Flyers’ losing streak reaches 6 in Toronto; 5 games left in sorry season
The Philadelphia Flyers showed Tuesday they could lose just as easily across the border as they can in the United States.
After an encouraging start, they dropped a 5-2 decision in Toronto as their losing streak stretched to six games.
The Flyers have five games remaining in their miserable, injury-plagued season, one that has included an earlier six-game losing streak, along with 13- and 10-game skids.
“Overall, I thought the effort was pretty good,” losing goalie Martin Jones said. “It was just some bad breakdowns” that were costly. “We did some good things; it’s just tough right now, especially playing a good team like that. You have to play almost a perfect game, and we didn’t do that tonight.”
Toronto (51-20-6) swept the three-game season series from the Flyers and outscored Philly, 13-5.
The second period was the difference Tuesday. That is not a recording. Maybe it should be.
The Flyers (23-43-11) and the second period are not good friends. Philly has been outscored by a 99-68 margin in that period this season, including 3-1 on Tuesday.
A wide-open Timothy Liljegren scored from the right circle to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead with 18:25 left in the second. Since the Flyers are a league-worst 5-33-4 when allowing the first goal, it seemed like a bad omen.
Ronnie picking corners. #PHIvsTOR | #BringItToBroad pic.twitter.com/XUsvz3dczb
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) April 20, 2022
But former Maple Leaf James van Riemsdyk scored on a rebound of his own shot to knot the score at 1-all with 11:53 to go in the second. For van Riemsdyk, it was his 21st goal, two away from tying the injured Cam Atkinson for the team lead.
Toronto regained the lead as William Nylander (career-high 32nd goal) scored on a one-timer on the power play, converting a feed from Mitch Marner (career-high 95th point) with 6:21 remaining in the second.
The Leafs made it 3-1 with 25 seconds left in the second as Jason Spezza, 38, finished off an odd-man rush that developed after Keith Yandle fell down. A turnover started the Toronto rush, which ended with Spezza’s first goal in 21 games.
“That was a big goal,” interim coach Mike Yeo said. “And like I said, it’s a good opportunity for those young guys to learn from a situation like that.”
Flyers trainer Sal Raffa: ‘Every day is a gift.’
David Kampf scored on a deflection, increasing the lead to 4-1 midway through the final period and securing the victory.
Ronnie Attard’s second NHL goal, a snipe from the right circle, cut it to 4-2, but the Leafs added an empty-net goal.
Earlier, Jones made difficult saves on ex-Flyer Wayne Simmonds and Colin Blackwell, who had a great shorthanded chance, during a scoreless first period.
Toronto had seven of the game’s first nine shots, but the Philadelphia Flyers, surprisingly, controlled the rest of the period. They didn’t allow a shot on any of the Leafs’ two power plays in the first, and after a sluggish start, Philly outshot Toronto, 13-5, over the last 13-plus minutes of the period.
Overall, the Flyers outshot the Leafs, 39-29, and outhit them, 58-33.
“We did some good things tonight we can build off of,” Jones said.
“There were a lot of positives in the game for me tonight,” he said. “Again, I think we made some mistakes. I think at different times, our execution wasn’t sharp enough. Credit to a good hockey team. They play a good game over there. But I thought we did a lot of good things … The effort was there from the goalie on out.
“We just have to find a way to keep getting better every game here.”
Bobby Brink had eight hits for the Flyers, and defensemen Travis Sanheim and Ivan Provorov each had six shots. … Travis Konecny had two assists and leads the Flyers with 25 points (7-18) in the 32 games since Feb. 1. … The Flyers went 0 for 3 on the power play and are 1 for 27 in their last 10 games. … Flyers center Morgan Frost, whose father, Andy, was Toronto’s public-address announcer for 17 years, had a homecoming of sorts and eight shot attempts, including five on goal. … Toronto’s Auston Matthews, the 24-year-old center who leads the NHL with 58 goals, missed the game with a minor injury. … The Flyers play Thursday in Montreal, where Felix Sandstrom (3.29 GAA, .915 save percentage) is expected to get the call; he is 0-2-1 but has played reasonably well in his three NHL games. … Defenseman Kevin Connauton injured his leg and went to the locker room early in the third period. Yeo said is was “not good,” and that Connauton would miss time. … Attard finished plus-2 in 17:26. … Van Riemsdyk called his years in Toronto a “special time in my life, and you kind of get those same feelings of deja vu every time you walk into the building … and get a little extra pep in your step.”