period. The Flyers were playing uninspired hockey and allowed Toronto to control the puck and play and it wasn’t surprising to see them take a 2-0 lead with a goal from Nikolai Kulemin at 15:02.

No sense of urgency was felt after the goal from the home team, but Hartnell tried to turn things around by getting the Flyers on the board. Hartnell sped down the center of the ice to catch up with Jakub Voracek, who fed a perfect pass across to the hustling winger, who notched his first goal of the season with 2:04 left in the second.

Hartnell admitted to feeling worse Monday night than he did in his first game back.

“The wind’s not there right now,” Hartnell said. “I get tired very easily. I’m going to have to work hard after the game [and] tomorrow, do some extra skating stuff to keep up with [Giroux] and Jake [Voracek].”

The spark was extinguished for some time in the third, however, as the team couldn’t rally on the late goal. After a big save on Kessel during a power play, the Flyers defense was unable to help their goaltender. An initial shot from Clarke MacArthur was kicked out by Bryzgalov, but right to Mikhail Grabovski, making it 3-1 for the Maple Leafs.

A former Flyer gave the home team a big opportunity just past the halfway point of the third period.

James van Riemsdyk, in his first game in Philadelphia since the trade, took a double minor. The red-hot Voracek took advantage with a shot from the right circle to pull the Flyers to within one goal.

The Flyers continued to build momentum after the goal and had several scoring chances, but were unable to bury any of them.

A misplay by Erik Gustafsson at the blue line with Bryzgalov pulled allowed Jay McClement to skate in and score on the empty net to seal the win for the Maple Leafs.

Despite the record, Hartnell believes the Flyers can be a better team than they are playing.

“When we play like we did in the last 10 minutes, I don’t think there is a team in the league that can play with us,” Hartnell said. “We were skating, we were hitting, we were beating them to the pucks [and] winning battles.”

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Categories: Ice Hockey, NHL, Sports

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