With a win to snap their losing streak, the Flyers finally regained some confidence, and it showed in their 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs last night.
Tuesday’s win wasn’t ideal – they played for 23 of the 60 minutes according to Chris Pronger – but it was a win nonetheless, and for most of the locker room, that means confidence.
They started this contest strong, spending the first period pressuring the Leafs.
A boarding major for a hit on Dan Carcillo gave the Flyers a five minute power play – their second in the last two games. Andrej Meszaros blasted a shot past goaltender James Reimer for a 1-0 lead that the Flyers carried into the second period.
The Flyers continued to push, and Darroll Powe notched a goal at the end of a high-energy shift by the checking line of Powe, Betts, and Shelley. Powe drove into the corner and threw the puck out front, where a surprised Reimer let it slip through his legs and into the net.
Soon after, Nick Boynton – inserted into the lineup to replace an injured Chris Pronger – put the Leafs on the power play with a hooking penalty. Dion Phaneuf sent a shot from the point that was deflected wide, right into the face shield of Mikhail Grabovski, where it deflected past Brian Boucher and into the net.
Claude Giroux added a goal to put the Flyers back up by two with a 3-1 lead going into the third.
The Leafs pushed hard in the third, with former Flyer Joffrey Lupul pulling his team to within one in the closing minutes. Despite pulling the goalie for the extra man, they couldn’t get the final goal to tie the game.
The Flyers gave up some ground, but they played a hard game throughout and held on for the win.
The Leafs aren’t the most talented team, but they’re young and desperate – the perfect combination for an upset win at this time of the season.
It’s human nature to let off the gas a bit, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What the Flyers have to avoid doing is completely dropping their game and giving up control. The Leafs started getting chances and even a couple goals, but they never gained control of the game. That’s what matters.
As long as the Flyers are dictating the play and controlling the ice, they’ll hold on to these games.