By Nat Marlowe
The Philadelphia Flyers’ winning streak has extended to five games as they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs by a final score of 6-1 thanks to a tremendous third period where they scored five unanswered goals in the last ten minutes.
The Flyers welcomed the Leafs to the Wells Fargo Center last night, this time without former Leaf’s Head Coach Mike Babcock who was fired on November 20. Sheldon Keefe who coached the Leaf’s AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, filled Babcock’s role and helped the Leafs win four out of their last five games. Leafs star forward Mitch Marner was also absent, as he is still recovering from an injury he sustained the last time the Flyers and Leafs played as he stepped on Flyers forward Carsen Twarynski’s stick. However, the Leafs had plenty of other stars like John Tavares, Auston Matthews, and Morgan Rielly to step up.
The Flyers were able to shut down the Leafs’ strong offense early, as goaltender Carter Hart stopped all 15 Leaf shots he faced in the first period. The Flyers settled into the game, and finally scored the first goal of the game 8:49 into the second period, as Scott Laughton snapped the puck behind Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen off a beautiful pass from Kevin Hayes. The Leafs answered back at the 8:38 mark of the third period, as defenseman Travis Dermott snuck one past Hart from the point. However, that Leafs goal was the rallying cry the Flyers needed, as Flyers Captain Claude Giroux scored 82 seconds later. Travis Konecny made a no look pass from behind the Leafs’ net to feed Giroux who crept into the slot. Konecny then had a goal of his own at the 16:32 mark to increase the lead to 3-1, which then forced the Leafs to pull Andersen to put an extra skater onto the ice. Flyers rookie forward Joel Farabee scored an empty netter at 17:54 to give the Flyers a 4-1 lead. However, the Flyers weren’t done there, as Shayne Gostisbehere and James Van Riemsdyk each scored against Andersen in the last minute of play, to pull the Flyers to a 6-1 victory.
Despite the dominant box score, the Flyers were held to a tough competition throughout the game. “It was the closest 6-1 game I’ve ever been a part of,” said Flyers forward Kevin Hayes. The Flyers’ offense shined in the third period, but great defense and terrific goaltending kept them in the game. The Flyers’ blue line limited the Leafs to only 13 shots in the second and third period, and Carter Hart stopped 27-28 shots for a .964 save percentage.
The Flyers are back at the Wells Fargo Center Thursday night to face the Arizona Coyotes who are second place in the Pacific division.