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Maple Leafs hold off Flyers in 4-2 win

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle was hoping his team could heal from the "scar" of losing to the Ottawa Senators in the game's final minute Saturday.

His team's effort Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers provided the perfect salve in a 4-2 victory at Wells Fargo Center.

Phil Kessel, Nikolai Kulemin, Mikhail Grabovski and Jay McClement all had goals, and Nazem Kadri and Carl Gunnarsson each had a pair of assists.

And after a late power-play goal allowed the Flyers to get within a goal, the team's penalty killers led the effort to earn the Leafs two points in the standings.

"For us it was about flushing what happened, the scar from the other night," Carlyle said. "We wanted to make sure we could flush that with our effort. You have to give our guys credit, they battled. They came in and went toe to toe with a pretty good hockey team over there."

The effort came through all three periods, but came on especially strong midway through the third period. The Leafs already had killed four Flyers power plays when James van Riemsdyk was called for a pair of minor penalties at 11:18, giving Philadelphia a four-minute advantage.

Jakub Voracek, who earlier Monday had been named the NHL's First Star of the Week, scored 24 seconds into the advantage when his shot from the right faceoff circle went through a Brayden Schenn screen and past Leafs goalie Ben Scrivens. The goal extended Voracek's point-scoring streak to six games, but the Leafs allowed the Flyers just one other shot on goal.

"We got through it," Carlyle said. "We found a way and that's a credit to our penalty killers. What we're trying to do is limit the number of opportunities, the second- and third-chance opportunities, and put pressure on it when the time is right to put onpressure."

The Leafs had killed off 35 straight opposing power plays prior to Voracek's goal. And the effort from the Leafs' penalty killers certainly frustrated the Flyers, who totaled one shot on goal on their first four advantages, and were credited with just three shots on the man-advantage.

"They were really aggressive," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think we got frustrated through the middle periods, there was no time to set up and make the nice plays that everybody wants to see. I don't think it wasn't the power play that wasn't working or they didn't want it to work again. … When the checking is tighter there is less, 'Wow,' out there. That's the way the middle of the game looked [and] that's the way the power plays looked. They just weren't sharp. They weren't sharp because we didn't have time to set up the plays."

Kessel gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead with 2:40 left in the first period. Tyler Bozak banked a pass from the neutral zone off the wall in the Philadelphia end that Kessel grabbed ahead of Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen. Kessel stayed wide and beat Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov with a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle that went just inside the far post for Kessel's fourth of the season.

It marked the fourth straight game and 12th time in 20 games this season they had allowed the game's first goal.

"We talk about it before games," Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said. "We talk about it after the first five minutes of the game when we don't show up to play. Any team in this League is too good to only play 50 minutes or 55 minutes or even half a game. It's been talked about too many times. It's got to change fast. We can't get down 2-0 every game and expect to win, especially against a team like Toronto. They are playing really well. It's just frustrating to be a part of it.

"We're not going to make the playoffs if we keep playing the way we are. We talked about it after the game. If we don't learn fast, as in Wednesday night [against the Washington Capitals], it's going to be a long season. Guys have to realize that. Every point counts, game 20 or game 30. We have to wake it up."

Kulemin made it 2-0 with his first goal in 12 games. Gunnarsson made a long pass that Kadri one-touched across to Kulemin, who the Flyers missed coming down the right side into the Flyers' zone on a line change. Danny Briere and Brayden Schenn recovered to trip up Kulemin, but as he was falling to the ice he poked the puck over Bryzgalov's blocker at 15:02.

"I was happy for him," Kadri said."Kuly [Kulemin] is a guy who works hard and sometimes doesn't get rewarded for it. It was nice to finally see him put one in the back of the net. It was really an important goal for us, seemed to give us a boost."

The Flyers got on the board with 2:04 left on Hartnell's first goal of the season. Voracek made a nice backhand centering pass off the rush to Hartnell, who was driving to the net and got his stick on the puck to redirect it high over Scrivens' right shoulder and into the net.

Philadelphia nearly tied the game when Flyers captain Claude Giroux got loose and beat Scrivens with a backhand shot that went behind the goaltender's head but grazed the crossbar and went wide of the net.

Second later, Grabovski's sixth of the season at 7:52 put the Leafs ahead 3-1. Kadri got the puck behind the Philadelphia net and made a nice backhand pass that bounced off Grabovski and went to Clarke MacArthur in front. Bryzgalov stopped his attempt, but kicked the puck back to Grabovski, who lifted a backhander from the slot over the fallen Philadelphia netminder.

The Flyers got a bit of life when van Riemsdyk was sent off for holding Braydon Coburn, then hooking Giroux.

"The first call I don't really get what they called, but the second one I clearly obviously had to hook [Giroux]," van Riemsdyk said. "That's not a guy you want racing in on your goalie."

The former Flyer, playing in Philadelphia as a visitor for the first time, admitted it was a helpless feeling putting his team down like he did.

"Definitely was an uneasy feeling there," he said. "I don't wish that on anyone. It was one of those things where the boys did a great job on the kill and I'm glad we were able to win the game."

McClement closed the scoring with an empty-net goal with 12.3 seconds left, and the healing process was well underway for the Leafs.

"I think we were all in, all pulling the rope in the same direction," van Riemsdyk said. "We didn't really have any passengers tonight. I think everyone was playing within the system and doing the things we need to do to be a successful team."


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