Maple Leafs save energy for Flyers with short practice
Philadelphia Flyers at Toronto Maple Leafs
- Philadelphia lost, 5-4, in Ottawa on Thursday night, dropping its second straight tilt while allowing five or more goals in each setback. Including going 0-for-2 against the Sens, the Flyers have converted just 8.7 percent (2-for-23) of their power-play opportunities in losses this season (6-for-18 in wins).
- Toronto was doubled up, 6-3, by Carolina at Air Canada Centre on Thursday night, losing for the second time in the last three games. The Leafs have killed all 11 of their opponents' power-play opportunities in their last five contests (Hurricanes were 0-for-1 with the man-advantage Thursday night).
- Toronto took two of three from Philadelphia in 2016-17, winning both tilts at Air Canada Centre, and losing 2-1 at Wells Fargo Center. The Leafs are 3-0-1 in their last four home games vs. the Flyers overall (dating to February 26, 2015).
- Sean Couturier had a goal and two helpers Thursday night, giving him five points (3g, 2a) in his last two games, and a team-high seven markers on the season. Couturier has just three assists (zero goals) in his last seven skates against the Maple Leafs.
- Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist Thursday night, giving him five multi-point performances in 2017-18, and 14 points overall on the season -- tied for third most in hockey. Matthews had just one helper (zero goals) in three skates against the Flyers in 2016-17.
- Toronto has allowed as many as six goals three times in 2017-18 -- most of any team in hockey. The Leafs have potted three or more goals nine times this season (tied with Tampa Bay for most in the NHL entering play this weekend).
TORONTO -- Mike Babcock made practice short on Friday and the Toronto Maple Leafs coach hopes that the results are favorable on Saturday.
The Maple Leafs, who played poorly in a 6-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night, will complete a three-game homestand Saturday with a game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre.
The practice Friday took 24 minutes.
"They understood, it was drawn up for 30 minutes, it was done in 24 or whatever," Babcock said. "We didn't want anyone wasting any energy or fooling around out there, we want it for the game."
Left winger James van Riemsdyk did not practice and could miss the game Saturday with an injured right leg. He played with the injury Thursday, but could rest it on Saturday with left winger Josh Leivo possibly playing in his first game of the season.
"I don't know, (van Riemsdyk) wasn't available for practice today," Babcock said. "(Leivo) has been dying to play, anyway."
The Flyers also have something to prove Saturday.
They are coming off a 5-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa on Thursday, still upset by the league's explanation of a disallowed goal in the final minute.
Philadelphia's Sean Couturier put the puck into the net on a wraparound with 56.2 seconds left with what would have been the tying goal.
Referee Steve Kozari told NHL's situation room that he was in the process of blowing his whistle when he lost sight of the puck, which was under the skates of Senators goaltender Craig Anderson. As a result, the NHL said that the play could not be reviewed under its rules. The league stood by its ruling on Friday.
"We tied it up," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said after the game. "It's there. I just watched it on our own video in the coach's room and it's clear as day. I watched the puck go over the line. It's 100 percent a goal. I don't know how that's missed. That bothers me because the guys fought their rear ends off to get back into this game and tie this thing up."
The Flyers also thought they had scored with 10:22 remaining in the game on a shot by Brandon Manning that would have cut the Senators' lead to 4-3.
Ottawa coach Guy Boucher challenged, claiming goaltender interference. Philadelphia's Jordan Weal had backed into the crease, but it appeared that Anderson initiated contact and Weal had left the crease as Manning shot. The review determined that there would be no goal.
"The first overturned goal -- those are judgment calls," Hakstol said. "I don't get involved in second-guessing them. I thought it was a goal, but they've got to make that call when they watch it. But that's a judgment call. ... We dug ourselves a hole, but the big thing is we dug out of that hole. Yeah, it's frustrating."
"It always sucks getting the goal called off, but I think we responded pretty well," Couturier said. "We kept going. We scored two goals and almost the tying goal. We battled hard to get back, but we need to have a better start."
The Flyers (5-5-0) fell behind 3-0 in the opening period Thursday for the second road game in a row.
The Maple Leafs (7-3-0) also fell behind early on Thursday. The Hurricanes led 2-0 after 2:53. Toronto tied the game at 3 before Carolina pulled away.
"My job is to get us prepared," Babcock said on Friday. "Obviously, I'm not doing a good enough job because we weren't prepared. I think you have to go through some things to understand some things that are going on with your team. We have to fix this and look forward. I was pumped that the sun got up today and now look forward to tomorrow."
Frederik Andersen, who has started in goal for nine of Toronto's 10 games, has a 3.54 goals-against average and an .893 save percentage. He has allowed 13 goals in his past three games.
"I'm always worried about getting better," Andersen said. "Some games have gone a different way than you want it to be and I think you want to keep getting better."
After giving up two or fewer goals in his first three starts, Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth allowed five goals on 28 shots in Ottawa.
"It was a tough game," Neuvirth said. "Five goals against is way too much. Got to be better."
"I think we were just sloppy," Philadelphia right winger Jakub Voracek said. "There's no way around it. Bad start and they score right away. Second goal was a blown coverage by me. We played better from the second period, but sometimes it's not good enough. We just didn't skate and if you don't skate, you don't have the openings. You don't skate, you get scored on and there goes the first period."
Updated October 27, 2017