NHL Game Summary - Philadelphia at Toronto|
(Wednesday, April 1st)
Final Score: Toronto 3, Philadelphia 2
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Ian White netted the game-winner in the second
period and Curtis Joseph was solid with 32 saves, as the Toronto Maple Leafs
edged the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2, in the opener of a home-and-home series at
Air Canada Centre.
Jamal Mayers and Lee Stempniak also scored for the Maple Leafs, who snapped a
two-game skid and won for the third time in their last five games.
"It was combined effort on defense to take away their skilled guys," Toronto
defenseman Luke Schenn said. "We put a lot of pressure on them and had a lot
of scoring chances."
The Maple Leafs have done something this season that hadn't occurred in the
longstanding franchise's history. Unfortunately, it's not something to boast
about. For the first time ever, Toronto will miss the postseason for a fourth
consecutive season while extending its Cup drought to 42 years.
Claude Giroux registered a goal and an assist for the Flyers, who have dropped
three of four. Martin Biron was replaced by Antero Niittymaki in the second
period after surrendering three goals on 28 shots. Niittymaki turned aside all
10 shots he faced for the remainder of the contest.
Two years removed from finishing last overall in the NHL, the Flyers are
poised to return to the playoffs with the same nucleus that made it all the
way to the Eastern Conference finals last year before injuries to the defense
corps proved too much to overcome against a tough Pittsburgh club.
With 92 points, Philadelphia is tied with Pittsburgh for the fourth seed after
the Penguins bedeviled New Jersey, 6-1, on Wednesday. Both clubs are one point
ahead of idle Carolina.
Giroux's power-play goal brought the Flyers within one with 2:51 to play in
regulation. While Stempniak was off for holding the stick, Matt Carle released
a shot from the point that Joseph couldn't handle and the rookie forward
slipped the juicy rebound past the sprawled netminder.
Joseph came through with a sensational stop on Jeff Carter in the waning
moments with Niittymaki on the bench for the extra skater to preserve the win.
"We didn't put out a good effort," Carter said. "We started okay and tailed
off. (The Maple Leafs) are out of the playoffs, but they put out a top effort
and they didn't give up."
Toronto jumped out to a 1-0 lead two minutes after the opening faceoff. Mayers
beat Giroux on the draw and sent the puck to Schenn at the right point. The
fifth overall pick in last year's draft, Schenn had his shot blocked
before reaching the net. Mayers, though, picked up the puck in the slot and
deposited it into the back of the net.
Arron Asham countered for the Flyers at 9:48 of the first period, but Toronto
regained the lead early in the middle stanza. Biron turned away a point shot
by Jeff Finger, but Stempniak was on the doorstep and tucked the rebound under
the goaltender's left pad at 1:54.
It was 3-1 in favor of the home team when White's slap shot from just inside
the blueline eluded Biron high on the blocker side with 6:57 remaining in the
Philadelphia forward Simon Gagne played in his 600th career game...The Flyers
host Toronto on Friday...The Maple Leafs have won 10 of the last 13
meetings...Philadelphia signed forward James van Riemsdyk to a multi-year
entry-level contract on Wednesday. The 19-year-old was the second overall pick
in the 2007 NHL Draft.
04/01 22:46:13 ET