NHL Game Summary - Philadelphia at Toronto
(Tuesday, October 11th)
Final Score: Toronto 4, Philadelphia 2
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Jeff O'Neill and Eric Lindros scored in the third period to help the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in the first meeting of the season for these Eastern Conference rivals at Air Canada Centre.
Darcy Tucker and Kyle Wellwood also scored for Toronto, which bounced back from its second shootout loss of the season to Ottawa on Monday and earned its first victory of 2005-06. Goaltender Mikael Tellqvist, who started in place of veteran Ed Belfour, allowed two goals on 33 shots in the victory.
"The difference in the game was Tellqvist," said Toronto head coach Pat Quinn.
Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble scored for the Flyers, who had not played since Friday but failed to outwork the tired Maple Leafs and fell to 1-2 on the young season. Robert Esche, who looked shaky as the starter in the Flyers' season-opening loss to the New York Rangers, stopped 18-of-22 shots. Gagne now has four goals -- all assisted by Peter Forsberg -- in three games.
"We had a lot of things that we did very well tonight," said Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock. "But to give up the two goals (in the third period) was really disappointing."
Lindros, skating in his fourth game as a Maple Leaf, played against the team that signed his paychecks for the first eight seasons of his career. Philadelphia won an arbitration ruling that brought Lindros to the Flyers in the summer of 1992 and after eight rocky years, he was dealt to the Rangers. in 2001. Lindros was then signed by Toronto, in which he grew up, to a one- year contract following the recent lockout.
These two teams are certainly not strangers. In the last two playoff seasons, Philadelphia eliminated Toronto both times in a combined 13 (of a possible 14) games and eight overtime periods of very physical hockey. The last time these teams met, former Flyers forward Jeremy Roenick beat Belfour in overtime to end the Maple Leafs 2003-04 season in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
With the score tied at 2-2 in the third period, two costly penalties called on Philadelphia saw the Leafs take advantage.
Rookie Mike Richards was whistled for hooking at 6:45 and the Toronto power play went to work. Veteran blueliner Bryan McCabe took the puck and crossed the top of the zone along the blue line and turned before sliding a pass back toward the top of the left circle. O'Neill's one-timer to the far post beat Esche, who slid the wrong way.
"It feels good to get the first one," said O'Neill about his first goal with the club.
Lindros then sealed the victory with his second tally of the season. The Maple Leafs were once again skating with the man advantage and exactly as their power play ended, Lindros lit the lamp with a fierce wrist shot from the right circle.
Ironically, that goal was the 358th of Lindros' career, which ties him for 10th place on the all-time NHL goal scoring list with Philadelphia general manager Bob Clarke. It was Clarke's highly-publicized heated relationship with Lindros that led to the latter's departure from Philadelphia.
Toronto opened the scoring with 12:22 to play in the first period.
Jason Allison hustled down the left side and released a shot through traffic. The Flyers failed to clear the puck out of the goal mouth and Tucker, who was left all alone at the top of the crease, punched it home.
Philadelphia tied the contest on Knuble's short-handed marker with under three minutes to play in the opening stanza. With Eric Desjardins in the penalty box for tripping, Knuble muscled for control of the puck and kept it along the right half-wall.
Using the rear boards to get the disc over to the other side, Knuble got the puck to Gagne, who corralled it inside the left circle. Knuble then skated to the front of the net and one-timed Gagne's pass into the net at 17:47.
Much like the first period, the second saw the teams trade goals, with Toronto scoring in the early stages and the Flyers tying it later in the stanza.
The Maples Leafs outhustled the visitors for the first five shifts of the period and eventually took the lead at the 4:16 mark. Toronto forward Matt Stajan took the puck behind the Philadelphia net and flipped a quick pass out in front. Wellwood, who finished near the top in scoring in the AHL last season, was in perfect position and beat Esche up high for a 2-1 Toronto lead.
For the remainder of the second period, it was the Flyers who controlled most of the offensive play, but despite several quality scoring chances, could not solve Tellqvist. However, with just over two minutes to play before the second intermission, Philadelphia's efforts finally paid off.
The line of Gagne, Forsberg and Knuble cycled down low in the left corner and a flurry of shots and blocked shots ensued. Defenseman Joni Pitkanen had a good look from the high left slot, but his shot hit a stick on its way to the net. After a scramble in front, Gagne was finally able to slide a backhander just inside the right post with 2:02 remaining.
Before the second period began, there was 20-minute delay due to an electrical problem with the lights in the arena. The teams went back into their respective locker rooms before returning to the ice soon after for the commencement of the period...Tucker recorded his 300th NHL point...Toronto center Mats Sundin, who is out with an eye injury, will not need surgery as the fracture to his orbital bone is not displaced. There is no timetable for his return...The Leafs finished 1-for-6 on the power play (the goal by Lindros was technically not a power-play goal), while the Flyers ended scoreless on four chances with the extra skater.
10/11 23:16:16 ET