Flyers Fizzle Against Leafs

Published on March 4th, 2011

by Mike del Tufo

Thursday March 3, 2011

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on a late 3rd period goal on this night.  This was Ben Holmstrom’s 1st game in the NHL as he suited up for the Flyers.  It was also Kris Versteeg’s 1st opportunity to play against his former team the Maple Leafs.  Joffrey Lupul also returned back to Philly to face his former team.  This was the 3rd of 4 meetings between the Flyers and the Leafs this season.  The Flyers won the first 2 times.  They play the 4th and last time in Toronto on March 10th.  For this game, James Reimer started in net for the Leafs and Sergei Bobrovsky for the Flyers.

Flyers forward combinations:
Briere- Hartnell-Leino
Richards-Versteeg-Nodl
Giroux –Zherdev-JVR
Betts-Shelley-Holmstrom

Flyers defensemen pairings:
Pronger-Carle
Timonen-Coburn
Meszaros-O’Donnell

The Flyers opened the scoring when center Mike Richards fed Versteeg who scored on his former team at 5:49 of the 1st period.  The Leafs came right back 21 seconds later when winger Clarke MacArthur intercepted a Scott Hartnell pass and then Nikolai Kulemin put it past Bobrovsky at 6:10 to make it 1-1.  There was a lot of special teams play in this period as 5 minor penalties were called.  The Flyers were able to kill off 4 Leaf power-plays and were unsuccessful in their lone power-play attempt.  After one period of play, both teams had 9 shots. 

1:41 into the 2nd period, Hartnell and Leafs defenseman Keith Aulie dropped the gloves.  Hartnell got some good shots in early but Aulie did late narrowly getting the nod.  Neither team could capitalize on getting any jump from this fight.  Then at 7:07, Richards found Versteeg backdoor to put the Flyers up 2-1.  At around the 10-minute mark, Bob made several big saves while the Flyers were on yet another penalty-kill.  The Leafs got the equalizer at 19:49 when captain Dion Phaneuf banged it in while playing 4-on-4.  This followed a strange too-many-men-on-the-ice call against the Flyers while they were on the power-play at 19:41.  After two periods of play, the Leafs led in shots 26-20.

The Flyers had some great opportunities to take the lead in the first half of the 3rd period including a slapper by JVR that went off of Reimer’s glove and trickled towards the net but not in.  At 15:30, center Darryl Boyce of the Leafs took the puck behind the net and stuffed it in past a stunned Bobrovsky to give the Leafs their first lead at 3-2.  The goal would stand up as the Flyers would be unable to get another by Reimer.

Versteeg on his two goals said, “Those goals are all about Richie [Mike Richards].  He makes some plays where you kind of go wow, the way he holds onto the puck.  He’s really patient so you just have to find those areas and get open for him when he’s got it… I thought we had a lot of good chances in the previous games and they didn’t go in.  A couple of them went in tonight but it doesn’t matter if you don’t get the win.”

Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette on the loss said, “When you lose games and look back at it, everything is a concern.  Not in a panic way, but yes we need to be better in the third.  We need to be more discipline.  There are lots of things we can go back on tonight and say we can be better at.  Like I said, we are working on it.  This month is an important month for us for a lot of different reasons.  We can be better.”

The Flyers have now lost 2 games in a row.  They had gone 26 games without doing so.  Their next game is at home vs. the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday March 5th.

Kris Versteeg

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