Flyers get revenge with 4-3 win over Leafs

Travis Sanheim

      PHILADELPHIA – There’s one good thing about playing a team twice in six days: If you lose the first one, you’re certainly motivated to win the rematch.

      That was the case with the Flyers on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

      After getting spanked by the Toronto Maple Leafs to the tune of a 6-2 defeat last Thursday night on home ice, the Flyers came roaring back to get some revenge with a 4-3 defeat of the visitors.

       Owen Tippett, Travis Sanheim, Morgan Frost and Scott Laughton scored for the Flyers while goalie Samuel Ersson picked up the victory after a couple of tough outings.

      A goal by Sanheim just 56 seconds into the second period made it 2-0 Philadelphia. Sanheim took a feed from Garnet Hathaway and buried a shot which he delivered just inside the right faceoff dot.

      Frost made it 3-0 at 16:26. His 40-foot shot eluded goalie Ilya Samsonov.

      Toronto finally got on the board at 1:11 of the third period on a power-play goal by William Nylander. With Frost in the box on a bad hooking infraction, Nylander rifled a shot into the net to close the gap to two goals.

      The Leafs made it close when Tyler Bertuzzi scored at 10:16.

      But the Flyers came right back to put the game away. Laughton jumped out of the penalty box, rushed up ice with the puck and eventually scored off an Owen Tippett feed to restore the Flyers’ two-goal lead. Toronto scored again with 2:10 to play with the extra attacker.

      After two straight losses, the Flyers needed this one in a rather urgent way.

      “From a team standpoint, we knew we needed to get back in the win column,” Sanheim said. “We had much effort than the last time we played these guys. I thought we came out with a ton of energy. That was a huge win. We wanted to come out with the confidence and the belief that we were going to be right there. We feel we can win each and every night and I think we started that way tonight.”

      The Flyers needed only 19 seconds into the game to take a 1-0 lead.

      Frost opened the sequence by winning a faceoff and drawing the puck back to Cam York, who relayed to Tippett. The right wing fired a shot past Samsonov for his 25th goal of the season.

      Although the Flyers finished the period leading by a 1-0 score, they knew they were a bit fortunate. The Leafs hit two goal posts and had several other close-in tries.

      When the Flyers score first, they usually win (27-7-4).

      “That’s something we talked about,” Frost said. “It’s always nice when your line is out there first shift and you score. It kind of sets a good precedent for the rest of the game. I thought that was a huge goal.”

      Coach John Tortorella was pleased with the way his team responded from two discouraging losses.

      “Our team played good tonight,” said Tortorella, mindful that the Flyers held a 35-8 margin in blocked shots. “I just thought our team defense in the middle of the ice, we were willing to block shots.”

      >Ersson back on track

      After getting pulled early in losses at Tampa and Toronto (last Thursday), Ersson was back on track against the Leafs. Toronto did hit four goal posts but sometimes a sharp goalie forces shooters to be a little too fine with their attempts.

      “You always want to get the win but it was one of those games you want to respond,” Ersson said. “After what happened last game (vs. the Leafs), I was pretty lucky there (with the goal posts). At this time of the year it doesn’t really matter how, you have to get the win. It definitely was a battle today.”

      Tortorella praised the way Ersson rallied after a tough week.

      “Huge game for Sam,” he said. “Just for him to get some swagger back, get a result, get some of his confidence back. He was outstanding. That’s a hard team to play against.”

      >Couturier benching’s impact

      Captain Sean Couturier was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career and if this was a wake-up call for the whole team, it worked.

      “Yeah, he’s our captain,” Sanheim said. “Just like anyone else, we got a job to do, a game to play. We’re in the thick of a playoff race now, so our focus is winning the hockey game.”

      Added Frost: “In our locker room, we kind of approach every game the same. ‘Coots’ does so many good things. I felt a lot of guys did a good job stepping up. He’s still our leader and we all love him. A lot of guys sacrificed their body tonight.”

     >Short shots

     With Couturier scratched for the first time in his career, Olle Lycksell was inserted into the lineup. Noah Cates moved over from left wing to fill the vacancy left by Couturier. Also, defenseman Marc Staal was scratched and replaced by Adam Ginning, who was recalled from Lehigh Valley. Ginning was paired with Ronnie Attard. . .The Flyers visit Carolina on Thursday. . .Philadelphia went into the game leading the NHL with 16 40-plus shots games. . .Nick Deslauriers got off to a slow start in a first-period fight with Toronto’s Ryan Reaves but got in some effective shots and eventually wound up on top of the Leaf bruiser on the ice.

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About Wayne Fish 2426 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.