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Flyers lose in OT to lowly Leafs

Less than 24 hours after a disheartening showdown defeat in Detroit, the Flyers lost to the NHL's worst team Thursday and damaged their playoff hopes.

Michael Raffl gets hits by the Maple Leafs' TJ Brennan.
Michael Raffl gets hits by the Maple Leafs' TJ Brennan.Read more(Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Less than 24 hours after a disheartening showdown defeat in Detroit, the Flyers lost to the NHL's worst team Thursday and damaged their playoff hopes.

Toronto 4, Flyers 3.

In overtime.

Jake Gardiner scored on a power-play blast with 2 minutes, 9 seconds left to give the Maple Leafs the win.

The Flyers suffered their third straight loss and their playoff chances took a hit - after the team entered the week in the driver's seat.

The Flyers had a second-period goal negated because of incidental contact, ruled because a sliding Claude Giroux brushed into goalie Jonathan Bernier. Coach Dave Hakstol thought goalie interference should have been called on Toronto's Brooks Laich on the game-winning goal.

"If the first one was disallowed when G went to the net and he got tripped, why should the other one count?" asked winger Jake Voracek, who scored the goal that didn't count.

With Steve Mason pulled for an extra attacker, Wayne Simmonds tipped in Mark Streit's point blast to tie the score at 3-all with 57.4 seconds left in regulation.

"We had the momentum and we were playing some good hockey," Giroux said. "It's really frustrating not to get two points."

Andrew MacDonald scored his first goal of the season, a hard wrist shot to the short side from above the circle, getting the Flyers within 3-2 and igniting the towel-waving Wells Fargo Center crowd with 11:27 to go.

The Flyers came in swarms after the goal, and finally cashed in as Simmonds scored his 30th, a career high.

The Flyers outshot the Leafs, 44-26.

With the loss, the Flyers fell out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Boston, which trounced Detroit on Thursday, moved a point ahead of the Flyers.

The Flyers still control their destiny. They can get into the playoffs if they win their last two games, regardless of what the other contenders do.

They can also get into the playoffs with just one win, provided Boston or Detroit loses its final game in regulation.

"Two months ago, if you would have told us we'd be in this position, we would take it," Giroux said.

Boston hosts Ottawa on Saturday in its final regular-season game. The Flyers have games left against Pittsburgh at home and the Islanders in Brooklyn.

The Bruins and Red Wings both have tiebreaker advantages over the Flyers.

Detroit is also one point ahead of the Flyers and has one game left, playing the Rangers Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

Colin Greening and Michael Grabner converted Flyers turnovers into breakaway goals to spark Toronto, which was coming off a 5-1 home loss to Columbus on Wednesday.

Twenty-nine seconds into the second period, Brayden Schenn deflected a slick pass from Sean Couturier past Bernier, cutting Toronto's lead to 2-1.

About a minute later, Tobias Lindberg was given a double-minor for high-sticking Brandon Manning. But the Flyers squandered the four-minute power play.

Voracek did put the puck in the net during the power play, firing a right-circle shot past a distracted Bernier, but the goal was wiped out by the refs.

Hakstol used his coach's challenge, but the call on the ice stood after a review.

Midway through the second, Toronto, which lugged a four-game losing streak into the game, made it 3-1 when Grabner scored on a breakaway after intercepting a Simmonds pass to Shayne Gostisbehere.

Loud boos echoed around the Wells Fargo Center as the Flyers skated off the ice at the end of the first period, trailing, 2-0, against an injured-riddled Toronto team loaded with players who were recently promoted from the AHL.

William Nylander scored from the side of the net by finishing a deft pass from Martin Marincin to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead with 14:32 left in the first.

About 10 minutes later, Greening's breakaway goal gave the Leafs a stunning 2-0 lead.

Voracek's deflected pass was intercepted by Nylander, who sent Greening away on his breakaway. That gave opponents three breakaway goals against the Flyers in consecutive nights.

"We sat back and didn't play our game," Giroux said about the opening 20 minutes. "We worked really hard for our identity this year, and the first period wasn't it. But the second and third period, we were pretty good."