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.
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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.”
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.”