Flyers Struggle to Get to the .500 Hump Again; Lose to Toronto, 4-2
Getting to .500 has been an uphill battle for the Flyers and it continued on Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
An absolute sluggish outing until the final half of the third period cost the Flyers a chance to even up in the standings and get some much-needed points. And though the Leafs were almost equally as sluggish, they came out with the 4-2 win in Philadelphia.
Perhaps the Flyers are pressing to get to .500, but whatever it is, the effort was poor once again. Head coach Peter Laviolette didn't think they were pressing though.
"I'm not sure I know what pressing means," Laviolette said. "I know the guys just started the game the right way. There's things we could have done better and better... there weren't a lot of chances either way. Neither team had a lot of quality scoring chances. It was tight."
On a night where James van Riemsdyk was back in Philadelphia, it was his linemates that got things rolling in the first period. Phil Kessel took advantage of some lackadaisical play at the end of the period, getting Toronto on the board first.
Tyler Bozak sent a loose puck back into the Flyers zone. Kessel beat Kimmo Timonen to the puck and then burned him en route to the net. Kessel put a low show past Bryzgalov that beat him stick side to make it 1-0.
Neither team challenged each other in the second period. Though both found the net, the shot totals were 5-4 in favor of the Flyers.
Both teams did take advantage of break downs though. Toronto made it a 2-0 game after Nazem Kadri led Nikolai Kulemin on a nice pass as he beat Bryzgalov.
The Flyers finally found their source of energy and it came from their top line again.
Jakub Voracek sent another one of his tape-seeking passes across ice that Scott Hartnell put in the back of the net, cutting the lead to 2-1. The goal was Hartnell's first of the season and the assist extended Voracek's point streak to six games.
The Flyers didn't capitalize off that boost of energy and Ilya Bryzgalov couldn't bail out his team early in the third period.
While still on the penalty kill, Bryzgalov made an excellent save down low off a rebound before the puck went the other way with Claude Giroux. Giroux went back hand but couldn't beat Ben Scrivens.
Toronto took the puck the other way with the man-advantage ending and the defense once against broke down. This time, Mikhail Grabovski was able to beat Bryzgalov after the Flyers defense couldn't clear the puck and the Leafs extended their lead to 3-1.
Then van Riemsdyk made a costly mistake and the Flyers were able to capitalize. After getting called for both a hold and a hook, the Flyers got four minutes of power play time.
Just 59 seconds into the power play, Voracek acored on a wrister thanks to a nice screen by Wayne Simmonds up front to cut the lead to 3-2. But the Flyers couldn't score on the remaining two minutes of the power play.
It was a mad scramble for the Flyers from that point on but they couldn't beat Scrivens. Twice in the final minutes Scrivens somehow kept the puck out despite coughing up juicy rebounds to preserve the win.
Laviolette liked the pressure at the end though.
"The power play got some looks at the net and we threw some pucks at the net to get opportunities from it," Laviolette said. "I think more than anything it was just the fact that we were down there moving pucks, moving bodies and trying to make something happen."