Flyers fall to Leafs, winless streak hits three

Felix Sandstrom

Games played on back-to-back nights can be daunting enough.

But when they’re played in two different countries, it makes the challenge of the second game that much greater.

That’s what the Flyers were faced with on Wednesday night in Toronto.

Coming off a hard-checking 1-0 overtime loss to the Rangers in New York on Tuesday night, the Flyers knew the game against the Leafs would be challenging.’

They did put up a fight but eventually dropped a 5-2 decision at Scotiabank Arena, extending their winless streak to three games.

All three of the Flyers’ regulation-time losses this season have come on the second half of a back-to-back.

One bright spot: Owen Tippett’s goal at 7:01 of the third period came on the power play after the Flyers couldn’t convert on their first five chances with the man advantage.

They Flyers’ record fell to 5-3-2.

John Tavares scored a hat trick to lead the Toronto attack.

Coach John Tortorella’s team has been getting outshot by wide margins in some of their games. In a televised interview, he said his team played well in spots but the effort has to be more consistent.

“It’s due to not having the puck,” the coach said. “Somehow we have to instill some confidence in our players to not be afraid to make a mistake, make some plays. At times we do.”

The Toronto game demonstrated what he was talking about. At times the Flyers looked sure of themselves, at other times they didn’t.

“Some good minutes, some bad,” he said. “It’s our job to help them. We’re going to keep working at it. For the most part, I thought our guys had a lot of try. (But) some guys no. That’s where a lot of my frustration is. Not so much the result but how guys. . .the effort that’s put in sometimes.”

Tortorella was asked how close his team is to playing the way the coaching staff wants it to.

“It hasn’t come together,” he said. “It’s still a ways away. That’s part of our job as a coaching staff, to bring it together. It’s going to take some time. We found a way to win some games (thanks to Carter Hart, who is 5-0-2). We have to a ton of work to do to be considered a team that’s come together.”

For only the second time this season, the Flyers scored first in their 10th game.

Joel Farabee did the honors, beating goaltender Ilya Samsonov with a turnaround rocket from the left circle. The goal came at 13:09. It was Farabee’s 99th NHL point.

The Maple Leafs, coming off a winless four-game road trip, pulled even on a power-play goal by Auston Matthews. His initial shot was stopped by goaltender Felix Sandstrom (still looking for his first NHL win) but the Leaf sharpshooter was able to poke in the rebound at 16:40.

Tavares put Toronto ahead at 18:33. Tavares fell, got up and blasted a shot which may have nicked the stick of Travis Konecny on its way past Sandstrom.

In the third period, Zach Aston-Reece connected for a 3-1 lead at 2:49. Tippett beat Samsonov from the left circle with a short-side shot but that’s as close as the Flyers could get as Tavares scored again at 12:42. He deked his way past Travis Sanheim, then swept past Sandstrom for a nifty putback. On the third goal, Sandstrom lost a skateblade and Tavares easily put a shot in for his 11th career hat trick.

>Short shots

The Flyers will get their first look at ex-captain Claude Giroux in an Ottawa uniform when they visit the Senators on Saturday night. Before being traded last season, Giroux completed his Philadelphia career with 1,000 games and 900 points. . .Morgan Frost, who hasn’t scored since opening night, was scratched, as was defenseman Justin Braun (rest). Center Tanner Laczynski and defenseman Egor Zamula returned to action. . .Sanheim picked up an assist on the Farabee goal. It was his first point of the season. . .The Flyers entered the game ranked second-best in the NHL in goaltender save percentage.

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About Wayne Fish 1873 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.