Flyers-Maple Leafs: Postgame Review
There was a nice four-day break between games for the Flyers, who were coming off the road riding a three-game winning streak.
Playing on home ice hasn't been the Flyers strong suit this season, but they opened a five-game homestand with a clutch 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs to extend their winning streak to four.
Let's hit it with our Postgame Review.
- More Top Line Success - The scoring started and ended with the Flyers top line. It's been a common theme all season, but in this case was a welcome one.
Secondary scoring was better on the road trip after virtually disappearing during the 10-game losing streak. So for the top line to get two of the goals, it leans back on the reliance for that trio to succeed.
But that's part of playing a top-line role, you have to be a big-game player and show up when it counts.
Claude Giroux's 13th goal of the season, one shy of his total from last season, came right off a face-off win by Sean Couturier. A quick reaction sent the puck by Frederik Andersen in the blink of an eye.
The game-winning goal by Couturier was off a brilliant play by Giroux, but continued to show how far Couturier has come this season. The goal was his 15th of the season. That ties a career high...in the Flyers 30th game of the season. No doubt about it, Couturier has broken out in a huge way this season.
- A Fourth-Line Goal - For as good as Couturier's game-winner was on the highlight reel, the most important goal of the night was a goal orchestrated by the fourth line to tie the game up.
The Flyers recently reconstructed the fourth line with Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier and Travis Konecny serving as a trio. With Robert Hagg and Shayne Gostisbehere on the ice, this looked like a minor-league All-Star line. With the exception of Konecny, each of the players on the ice had been a standout with the Phantoms at some point.
Konecny deserves a lot of the credit on this play and ultimately gets the goal, but the net-front presence by both Laughton and Leier is absolutely key to this sequence.
It was an important goal, and the type that can jumpstart a team being that it came from players who have to make the most of limited minutes.
- Rad Return - Making his return from a 10-game suspension, Radko Gudas played a pretty solid game.
He had his defensive lapses at times, but for him to come out and lead the team in shots with five and also added two blocked shots in 14:03 of ice time.
More importantly, Gudas showed restraint in the moments when the game appeared to reach boiling points among players. It's only one game, and as his first back from a suspension, he was almost certainly on alert for things like that, but that's the way he has to handle himself from here. He started off the right way in his first game back.
- Playing from Behind - The Maple Leafs, second place in the Atlantic Division entering Tuesday's game, had a perfect 12-0-0 record when leading after two periods, as they did in this game.
There were moments early when the Leafs defensive structure looked like it would be impenetrable. But the Flyers stayed with it, continued to supply the effort and got the reward in a fourth straight win and a big one at that against an Eastern Conference foe.
- Still More Work to Do - It's probably as enjoyable a win as any on the current four-game stretch, but the Flyers had talked a lot leading into this game about keeping things simple. It didn't look like they were for a good part of the game.
The power play continues to look for the perfect play, players were still passing up shots by trying to feed a teammate and there were turnovers that could have proven costly.
This team is probably never going to play a perfect game with the amount of youth in the lineup, but they do still need to work on simplifying the offensive approach and tightening up defensively. But for now, enjoy a streak of a different kind, as the Flyers get their fourth straight win. It's a breath of fresh air at Wells Fargo Center to say the least.