Flyers

The Flyers Stifled the Maple Leafs for Their Fourth Win in a Row

CHARLES FOX | PHILLY.COM

The Flyers put a good ol’ fashioned beating on the Toronto Maple Leafs Tuesday night in South Philly. This win was good for their fourth straight and 12th overall of the season.

The good guys drew first blood. Sean Couturier took a face off to the left of Frederik Andersen, the puck went back to Claude Giroux and he smashed it home for the first goal of the game, his thirteenth of the season (one shy of his total from last season, for what it’s worth.)

The Leafs answered almost immediately on a goal by Patrick Marleau. This deflated the air at the Wells Fargo Center, but the Flyers continued to play tough for the remainder of the first period.

The Flyers came out super strong in the second and got a lot of quality scoring chances early in the period.

Jake Voracek got called for a tripping penalty which quickly led to a James van Riemsdyk power play goal. The Maple Leafs took a 2-1 lead going into the third period.

To be honest, part of me had this feeling that the Flyers would ultimately lose this game. How stereotypical would it be for the Flyers to totally outplay the second-best team in the Eastern Conference but run into a hot goaltender and have the game ripped out from under them? Pretty Philly, right? However, something was different this time around, I knew the Flyers would get it done. They were doing all the right things, playing a damn near perfect game, something had to break right for them.

Enter Travis Konecny (and Taylor Leier). Four minutes and some change into the third period Travis Konecny took the puck to the high slot and rifled a shot at Andersen. The puck deflected off one Maple Leafs defenseman to find twine behind the goalie.

This goal tied the game and ensured the Flyers would at least get one point out of this game. Judging by Elliott’s performance and how the defense was playing, I knew the Leafs weren’t going to score again.

With three minutes left in regulation, overtime was looking imminent. Then Giroux sent the most beautiful pass to a wide open Couturier who sniped it past Andersen for the go-ahead goal. Good Lord was this goal pretty.

Here it is in slow motion:

The Leafs went on to pull their goalie and Scott Laughton scored the empty net goal with :15 left in the game. The Flyers walked away with two points and a four game win streak, looking like a totally different team from two weeks ago.

Now on to my two takeaways. I can be a cynical man sometimes (which Philly sports fan isn’t?) so I have one bad and one good takeaway.

I’ll start with the bad: the Flyers’ special teams are bad right now. They’re roughly 19% on the power play, which is no bueno, and they allowed a power play goal when they had all of the momentum on their side.

I don’t necessarily know how to remedy the power play situation, but my guess would be to put more shots on net. Go back to the basics. It looks like the Flyers are looking for one certain shot which usually leads to one pass too many and no shots getting off. I don’t want to sound like that guy who yells “SHOOOOOOOT!” once the puck is on Ghost’s stick at the point, but if Giroux has a shot at the circle, he should take it instead of passing it to whoever is down low. Fixing the special teams is critical to the team’s success moving forward.

On to the good takeaway: the Flyers looked like a complete team. This was the best I’ve seen the Flyers play in a long time. Every line did their job, the defense played fantastic, and Brian Elliott played a great game in net. He got beat twice, but he made a lot of nice saves to keep the Flyers in striking distance.

The young guys played well: Jordan Weal created some scoring chances with his speed, Taylor Leier provided a good screen on Konecny’s goal, and the aforementioned Konecny is really starting to heat up. This team is coming together right now. They’re a far cry from where they were two weeks ago, which is a credit to the coach and leadership of this team. If they can keep playing a clean game, at the level they did on Tuesday, with high intensity, they will be a force to be reckoned with not only in the Metropolitan Division, but the Eastern Conference as a whole.

The Flyers look to make it five in a row on Thursday at home against the Sabres on Thursday.

Full highlights of the game below.

 


You can follow Anthony Mazziotti on Twitter (@AntMazziotti) and e-mail him at anthonymazziottiwriting@gmail.com. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.

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