Flyers-Maple Leafs recap: Rebounding in a big way

The Philadelphia Flyers were able to bounce back from a controversial loss against Ottawa with a 4-2 win over an offensively-gifted Maple Leafs team.

After the end-of-game debacle against the Senators, the big question heading into the Philadelphia Flyers’ matchup against a talented Toronto Maple Leafs team was whether or not the Orange and Black would be able to put that disappointment in the rearview mirror. As it turned out, the answer to that question was a resounding yes. The Flyers got off to a strong start and never looked back, defeating the Leafs by a score of 4-2.

Brandon Manning got the team’s first goal courtesy of some tic-tac-toe passing on the rush from Taylor Leier and Scott Laughton, tying the game at 1 apiece. Then Jakub Voracek scored for the second consecutive game near the end of the period, driving powerfully to the net and depositing the puck between the goalie’s legs.

The teams would trade goals in the second period, bringing the score to 3-2. That is, until Claude Giroux buried a wrister top-shelf after a beautiful stretch pass from Voracek, giving the Flyers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Game observations

  • The Leafs led the Flyers in just about every major statistic- Corsi (65-48), scoring chances (36-19), high-danger scoring chances (20-6), you name it. But credit the Flyers for making the most of the opportunities they did have. Giroux’s and Valtteri Filppula‘s goals came on phenomenal shots, and Voracek’s was an impressive individual effort.
  • Of course, on another night four goals might not have been enough. Fortunately, Brian Elliott turned in one of his best performances of the year to ensure the Flyers’ victory, stopping 28 of 30 Leafs shots. Not so long ago, it seemed like Michal Neuvirth had a clear opening to claim the starting goalie position. But in the last two games, that narrative feels like it will be tabled for the time being.
  • Shayne Gostisbehere took a huge hit in the second period that knocked him out of the game. How this wasn’t called a boarding penalty is simply unbelievable:

Hopefully Ghost is alright, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he missed a couple games as a result. The Flyers’ defensive depth is really being tested in the early going. Could it finally be Sam Morin time?

  • Somewhat surprisingly, Travis Sanheim finished as the team 5v5 Corsi For% leader for the first time at 61.11%. Gostisbehere, his pairing-mate for much of the game, wasn’t much further behind at 52.17%. Assuming Ghost isn’t out for long, it’d be great to see more of this pairing in the near future.

Most Fly

I’ve given my fair share of criticism to Valtteri Filppula in the past, but he’s really started to turn things around lately (and not just because he’s scoring goals). He’s begun to visibly create scoring chances for his linemates Jordan Weal and Wayne Simmonds, helping his line reach respectable levels by possession metric standards.

Least Fly

Did you watch that hit on Ghost? If not, go watch it. If so, watch it again. Horrible non-call there.

One-Sentence Takeaway

A solid victory over a dangerous, playoff-caliber team isn’t a bad way to bounce back.

(Stats via Natural Stat Trick)