Scott Hartnell scored his 26th goal of the season and added an assist, while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 24 of 27 shots to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers featured four different goal scorers in snapping a three-game losing streak.
Bobrovsky was pressed into starting duty when incumbent number one goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was scratched due to an illness earlier in the day.
With Philadelphia holding a wide margin in shots on goal for most of the opening period, Hartnell finally netted the game's first goal late in the first period. The winger batted an Erik Gustafsson shot waist-high out of mid air and past James Reimer for his team-leading 26th goal of the season, then proceeded to drop the gloves and fight Leafs' defenseman Dion Phaneuf.
It had to be a great relief for the Flyers to come out of a period in which they outshot the opposition, 16-5, and at least had potted a goal. Philly threw 45 shots at New York Islanders' netminder Evgeni Nabokov through regulation and overtime Tuesday night without denting the twine a single time.
But Philadelphia had little time to revel in their lead, as Tyler Bozak skated into the Flyers' zone along the right wing side, circled the net, and fired a shot off of defenseman Braydon Coburn's skate and between Bobrovsky's pads for his 11th goal of the season to tie the score at 1-1 at the 54 second mark of the middle frame. Bobrovsky was partially off balance after Coburn had fallen into him and really didn't have a chance to make a save.
Ex-Flyer Joffrey Lupul evened the score again at the 5:57 mark when he deposited a rebound of a Phaneuf power play point shot past Bobrovsky for his 22nd of the season.
The see-saw second continued, as Philadelphia's leading scorer, Claude Giroux, ripped a shot from the slot past Reimer's blocker side off of a perfect Hartnell feed from behind the net for his 21st of the year to stake the Flyers to a 3-2 lead at 13:53. It was Giroux's third goal in his last five games.
This time, though, Philadelphia would build on their lead instead of coughing it up. Just 1:14 after Giroux's tally, Danny Briere sent a hard shot from the right faceoff circle that bounced off of Reimer and to the opposite side of the net. Brayden Schenn gathered the puck and fired a shot that eluded the Toronto goalie for his sixth of the year, giving the Flyers a two-goal lead at 4-2 with 4:53 left in the middle stanza.
The Maple Leafs scored in the last two minutes of the period, as Bozak roofed his second of the night and 12th of the season following a furious netmouth scramble in which Bobrovsky was forced to make several stops before Bozak hit the top shelf. The goal cut the Philly's lead to 4-3 after two.
The Leafs outshot the Flyers in the third, 10-9, and had a golden opportunity when Talbot went off for boarding Phaneuf with just 2:07 remaining in regulation, then pulled Reimer to have a six-on-four manpower advantage. But Toronto could not solve Bobrovsky for the equalizer, as the Flyers held on to break their three-game losing skid.
The triumph was made even more important from a Philadelphia standpoint when considering that the Leafs could have pulled to within just three points of the Orange-and-Black for the first time in almost two months with a regulation win. Toronto dropped to eighth place after the Ottawa Senators won and jumped a point ahead of them.