It was quite a fight down at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night, so it was appropriate that the shootout went 11 rounds.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, they were on the wrong end of the decision and fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-3. Considering how the week started, though, getting three points out of four on the weekend is laudable.
Travis Konecny was the only one of 11 Flyers to solve Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen during the shootout. Jason Spezza and Andreas Johnsson beat Flyers goalie Brian Elliott, and Johnsson’s shot won it.
“There were a lot of things to like about tonight’s game,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “It started off a little slow, but when you start off slow on back-to-back nights, you need goaltending. And we got goaltending. Brian gave us a chance to find our legs.”
The Flyers scored their first two goals on the power-play. Ivan Provorov got credit for the first when his shot from the point caromed in off Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly. Claude Giroux had the other when some stickhandling wizardry allowed him to tuck the puck past Andersen to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead in the second period.
Not sure what you did on Saturday, but Travis Sanheim had quite a night. He fell again on an opposition goal but notched the go-ahead tally in the third period. It was his first goal in 29 games. The last time he scored was March 3. For context, the Phillies signed Bryce Harper on March 2.
Toronto finally ended the Flyers second-period dominance by tying it on a goal given to Spezza, which actually went off Sanheim.
The own-goal was a bit of bad luck, but Sanheim again had his misadventures on defense.
For the third game in a row, Sanheim was turned around by an opposing forward and ended up losing his skates. This time, it was Kasperi Kapanen (son of former Flyer Sami) who metaphorically undressed Sanheim and skated in alone for the game’s first goal. Toronto took the play to the Flyers for the game’s first 15 minutes until the Provorov goal.
“When you’re down a little bit, things tend to not go your way and vice-versa,” said Sanheim. “When you have a ton of confidence, it seems like everything is going in for you. I know there’s going to be a stretch coming up for me. Right now, I’m just trying to fight through and be better.”
The Flyers allowed the Leafs to tie it with five minutes left when Mitch Marner blazed in for an unassisted wraparound goal. Elliott stopped Marner in the shootout, one of his nine saves during the session when it’s just the goalie and the shooter.
“I wanted to have that last one there [Johnsson’s goal],” Elliott said, “but it’s a big point for us on a back-to-back against a pretty good team waiting for us.”