Flyers Respond to Controversy With Gritty 4-3 Win Against the Leafs

@NHLFlyers on X

It’s been a busy day for the Flyers, to say the least. Let’s take a look at the events leading up to today’s game and how the Flyers responded.

Setting the Scene

After being named captain only a little over a month ago, Sean Couturier was benched by Head Coach John Tortorella. This is being considered quite a controversial move, with Couturier voicing his displeasure with his decision.

“I’ve been putting the work in for a while. I’ve been struggling, but I’ve been working on my game, and it’s frustrating the way I’ve been treated around here lately. But it is what it is.”

– Sean Couturier after morning skate 03/19, per Bill Meltzer on X

However, it is worth noting Couturier did add,

“It doesn’t matter what I think. I’ve got to leave my ego aside. Hopefully I can get back into [the lineup] soon.

Add on Cam Atkinson, Denis Gurianov, and Marc Staal being healthy scratches, a banged-up defense with Jamie Drysdale, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Nick Seeler out, trading away Sean Walker, and back-to-back losses, the Flyers had their work cut out for them.

With all that being said, one question hangs over the fans’ heads heading into this game: how are the Flyers going to respond to this controversy?

First Period

Just 19 seconds in, Owen Tippett scores a quick wrister from Cam York. It was made possible by Morgan Frost’s forecheck on the boards to send a pass up to York, who then dealt it to Tippett.

Then, Nicolas Deslauriers and Ryan Reaves decided to make good on their pregame warm-up chat, which reporters assumed was related to fighting in some fashion. Their inference was correct. Deslauriers and Reaves dropped the gloves in a heavy-weight tilt. Reaves got in some punches before Deslauriers found his ground and took him down to the ice.

Five minutes in, are you not entertained?

The boys kept buzzing and generated high-danger chances. They held onto their lead heading into the second period.

Score: 1-0 Flyers

Second Period

Travis Sanheim again wasted no time, scoring 56 seconds into the period on a wrist shot. Garnet Hathaway had the assist.

Frost then went to the box for hooking John Tavares at the 1:44 mark, and the Flyers were able to kill it off.

The Flyers kept the good energy going throughout the period. A flashy two-on-one with Travis Konecny and Tippett, unfortunately, did not result in a goal, but it’s an example of the momentum the Flyers worked hard to sustain. Ilya Samsonov was a huge reason why the Flyers didn’t pot one on their multiple rushes up the ice.

Then, the Flyers had a chance to go on the power play. After a push, Frost ended up in the net, but the puck did not. The score remained 2-0 Flyers.

Bobby McMann had a golden breakaway off a turnover from Zamula, however, Sam Ersson came up with a big save.

Frost made up for the power play blunder with a gorgeous wrist shot that sailed its way through traffic and past Samsonov at 16:26. Samsonov had no idea where the puck was. Ronnie Attard had his first point of the season with the primary assist and Ryan Poehling had the secondary assist.

Ersson, of course, was a huge reason why the score remained the way it did. Also, Toronto hit the post four times through the first and second periods.

Score: 3-0 Flyers

Third Period

The Leafs were finally able to break through after just ten seconds on the power play. William Nylander scored off a pass from Auston Matthews.

Frost was sent to the box for hooking David Kampf. The momentum shifted to the Leafs’ favor after that. Ersson came up big again for the Flyers, stopping the big Toronto names

Then, Pontus Holmberg caught Scott Laughton with his stick and was sent to the box at 7:47. The power play had a chance to add to the total and create some more breathing room, however, they couldn’t convert. Then, Tyler Bertuzzi came in with the momentum killer just seconds after their penalty kill.

As if that wasn’t enough, Scott Laughton was sent to the box for hooking John Tavares. The Flyers had their back to the wall and needed their penalty kill to come through.

At the start of the PK, cheers of “Let’s Go Flyers” rang out in the Wells Fargo Center as the Flyers cleared the puck multiple times. Thankfully, the Flyers PK worked exactly as it was designed. They were aggressive and got the job done.

Then, the puck sailed past Nicholas Robertson to a vigorously skating Laughton who shot out of the penalty box with a hunger for the puck. He executed a beautiful toe-drag and passed the puck to Tippett, who took it behind the net and then passed it to Laughton, who was sitting in front of the net. However, my description of the sequence doesn’t do it justice, so here’s the clip.

Then, the Leafs pulled Samsonov with 2:51 left in the period. Tavares scored with 2:10 left in the period, making it 4-3 Flyers. However, in true gritty Flyers fashion, they sweated out the last few minutes with blocks and clears and officially grabbed the victory.

Three Stars

  1. Morgan Frost (1g, 1a)
  2. Owen Tippett (1g, 1a)
  3. Cam York (1a)

The Dog Mask

Who better than the man with the game-winning goal?

With this win, the Flyers snap their eight-game losing streak against the Leafs and their two-game losing streak. They look to carry this momentum to PNC Bank Arena against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Maria Kaffes

Maria Kaffes is a sophomore at Syracuse University and covers the Philadelphia Flyers for Inside The Rink. She is pursuing a degree in public relations with double minors in sport management and creative writing. In addition to her role with Inside The Rink, she is the Syracuse Men's Ice Hockey's head photographer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers Playoff Preview

It’s the best time of the year. The 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs are here. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, this is the seventh consecutive season that they have made the postseason. Last season was their only first-round exit in the current run, as they fell short in six games to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Entering […]

Read More

ECHL Game Recap: Wheeling Nailers vs Indy Fuel Series | 04/20/2024

The Indy Fuel met with the Wheeling Nailers Friday night in Indianapolis for game two of their Kelly Cup Playoff series. Indy won 5-2 in the first game, with lots of heavy hits and challenging plays. The Wheelers want to tie this series as they return to their barn for game three. Looking to tonight’s […]

Read More

Joe Fleming’s AHL Debut

Savannah Joe Fleming thought his season was over on April 14th when the Ghost Pirates did not make the Kelly Cup Playoffs. This week, He got the call that his season wasn’t over; he was being called to the AHL Henderson Silver Knights.  Fleming is no stranger to Henderson. He has been called up a […]

Read More