Dhiren Mahiban, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, October 28, 2017 10:10PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 28, 2017 11:03PM EDT
TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs’ offence has hit a wall.
Brian Elliott made 28 saves as the Flyers avoided a third straight loss with a 4-2 win over the Maple Leafs on Saturday.
After winning six of seven to open the season, Toronto (7-4-0) has now dropped three of four. The Leafs have been limited to 2.5 goals per game in those four games after putting up 4.9 per game in their first seven.
“Things were easy for us early, now teams have done real nice job in the neutral zone and made it harder of us,” said Leafs coach Mike Babcock. “We had 10 neutral zone turnovers in the first period. Anyway you look at it, that’s the National Hockey League: clog up the neutral zone, make it competitive.”
Philadelphia (6-5-0) got goals from Valtteri Filppula, Brandon Manning, Jakub Voracek, and Claude Giroux.
Nazem Kadri scored twice for the 14th multi-goal game of his career. Frederik Andersen, who entered the game with a 6-0-0 record and a .923 save percentage in six career games against the Flyers, made 26 saves in the loss.
“I don’t think we’re going to find ourselves in these 7-5 games anymore,” said Auston Matthews, who had one assist. “It’s going to be tighter and tighter. Team structure is going to get tighter and tighter so we’ve got to make sure ours is too.”
Filppula and Giroux both beat Andersen in similar fashion — high glove-side — to give the Flyers a two-goal lead through two periods. Filppula’s fifth of the season, on a power play, at 11:03 of the second gave Philadelphia a 3-1 lead. Giroux’s sixth, at 15:20, made it 4-2 for the visitors.
Toronto had an excellent opportunity to tie the game 2-2 with a 26-second 5-on-3 power play early in the second, but failed to register a shot on goal on the two-man advantage.
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol called it the turning point in the game.
“That’s a big part of the hockey game,” said Hakstol. “We win the faceoff, we get the clear, they never did really get set up.
“That was a big momentum builder for us and we were able to take advantage of it.”
Kadri briefly pulled the Leafs to within one, putting the rebound off of Ron Hainsey’s point shot past Elliott to cut the Flyers lead to 3-2 at 13:02 of the middle period.
Philadelphia led 2-1 after 20 minutes on goals from Manning and Voracek.
Trailing 1-0, Manning put Philadelphia on the board at 12:06, picking up a Scott Laughton feed and beating Andersen short side for his first of the season.
Voracek gave the Flyers their first lead of the night beating Morgan Rielly to the outside, cutting to the middle, and beating Andersen between the legs for his second of the season with 1:22 remaining in the first.
Kadri opened the scoring at 9:07 of the first, one-timing a feed from Matthews past Elliott for his fifth of the season. Josh Leivo, who was making his regular-season debut, picked up the second assist on the goal.
Shayne Gostisbehere did not play in the third period due to what the team called an upper-body injury. The Flyers defenceman was the recipient of a big hit from Leo Komarov prior to assisting on Filppula’s second-period goal.
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