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(Friday, March 28th)
Final Score: Philadelphia 4, Toronto 2
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Claude Giroux finished with a goal and two assists and Steve Mason made 32 saves, as Philadelphia prolonged Toronto's recent stretch of misery with a 4-2 decision on Friday.
Vincent Lecavalier, Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell also provided offense for the Flyers, who snapped a two-game slide and have won six of their last eight overall heading into a Sunday afternoon matchup with Atlantic Division leading Boston.
"(There was a) Hell of a lot more energy than New York. Obviously you don't want to use excuses but I think the way we play it's up and down," Giroux said of the two losses -- including a 3-1 setback in Manhattan on Wednesday -- coming after five wins against tough competition. "Don't stop skating and hit. I think we didn't do that in New York and coming back here against a desperate team I think it was important to come out strong."
Dave Bolland and James van Riemsdyk tallied for the Maple Leafs, who suffered their seventh consecutive defeat. Jonathan Bernier allowed four scores on 29 shots as Toronto failed to pick up a point and gain ground in the race for a wild-card berth in the East.
In a one-goal contest, Mason began the third with two quick stops in close from Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, then Bernier countered by chasing away a Jakub Voracek chance.
Giroux eventually provided insurance on a high, hard shot from the left wing at the 4:57 mark, but the Leafs came back on a delayed penalty as Bolland converted a Mason Raymond rebound at 6:18.
Phaneuf had trouble handling the puck in the high slot, and after Brayden Schenn came up with the strip, Simmonds scored to the far post with 7:21 to play and the Flyers established their winning score of 4-2.
"We were forcing the puck into the middle of the ice and those are tough ones. The Simmonds goal was kind of an alley-oop puck that lined up and spun and stopped. We weren't strong enough around it," said Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle. "It was a 2-1 hockey game with the Giroux goal and the only reason he was back there was because we made a big, solid check on him behind the net, and was late coming out of the zone."
Seconds into a 5-on-3 advantage and only 5:35 after the opening faceoff, the hosts went up 1-0 after Lecavalier ripped a one-timer home from the right circle off a Kimmo Timonen dish.
"He played good. He went out there and got that power play goal. Not only that, he was skating and moving his feet," Flyers head coach Craig Berube said of the former Lightning star, who was demoted to the fourth line. "That line was very good, very effective."
Toronto had its first goal wiped out just before the midway point of the period as Joffrey Lupul made contact with Mason in the crease prior to a successful shot by Carl Gunnarsson.
Van Riemsdyk then managed to set a pair of records by scoring just four seconds into the second: fastest goal from the start of a period for the Leafs and fastest goal surrendered from the start of a period by the Flyers.
It bested the previous mark set by Mats Sundin, six seconds into OT in a 4-3 win against St. Louis on Dec. 30, 1995. Bengt Gustafsson scored five seconds into the third period of a 4-1 Capitals win against Philly on Jan. 18, 1983.
Hartnell restored his club's one-goal edge when he batted a Timonen point offering out of mid-air and past Reimer with 8:57 left.
Philadelphia improved to 19-2-1 this season when Giroux scores a goal ... Lecavalier's goal leaves him one shy of 400 for his career ... The Flyers have won eight of their last 11 home games against the Leafs since January of 2009 ... Toronto, Columbus, which lost in regulation against Pittsburgh, and both idle Washington and Detroit have 80 points and are vying for the final two postseason slots.
03/28 23:56:00 ET
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