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Five Takeaways - Leafs vs. Flyers -10/28/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 4-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday at Air Canada Centre:

by Adam Proteau / MapleLeafs.com

Kadri scores off Matthews' pass

PHI@TOR: Kadri slams home feed from Matthews

Auston Matthews carries the puck to the net and dishes to Nazem Kadri, who scores on a one-timer to give the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead

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1. Leafs first on scoresheet, but Flyers finish first with lead after two-goal burst. The Leafs wanted a strong defensive effort after falling flat in that department in Thursday's 6-2 loss to Carolina, and Toronto did come out with purpose in the first period against the Flyers, outshooting them 10-6 in the frame and taking the first lead of the night just as a power play expired and centre Auston Matthews made a terrific cross-ice feed to centre Nazem Kadri, who scored his fifth of the season at the 9:07 mark.

Unfortunately for the full house on hand at Air Canada Centre, the second half of the period saw the Buds surrender their lead: blueliner Brandon Manning tied it up at 12:06, and with 1:22 left before the first intermission, winger Jakub Voracek netted his second of the year to put the visitors in front. There were positives for Toronto in the first 20 minutes, but given that they were well-aware of Philly's potent offence, the way they ended the frame left something to be desired.

Video: PHI@TOR: Kadri dives to poke in loose puck

2. Flyers add to lead on power play, but Kadri pulls Toronto back within one with his second of game. The Flyers didn't get their first power play of the game until 9:45 of the second period, but they made it count, going ahead 3-1 on centre Valtteri Filppula's fifth marker of the year. However, that goal seemed to bring out the resolve in the Leafs, who registered their second goal of the night 1:59 later on a scramble around Philadelphia netminder Brian Elliott that ended with Kadri's second of the game.

Kadri's sixth of the year put the Buds within a goal of tying it, but Philly's group of scorers are a skilled and determinded bunch themselves, and a little more than two minutes after Kadri's second goal, the Flyers would respond with one of their own.

3. Giroux restores Philadelphia's two-goal advantage late in middle frame. Again in the second period, there were stretches where the Leafs were threatening in the offensive zone, but they also had stretches in which their play in their own end was loose and lacked for focus - and a wily veteran and Flyers captain made them regret it when he streaked down the side of the ice to Andersen's right and fired a bullet shot over his shoulder at the 15:20 mark to boost Philly's lead to 4-2 heading into the final regulation frame.

The Leafs' offence is good enough to dig them out of two-goal deficits, but head coach Mike Babcock expects stronger play away from the puck, and through the first 40 minutes of action, he didn't see it enough from his charges.


4. Leafs' offence fails to produce a goal in third; Toronto fails to produce at least three goals for only second time this year. Toronto was outshot 16-8 by the Flyers in the second, but rebounded to finish the night tied 30-30. But although the Leafs had some solid scoring chances in the final 20 minutes, they couldn't beat Elliott for their third goal and wound up dropping their second game in a row for the first time this season.

The Leafs failed to generate at least three goals for only the second time this year, but the first time was a 2-0 win over Washington - a win that saw the Buds play structurally sound and fully-engaged. The same couldn't be said in this contest, which dropped Toronto's record to 7-4-0 on the season.

5. With home stand at and end, Leafs must be better defensively on important West Coast road swings. Saturday's loss ended a three-game home stand for the Leafs, who will head out Sunday to begin a four-game road swing that kicks off Monday in San Jose against the Sharks, then goes to Anaheim Wednesday, Los Angeles Thursday and finishes Saturday against St. Louis. The Kings and Blues are currently leading their divisions, but the Sharks and Ducks have the ability to stifle any offence in the league, so Toronto's focus on defence must be improved, and their cohesion on offence - which also was off against the Flyers - needs to be better as well. The parity in the league is simply too great to allow them to lean on one element of the game rather than put forth an all-around impressive effort.

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