PHILADELPHIA – Frustrated by not converting ample scoring chances just two nights earlier, the Philadelphia Flyers’ top line cashed in when it needed.
Claude Giroux and Brayden Schenn scored 1:14 apart in the second period to lift the Flyers to a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
Scott Hartnell and Max Talbot also had goals for Philadelphia, which snapped a three-game losing streak.
Giroux, Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr—Philadelphia’s No. 1 line—combined for four points. They had nothing to show for 30 attempts and 16 shots in a 1-0 shootout loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
“We were cycling, we had the confidence going and we had some chances,” Hartnell said. “We work well together.”
Tyler Bozak scored two goals and Joffrey Lupul had one for the resurgent Leafs, who were 6-2-1 in their previous nine games.
“They were a team that lost three in a row, and they just took it to us in the first.” Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. “We coughed up the puck too much. We worked so hard to make it 2-2. We just have to learn from it.”
Sergei Bobrovsky made 24 saves, including a pad stop on Bozak’s hard shot during a 4-on-2 rush with five minutes left. Bobrovsky allowed a career-worst six goals in a 6-4 loss to New Jersey last Saturday, and wasn’t expecting to start until Ilya Bryzgalov showed up to the morning skate with the flu.
“It doesn’t matter whether it was my fault or not, I didn’t want to allow those goals,” Bobrovsky said through an interpreter. “It was good to have a chance to redeem myself.”
The up-and-down Flyers needed this victory to strengthen their hold on fourth place in the Eastern Conference. They were 1-2-2 in their previous five games.
The teams changed their pace after a slow-moving first period and combined for six goals in the second, including three in the first six minutes.
Giroux put the Flyers ahead to stay when he fired a shot into the top right corner. Jagr set it up with a perfect pass from the side of the net to Giroux, who scored his 21st goal.
Schenn then made it 4-2 when he scored into a wide-open net after Danny Briere’s shot from the right wing hit goalie James Reimer’s right shoulder and ricocheted to the left circle.
Bozak answered, scoring his second goal with 1:51 left in the period to cut it to 4-3. He put in a rebound in front with traffic surrounding Bobrovsky.
The Flyers stiffened defensively and held on.
In a matchup of two of the NHL’s top three scorers, Phil Kessel had two assists, but Giroux had the difference-maker. Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin leads the league with 62 points, Giroux has 61 and Kessel 60.
A fluke goal by Bozak just 54 seconds in started the scoring barrage in the second period. Bozak’s shot bounced off Flyers defenceman Braydon Coburn’s skate and went in.
Just 2:38 later, Talbot deflected a slapshot by Andrej Meszaros past Reimer.
Lupul then scored a power-play goal to tie it at 2. Dion Phaneuf’s shot bounced out of Bobrovsky’s glove, and Lupul put it in for his 22nd goal.
Hartnell gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead with 5:22 left in the first period. Erik Gustafsson’s shot hit Jagr, and the puck trickled to Hartnell, who shot it through Reimer’s legs. Hartnell immediately turned around, exchanged words with Phaneuf and the two dropped their gloves.
“He wasn’t happy, and he let me know that,” Phaneuf said.
Notes: Jason Bacashihua was called up from Adirondack of the AHL to back up Bobrovsky. … Hartnell and Talbot both snapped six-game, goal-scoring droughts. … Lupul hadn’t scored 20 goals in a season since getting 25 for the Flyers in 2008-09. … Kessel has nine points in four games. … Toronto’s Mike Brown got the best of Zac Rinaldo in a first-period fight, landing several punches during a flurry of fists. … The Flyers had won five of six against Toronto. … The Leafs were 4 for 4 in penalty-killing, and haven’t allowed a goal in the past 28 short-handed situations. Toronto hasn’t given up a man-advantage goal in 17 games, the NHL’s longest streak since Chicago had a 19-game run in the 1969-70 season.