The Philadelphia Flyers tried to keep up with the Toronto Maple Leafs. They couldn’t, and their four-game winning streak ended with a 6-2 loss Sunday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers were outshooting the Leafs early in the third period, but the quality and high-danger chances were few and far between.
For the Flyers, it’s going to be back to the drawing board as they face the Sabres on Monday night in Buffalo. The Sabres have been hot, and scoring over four goals a game lately.
The Flyers’ defense will need to be more disciplined, and the goaltending has to be better.
Here are my five observations:
1. Carter Hart wasn’t sharp.
Hart let in a leaky shorthanded goal on Timothy Liljegren’s second-period shot. The Leafs’ defenseman’s shot dribbled into the back of the net to make it a 4-2 game midway through the second.
That hurt the Flyers’ temporary momentum swing. Not long after that score, John Tavares made it a 5-2 game with his 19th goal of the season at 12:22 of the second. Auston Matthews added his 20th on the power play to make it 6-2 at 13:13 of the third period.
Johnny knows where mom keeps the cookies 🍪 pic.twitter.com/TNKJ64mkUJ
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 9, 2023
2. Nick Deslauriers cashes in at a key time.
Mitch Marner picked the pocket of Noah Cates, and Connor Timmins cashed in on it. It was his first NHL goal. That gave the Leafs a 3-1 Leafs at 7:01 of the second period. Shortly after, Deslauriers put a nice backhand top shelf past Matt Murray to make it a 3-2 game at 8:50. Patrick Brown got the assist and the Flyers had some jump.
3. The Flyers’ power play is back to being bad.
Matthews got a high stick to the face of Scott Laughton, and the Flyers had the first power play of the game early in the second period. The Leafs had the puck most of the time, and the Flyers had no shots on goal. They finished 0 for 4 on the power play. Toronto was 1 for 2.
The Flyers’ PP has been a season-long problem.
“We self-destruct the shit out of ourselves. We just can’t overcome some of the things we give for free,” coach John Tortorella said. “I don’t think the power play stifled our offense. We had some good looks. We need to score. In a game where we are struggling like that defensively, we need to score. We couldn’t even enter.”
4. Tony DeAngelo was stapled to the bench for most of the game.
DeAngelo got one shift in the second period and was benched in the third. He had four giveaways. He had some defensive lapses earlier this season, and now it’s happening in the new year.
Sitting DeAngelo against the Leafs didn’t help the Flyers one bit — and sometimes the coach should pick a better spot to do this. I could see him missing a few shifts, but the benching hurt the team’s defense.
Tortorella declined to talk about the benching after the game.
“I’m not going to talk about if this was justified,” DeAngelo said. “I’m not going to go crazy. No player agrees with getting sat. We aren’t going to question the coach. I’m not going to talk about the power play, either, if that’s what you’re after. Toronto has a good kill.”
5. Travis Konecny stayed hot.
He scored his 21st goal, and it was another one that took back some momentum. The Maple Leafs went up 2-0 with a goal from Zach Aston-Reese at 17:44 of the first period. A DeAngelo turnover made that possible with a whiff on an attempted pass
But Konecny knocked down a risky pass by Marner and shot it past Murray with two minutes left in the first, making it a 2-1 game.
Konecny has been the Flyers’ best player, even though he wasn’t voted an All-Star. He has scored goals in six straight games, the third Flyer (Scott Hartnell and Jeff Carter were the others) to accomplish the feat in the last 20 years.
Konecny is far and away the best player on this team. He should get a letter. … There was a “Go Leafs Go” chant during the game. … Patrick Brown had eight hits, while Wade Allison had six hits and six shot attempts. … Toronto’s Wayne Simmonds played against his old team. … Owen Tippett (minus-3) had a poor defensive game. … Travis Sanheim had seven shot attempts, three blocks, and a minus-3 rating. … The Philadelphia Flyers wore Snider Hockey sweaters in the pre-game skate. … It was the first game Hart gave up six goals this season. … The Flyers outshot Toronto, 36-35. … Philly won just 44.4 percent of the faceoffs. … Cam York (3:56) and Kevin Hayes (3:55) led the Flyers in power-play time.