Toronto, Ontario – Eric Desjardins, Mike Knuble and Donald Brashear all registered a goal and an assist as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre, 5-2. It was the Flyers' third straight victory, and they ended a four-game winning streak by the Maple Leafs.
Philadelphia took its first lead of the game at the end of the second period while down two men.
With Brashear and Derian Hatcher in the penalty box giving Toronto 58 seconds with a two-man advantage, Philadelphia would have been happy to go to the locker room with the game tied. Michal Handzus stole the puck from Toronto's Jeff O'Neill, however, and tipped the puck ahead to Mike Richards. On a two-on-one rush with Handzus, Richards' wrist shot beat Ed Belfour to the top corner, short side at 17:21 for his second goal of the season.
It was the Flyers' first goal while down two men since Terry Carkner on Dec. 5, 1991 in a 6-3 loss to Washington.
"The puck was rolling a little bit and I just shot it," said Richards. "I was hoping it wouldn't go wrap-around the other way."
"It was a big goal because we didn't score on the power play," said Ken Hitchcock. "It took a lot of pressure off of us going into the third period."
Robert Esche made sure that lead stood up through the second, getting his pad on a wrist shot from the slot by Eric Lindros moments later with Toronto still on the power play.
After a goal by Lindros at 1:27 of the third period tied the game at 2-2, the Flyers responded with three unanswered goals.
First, Simon Gagne got his own rebound and fired the puck towards the net. It deflected off of the torso of Knuble, who was standing in front of the net at 3:46.
Another deflection resulted in a goal on a slap shot by Desjardins off of Brashear, who was setting a screen in the slot at 6:07 to give the Flyers a two-goal cushion, before Branko Radivojevic's first goal of the season at 15:33 put the game away.
"We stayed with it a lot better than we have," said Keith Primeau of the team's third period effort. "The last time we were in this building (Oct. 11) we were on our heels and we let them come at us, but tonight it was much better."
The Flyers finished 1-for-8 with the man advantage, and killed off three of four Toronto power plays. Esche finished the night with 22 saves, while Belfour took the loss with 27 stops.
Toronto opened the scoring on the power play at 10:46. Tomas Kaberle's slap shot from the top of the zone beat Esche on just the Maple Leafs' second shot of the game.
Philadelphia responded on a power play of its own later in the frame. Peter Forsberg increased his assist streak to six games, when he controlled the puck in the face off circle and laid the puck for Desjardins to blast into the net on a one-timer at 13:38.
Forsberg entered the game second in the league in assists, and now has 12 points on the season, all helpers.
"As long as my teammates are scoring and we're winning games, it's ok," said Forsberg on having not yet scored a goal this season. "I'm not going to try to force it, I'm just going to keep working hard."
The Flyers will stay in Canada through Tuesday when they face the Montreal Canadiens, before returning home on Thursday, Oct. 27 for a game with the Florida Panthers at the Wachovia Center.
FLYERS NOTES Dennis Seidenberg was a healthy scratch, while Chris Therien returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with back spasms. … Brashear played in his 200th game as a Flyer. … Maple Leafs head coach Pat Quinn coached in his 500th game with the club. … Gagne's five-game goal-scoring streak came to an end.