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5 Observations: Late Flurry Can’t Save Flyers in Loss to Leafs



Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers
Goalie Carter Hart had a strong game, but the Philadelphia Flyers dropped a 4-3 decision Thursday in Toronto.

The Philadelphia Flyers played a rare Thursday afternoon game in Toronto, but it didn’t change their fortune against the high-powered Maple Leafs.

Toronto 4, Flyers 3.

In their second-to-last game before the holiday break, the Flyers got third-period goals from Morgan Frost and Joel Farabee to get within 4-3 with 6:36 remaining, but Toronto survived at Scotiabank Arena.

The Flyers are now 0-2 this season against the Leafs, having dropped a 5-2 decision in Toronto on Nov. 2.

Here are five quick observations:

1. The Leafs showed why they are the NHL’s best second-period team.

Trailing 1-0. Toronto scored two goals 2:33 apart late in the second period to take the lead. The Leafs dominated the period, and are now an NHL-best plus-20 in the second.

Flyers penalties aided both goals, though only one was scored on the power play.

Calle Jarnkrok, stationed between two Flyers in front, made a slick deflection of Mitch Marner’s shot just after Farabee’s holding penalty expired. That knotted the score at 1-1 with 3:10 left in the second.

About 2 1/2 three minutes later, with Rasmus Ristolainen in the penalty box for holding, Marner’s power-play goal made it 2-1 with 37 seconds remaining in the period.

Toronto had a 15-5 shots domination in the second, and an 11-3 advantage in the first.

“We fed their transition. … Our second-period was atrocious,” coach John Tortorella said.

2. Carter Hart, who has been a workhorse, was excellent.

The Flyers had a 1-0 lead after the first 28 minutes despite being outshot by a 21-4 margin.

The reason?

Carter Hart.

“He’s been great all year; he’s done everything we’ve asked of him,” Farabee said.

Showing terrific poise, Hart stopped two breakaways and a pair of point-blank chances by Auston Matthews (plus-3) in the first half of the game.

Hart, who has started 11 of the last 12 games, was virtually defense-less on the four Toronto goals. He finished with 30 saves on 34 shots.

3. The Flyers had little attack time.

It’s almost impossible to win when you are playing defense virtually the entire game.

But the Flyers came to life as Frost (two points) — whose dad used to be Toronto’s public-address announcer — cut the deficit to 4-2 with 7:59 left. Just 1:23 later, Farabee ended an 11-game goal-less streak and made it 4-3.

‘It’s really special for me,” said Frost about scoring in an arena that was his second home as a youngster. “A lot of memories for me here.”

The Flyers almost came all the way back. Almost.

With 5:28 remaining, Farabee fired wide on an open net in front.

The Flyers finished with just 19 shots, including 11 in the third period. They had a five-on-three for 1:01 midway through the third period and failed to get a shot.

Toronto had a 34-19 shots advantage. It equaled the Flyers’ lowest shot total this season.

4. Tony DeAngelo shines.

The 27-year-old defenseman was the best player on the ice in the opening period, drawing a penalty that set up his power-play goal, and making several slick plays to set up teammates.

The South Jersey native scored on a blast from the high slot after good puck movement by Kevin Hayes and James van Riemsdyk set up the shot.

“We got some real good screens there, and real good patience by everybody,” DeAngelo said.

He had a goal, an assist, and was plus-1 in 22:46, the most time for a Philadelphia Flyers defenseman.

DeAngelo has played well in the last two two games. He was minus-5 in his first game back after his grandmother’s death, but followed that performance with a strong effort (six shots, three hits) in Tuesday’s 5-3 win over Columbus.

5. There was a sudden momentum change in the opening period.

Just when it looked as if Toronto was going to build some early momentum, Hart made a big save and the Flyers scored down the other end.

Seconds after Hart stopped Marner on a shorthanded breakaway, DeAngelo scored on a power-play blast to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead with 15:43 to go in the first.

The Flyers have scored the initial goal in three straight games for the first time this season.

Overall. they fell to 3-6-2 when scoring first, the NHL’s worst record in those situations.


Frost has goals in three straight games — and four goals in his last six contests. … Travis Konecny had two assists and now has 301 career points. … Toronto, which has three regular defensemen injured, has more points than any NHL team since Nov. 2. The Leafs are 13-2-3 at home. Goalie Ilya Samsonov, who got the win, is 9-0 at home. … Toronto’s William Nylander had a goal and a pair of assists. … Nick Deslauriers had six hits. … The Flyers play Friday in Carolina, their last game before the holiday break.

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