Flyers keep pace with Maple Leafs but unable to outlast them in overtime

Lochlahn March, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Hockey

TORONTO — Auston Matthews padded his league lead in goals on Thursday night at the expense of the Flyers, but the Orange and Black left with a crucial road point following a 4-3 overtime loss to the Leafs on Thursday night.

Matthews notched a natural hat trick, bringing his season total to 45, but a late comeback by the Flyers pushed the game past regulation. William Nylander scored less than a minute into overtime to ice the win for the Leafs.

Travis Sanheim got the Flyers on the board first with a short-handed tally in the first period, but then Matthews got going, scoring all three of his goals in the second.

With Sean Walker off after a delay of game call, newly-minted alternate captain Travis Konecny broke away short-handed but rang it off the post. Scott Laughton corralled the puck in the corner and found Sanheim in the slot. Sanheim maneuvered around Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov to tuck it in the net. The goal was Sanheim’s fifth of the season and the Flyers’ NHL-leading 13th short-handed goal.

The Flyers have now struck short-handed in three of their last four games.

In the second period, the Flyers allowed Matthews to sneak behind their defensemen, and he made them pay. Mitch Marner found him with a stretch pass by the Flyers’ blueline, and Matthews had a clear lane for a laser that beat goalkeeper Sam Ersson’s glove side.

The goal immediately gave the Leafs a boost, with Tyler Bertuzzi nearly putting the Leafs in front after a feed by William Nylander. John Tavares had an opportunity on net moments later, but both times Ersson came up with the save.

Konecny broke off short-handed again, after an interference penalty to Owen Tippett, but he sent his shot high over the net. The puck went the other way, and Matthews, standing alone in the right face-off circle, fired a one-timer past Ersson.


The hats rained down in Scotiabank Arena with just over a minute left in the period after Matthews capitalized on a failed clear in the Flyers’ defensive zone. He used Sanheim as a screen to sling a wrister under Ersson’s glove and put Toronto up, 3-1.

In the third period, Cam York left the game after a big hit from Simon Benoit. Nic Deslauriers took exception and dropped gloves with Benoit.

The Flyers never say die, however.

After a power play with a few near misses, the Flyers got one back with a marker from Garnet Hathaway, who pounced on a rebound off a Nick Seeler shot in front to cut the deficit to one. Minutes later, the Flyers finally came through on the power play to tie it. A scramble in front sent the puck right to the waiting Konecny, and this time, he didn’t miss.

Up next

The Flyers head outdoors as the nightcap game for the upcoming NHL Stadium Series. They’ll face the New Jersey Devils at Metlife Stadium on Saturday (8 p.m., ABC, ESPN+).

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