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Flyers Fall to Toronto, 5-2

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia, PA – The Toronto Maple Leafs scored five power play goals in defeating the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center Saturday night, 5-2. Philadelphia trails the Rangers by five points now for first place in the Atlantic Division with five games to play.

Toronto led 2-0 when early in the second period, Flyers defenseman Denis Gauthier was given a boarding major and game misconduct just 22 seconds into the frame after hitting Kyle Wellwood from behind.

Philadelphia was down two men for about a minute as Mike Knuble was still serving a penalty from late in the first and killed off most of the major to Gauthier until Jeff O'Neill tallied his second goal of the game. O'Neill found a loose puck in the crease and swept it in with 32 seconds left in the penalty to make it 3-0 Toronto.

"It's frustrating because that's a big part of Toronto's game," said Ken Hitchcock. "They have a lot of minus players. They've lived off the power play and then we gave them power plays and that's what is really disappointing."

The Flyers played strong five-on-five for the rest of the second period and cut the lead to 3-1 when Niko Dimitrakos, from behind the net, centered to R.J. Umberger for a one-timer at 15:13 for Umberger's 18th goal of the season.

Jeff Carter rang one off of the post on a Flyers power play with about three minutes left in the frame, but Toronto regained its three-goal cushion when Mats Sundin scored yet another power play goal with a one-timer from the faceoff circle with 34 seconds left.

"We spent the whole second period in the box. It wears half the team down; we can't be doing that, said Carter. "It kills us."

"When it was 3-1 and we were coming back, we had tired guys out there and [couldn't] clear it and it goes in our net," said Hitchcock. "Those are mistakes of discipline and effort when you are killing penalties."

The Maple Leafs jumped ahead with two goals in the first period.

First, O'Neill got position in front of Antero Niittymaki and deflected in a feed from Ian White at 7:31. Alex Steen gave Toronto a two-goal cushion when he got behind the Flyers defense and alone in front of Niittymaki before redirecting a pass from Matt Stajan with about three minutes left.

Carter's 21st goal on the power play at 12:08 of the third period made it 4-2, when he skated from one side of the offensive zone to the other and threw one on net from the corner that deflected off of goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin and in. An empty-net goal by Chad Kilger capped the scoring.

Niittymaki started for the first time since April 1 against New Jersey. Robert Esche was in net for the previous three games.

Aubin recorded 28 saves to pick up the win while Niittymaki stopped 24 Toronto shots.

Toronto finished 5-for-8 on the power play while the Flyers were 1-for-5.

"We were not disciplined. Last night (in Buffalo) we came out fired up on all cylinders, and tonight we gave them too many opportunities and our penalty kill was ineffective," said Umberger.

This was the fourth and final game between the Flyers and Maple Leafs this season. Toronto won two of the first three including a 3-2 win at the Wachovia Center on March 28.

The Flyers have off until Tuesday when they host the last place Pittsburgh Penguins (7:00 p.m., OLN).

Peter Forsberg and Petr Nedved remained out of the lineup with groin injuries, while Ryan Potulny was a healthy scratch. … The Flyers are 9-8 in the second half of back-to-back games this season.
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