Flyers, Maple Leafs look to continue winning streaks

NHL

The Philadelphia Flyers visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night trying to avenge a home loss on Nov. 2 in a game that was decided by an 11-round shootout.

The Flyers and Maple Leafs posted home victories on Thursday night, both in overtime. The Flyers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, and the Maple Leafs beat the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1.

The Flyers have 18 points in their first 15 games — the most since the 2011-12 team had 19 points — but Montreal goaltender Carey Price worked hard to try to keep Philadelphia from adding to that total. The Flyers outshot the Canadiens 43-24.

“I think Price is the only reason why they got a point tonight,” Flyers goaltender Carter Hart said. “I thought we really competed hard tonight.”

The Flyers recorded points in each of their past four games, going 3-0-1. The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, won their third straight game Thursday, giving coach Mike Babcock his 700th NHL victory.

The difference for the Maple Leafs was goaltender Frederik Andersen, who made 37 saves.

“I think we’re 4-1-1 in our last six,” Babcock said, correctly. “So (Andersen has) been playing and he’s been getting better just like each year. He kind of gets through October and seems to kick it into gear and gets feeling good. He’s an important player for us, a good leader for us. We need him to make big saves.”

The Maple Leafs’ power play, which ranks 21st in the league at 17.2 percent efficiency, went 1-for-6 against the Golden Knights. It finally clicked in the third period with a goal by Auston Matthews that tied the game.

Before that power play, Babcock told the team to relax: “That’s what we said before the power play there, ‘Come on, lighten up here fellas. Let’s just go out there and breathe a little bit and do what we’re supposed to do.'”

Captain John Tavares, who scored in overtime, said the Maple Leafs did what they had to do.

“Obviously, at times, I think our execution wasn’t great,” he said, “but I think we also had a lot of looks on net, we put a lot of pucks there and sometimes it’s just getting those second and third opportunities. I think on that last power play, that was what happened.”

Against Philadelphia, Toronto will be without Zach Hyman, who is returning from knee surgery. Babcock said the right winger will not return until next week.

For the Flyers, Sean Couturier, who did not take faceoffs Thursday because of a sore shoulder, scored the overtime goal. The Flyers have an imposing back-to-back set this weekend with a road game against the Boston Bruins on Sunday.

Philadelphia coach Alain Vigneault gives the players more days off to recover from games, but he works them long and hard when they do practice.

Flyers center Travis Konecny, who leads the team in points with seven goals and nine assists, said the practices make a difference later in games.

“There’s a very high tempo, and there’s not a lot of breaks,” Konecny said, “and even the breaks we do get, we’re doing laps in between. It’s little things that people laugh at and don’t really understand the logic behind it, but look at the third periods and we’re outskating teams.”

The Flyers have outscored their opponents 23-13 in the third period.

Philadelphia made a roster move Friday, sending center Mikhail Vorobyev to Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League and recalling center Andy Andreoff.

–Field Level Media

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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