April 15th, 2024

Matthews scores his 55th, Maple Leafs get three goals in the 1st and 3rd periods to beat Flyers 6-2

By Dan Gelston, The Associated Press on March 14, 2024.

Toronto Maple Leafs' Jake McCabe, left, and Philadelphia Flyers' Noah Cates collide during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 14, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Tyler Bertuzzi scored the first of three first-period goals for Toronto that helped chase goalie Samuel Ersson, and the Maple Leafs scored three more in the third in a 6-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

The Maple Leafs returned from a four-day break to win their second straight road game – thanks to six players with goals – and put some distance between them and a Flyers team also jostling for a better playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Maple Leafs are up to 84 points while the Flyers remained stuck at 76. With 15 games left for the Flyers this season, a team that was considered in the preseason destined for the lottery is instead in the midst of an improbable playoff push.

The Flyers – who at one point had three players without sticks i n the dying moments of a penalty kill – played for the second straight game without suspended head coach John Tortorella.

Tortorella was not behind the bench after receiving a two-game suspension and $50,000 fine for unprofessional conduct directed at officials. He refused to leave the bench after being assessed a game misconduct during Philadelphia’s 7-0 loss at Tampa Bay on Saturday night – the same night the Lightning were honoring the 2004 Stanley Cup champs coached by Tortorella.

Assistants Brad Shaw and Rocky Thompson assumed the head coaching duties against the Sharks. Tortorella also sat out Tuesday night’s 3-2 win against San Jose.

The Flyers endured a miserable first period that saw Bertuzzi score his 13th of the season just 2:01 into the game. Pontus Holmberg beat Ersson on a wrist shot midway through the period for a 2-0 lead.

The Flyers seemingly caught a break when Bertuzzi, recently promoted to Toronto’ first line, had a second goal wiped out on review because of a hand pass. But, Timothy Liljegren scored moments later for a 3-0 lead — on just nine shots for the Maple Leafs.

Ersson was benched to start the second period. Felix Sandstrom let in two goals – to Auston Matthews and William Nylander – just eight seconds apart in the third for a 5-1 Toronto lead. Matthew Knies also scored in the third.

Ilya Samsonov stopped 26 shots and Matthews scored his NHL-leading 55th goal for Toronto.

Owen Tippett and Tyson Foerster scored for the Flyers.

UP NEXT

Maple Leafs: Host Carolina on Saturday.

Flyers: Expect to have Tortorella back for Saturday’s game at Boston. The Flyers have 15 games remaining against an Eastern Conference opponent: eight against the Atlantic and seven against the Metro.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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