Flyers-Maple Leafs observations: Fourth line fuels late comeback win to start homestand
During their four-game winning streak, the Flyers have not allowed more than two power-play attempts in any contest. They gave the Maple Leafs just one.
Five observations from the Flyers' 4-2 comeback win Tuesday over Toronto at the Wells Fargo Center, where fans didn't boo the home team for the first time in more than a month:
During their current four-game winning streak, the Flyers (12-11-7) have not allowed more than two power-play attempts in any contest. They gave the Maple Leafs just one Tuesday, even with Radko Gudas back in the lineup.
The 1-2-2 forecheck has helped the Flyers control the puck more often during the last four games. The more you have the puck, the fewer penalties you are going to take.
"We had a stretch there where stick penalties were getting us, and those kind of penalties happen when you're chasing the game and defending a little bit too much," coach Dave Hakstol said. "That was the case during that (10-game losing) stretch."
The Flyers allowed five or more power plays in five of the last eight losses during their skid.
Gudas’ solid return
Gudas, not surprisingly, looked rusty early in the game. He had missed the previous 10 games because of a s suspension.
But the burly defenseman got into the flow as the game wore on. He finished with a game-high five shots and blocked two shots in 14:03, helping the Flyers end a six-game home losing streak.
Fourth line excels
The fourth line — Scott Laughton centering Taylor Leier and Travis Konecny — used its speed to create numerous scoring chances. The three turned the momentum in the Flyers' favor with a huge third-period goal. Konecny tied the game on a wrist shot that deflected off a pair of Leafs with 14:24 to go.
Demoted to the fourth line, the hustling Konecny had one of his strongest games of the season, as he fired five shots (three on goal) and had a pair of hits.
If this line continues to play as it did Tuesday — it combined for eight shots — it might start getting more minutes than the third line, which is centered by rookie Nolan Patrick.
It was nice to see the Flyers rally for three third-period goals to give the win to Brian Elliott, because he was the main reason they went 3-0 on their recent Western Canada trip. Elliott allowed a bad goal to ageless Patrick Marleau in the first period Tuesday, but to his credit, he was outstanding the rest of the way. He made several point-blank saves after the Flyers fell into a 2-1 hole.
Late-game reversal of fortune
The Flyers, who have inched to within four points of a playoff spot, look like a much more confident team late in games. Even though they faced a 2-1 deficit early in the third period, they continued to push the pace Tuesday. (It helped that they were rested and the Leafs were playing their third game in four nights.)
That wasn't the case during their 10-game losing streak, which included several late-game meltdowns.
The Flyers were outscored after the second period by a 14-2 margin during their 10-game skid. Conversely, they have outscored opponents, 7-1, after the second period during their four-game winning streak.
They will try to make it five straight wins Thursday when they host Buffalo (8-17-6) in the second game of an important five-game homestand.