Flyers burn Leafs, 3-2, as Sean Couturier seals it again in a shootout
The team seems to show improvement each game, but road wins have been hard to come by so far this season.
TORONTO -- Sean Couturier did it again Saturday night.
For the third time in eight days, Couturier scored the game-winner after regulation as the Flyers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2, in a shootout. It was arguably their most important win of the season as Couturier beat Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen in the one-on-one.
“To come out with a road win like that ... They’re not pretty. You know the opponent is going to be on their 'A' game at home,” said Travis Konecny, who had another strong night. “We just have to find a way to hold them off and create opportunities and finish.”
The Flyers seem to show improvement each game, but road wins have been hard to come by this season. They scored the game’s first two goals, but Toronto tied it in the third to send it to the extra action.
Flyers goalie Brian Elliott made 38 saves, including a clutch blocker stop of a William Nylander shot while the Flyers were shorthanded at the end of overtime.
Andersen also was magnificent for the Leafs, stopping 30 shots.
The Flyers needed extra time for the fourth time in their last five games. They have won three, with Couturier notching all three winners. He scored in overtime on Thursday to beat Montreal and captured shootout goals with nifty moves to beat New Jersey on Nov. 1 and Toronto on Saturday.
“I guess that’s the way it goes sometimes,” Couturier said. “A few opportunities, and we’re capitalizing on them right now. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
The Flyers improve to 9-5-2 overall (20 points), 3-4-1 on the road.
The two Flyers goals in the first period were by 23-year-old Oskar Lindblom on the power-play and 22-year-old Phil Myers, who scored for the second game in a row. For Lindblom, it was his eighth goal of the season. Last year, he scored goal No. 8 in game No. 55.
But Andersen shutdown the Flyers until Claude Giroux scored with a slapshot during the shootout.
The second line of Lindlom-Couturier-Konecny continues to flourish, even with Couturier limited by a shoulder strain.
“Again tonight, he played extremely well,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “I can’t use him on faceoffs, quite yet, but he’s doing everything else in the game. He’s playing a strong 200-foot game, very dependable. That line tonight, they got some unreal looks. They’re playing extremely well.”
The Leafs lost second-leading scorer Mitch Marner after he tumbled awkwardly on his right ankle after getting tangled up with Carsen Twarynski on the faceoff to start the second period.
One of Elliott’s other top saves came on a Leafs shorthanded chance when the puck hopped over Ivan Provorov’s stick right to Ilya Mikheyev. Elliott closed the five hole just in time.
“Thank God we found a way to get a win for Moose tonight,” Couturier said, referring to Elliott.
Andersen denied Andy Andreoff and Michael Raffl on successive highlight-reel chances in the third period.
“I loved our third period,” Vigneault explained. “We had the better looks, but their goaltender made some unreal saves, especially those three rebound chances. We should have made it 3-1, but they made it 2-2. Overtime they were the better team, but we won it in a shootout. It was a great hockey game.”
After the game, the Flyers hustled out of ScotiaBank Arena and jetted down to Boston for Sunday night’s game against the Bruins, who figure to be a little salty after losing to lowly Detroit on Friday night.
The Flyers took two of three games last season against Boston, which represented the East in the Stanley Cup Final. Travis Sanheim scored in overtime to snap a four-game Flyers’ losing streak at TD Garden. The Flyers haven’t won in regulation in Boston since Oct. 6, 2011 (a span of 11 games). Jake Voracek had the game-winner that night in what was his first game as a Flyer.
Boston lost on Friday to a Detroit team that had been 1-11-2 in its last 14. Each player on the Bruins’ top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak, which is arguably the best in hockey, was a minus-2. Boston is 7-0-1 at home this year.
“It’s a tough weekend,” Couturier said. “Two great teams. We got two points tonight, but there’s two points up for grabs tomorrow. We’ll have to be ready to skate and limit that first line. They seem to be rolling. We have to be ready.”