Outstanding individual effort from Kadri puts Leafs up early, but Flyers pull even, move ahead shortly thereafter. Centre Nazem Kadri had three goals in his past four games entering Friday's showdown with the Flyers, and the veteran added to that total early in the first period, undressing blueliner Michael Del Zotto and breaking in all alone on goalie Steve Mason before scoring his seventh goal of the year at 2:53 of the frame.
Toronto's lead lasted only 65 seconds, though, as Philadelphia pulled even with a power play marker from Wayne Simmonds at 3:58. And the visitors took their first lead of the night 27 seconds after that when centre Travis Konecny pushed past D-man Connor Carrick and beat goalie Frederik Andersen for his fourth of the year. The Buds attempted to use their speed to their advantage, but didn't have the defensive structure to act as a safeguard when they took risks, and the Flyers made the most of their chances early on.
Video: PHI@TOR: Rielly snipes a PPG into the top shelf
Rielly ties it on a personal milestone night. Playing in his 250th career regular-season NHL game, defenceman Morgan Rielly recorded his 100th career point on a 5-on-3 Leafs power play late in the first, and it was a beauty: he got the puck just to the left of Mason, moved toward mid-ice, patiently maintained possession as he slipped around Flyers defender Nick Schultz, and fired a shot past Mason with 52 seconds left before intermission to make it 2-2.
Rielly's game has continued to grow in his four NHL seasons, and some are still surprised to know he's just 22 years old. But he's benefitted from playing in this summer's World Cup of Hockey and is honing his all-around game while providing leadership for a young Leafs squad. There's still a lot of upside to him, and Leafs Nation undoubtedly is thrilled to see what's next for him.
Simmonds' second - this one, shorthanded - gives Flyers the lead. The Leafs had yet to surrender a shorthanded goal in their first 13 games this season, but that streak came to an end early in the second period when Simmonds capitalized on a turnover at the Flyers blueline and scored a breakaway goal on Andersen for his second of the night and eighth of the year to put Philly ahead for the second time Friday.
Toronto's puck movement wasn't especially crisp in the first half of this game, and the visitors were quick to take advantage of it: they outshot the Leafs 9-1 in the first seven minutes of the second period, 16-7 in the frame, and 33-23 overall, putting all sorts of pressure on Andersen. The Buds also struggled in their 7-0 loss to Los Angeles Tuesday, and clearly need to do a better job of putting pucks on net.
Video: PHI@TOR: Marincin buries a blistering slap shot
Rielly racks up third point of the evening on Marincin's game-tying marker. Toronto trailed 3-2 entering the final regulation period, but the Buds looked more focused to start the frame and, after a terrific, behind-the-back pass from Rielly, blueliner Martin Marincin used a booming slap shot and a bunch of Leafs traffic in front of Mason to score his first of the season at the 4:03 mark.
The goal was only the second career marker as a Leaf for Marincin, who isn't utilized in most of Toronto's offensive scenarios. But it was Rielly's silky-smooth setup that allowed Marincin all sorts of time and space to wind up and blow it by Mason, underscoring Rielly's creativity with the puck.
Video: PHI@TOR: Hyman backhands home the rebound
Hard work pays off for Hyman with his first of the season - and the game-winner. Winger Zach Hyman is one of the hardest workers on the Leafs and a favourite of head coach Mike Babcock because of his willingness to do the dirty work and take punishment in the corners and in front of the net to create opportunities for his teammates. And the 24-year-old was finally rewarded for his doggedness at the 8:34 mark of the third when he knocked home a puck at point-blank range for his first goal of the season and a 4-3 Toronto lead.
The emotion was clearly evident on Hyman's face after he gave the Leafs the advantage. His relentless work ethic doesn't always result in pretty plays, but it charged up Toronto, who got a shorthanded breakaway goal from winger Leo Komarov with 8:28 remaining in regulation time to carve out a two-goal lead, then made it 6-3 on a power play goal from rookie forward Mitch Marner.
The goal was Marner's fourth of the year, and Rielly recorded the primary assist to give him four points in the game, a personal best for him at the NHL level. More importantly, it got Toronto back in the win column and improved their record to 6-5-3 this season. But they'll have no time to sit back and marvel at it, as they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins Saturday night.