Flyers

Flyers

BOX SCORE

The Flyers are still impossible to predict so far.

The team couldn't hold a 3-2 third-period lead Saturday night and eventually lost to the Maple Leafs, 4-3, after an 11-round shootout at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers (6-5-2) had a power play in overtime but failed to generate much with it. Travis Konecny, who was the only Flyer to score in the skills competition, was denied on a breakaway in the final minute of the bonus session.

This was the Flyers' third back-to-back set of 17 this season. They are 0-2-1 in the second game of such situations.

A positive for the Flyers: Following consecutive ugly losses to divisional opponents, the team picked up three of a possible four points its next two games.

Andreas Johnsson delivered the shootout winner for the Maple Leafs (7-5-3).

• Coming into the season, it looked like the Flyers' defensemen were going to make or break the team's fortunes and that storyline still rings true.

When the blueliners are good, the Flyers are scoring and dictating tempo. When they're not sharp, they're losing 1-on-1 battles, making mistakes with the puck and breakdowns ensue.

So far, the Flyers' defensemen have been inconsistent. It's no coincidence the team has been, too.

• This felt like a big night for Claude Giroux, who entered with 33 points in 34 career games against Toronto. The Maple Leafs' up-and-down style plays to his strengths. Against Toronto, the Flyers' captain put up his second multi-point game of the season with an assist and this nasty power play goal.

 

Jakub Voracek was good, too, in his second game after head coach Alain Vigneault challenged the two vets to lead with top-end play.

However, things went somewhat quiet in the final stanza.

• Joel Farabee truly can play anywhere in the lineup. He climbed to the top line and was superb alongside Giroux and James van Riemsdyk. The 19-year-old was making plays and knows how to complement talented linemates. He committed a costly penalty when the Flyers went on the power play with a 3-2 lead in the third, an infraction that led to Mitchell Marner's 4-on-4 goal.

The goal was avoidable, though, if Sean Couturier and the Flyers were cleaner through the neutral zone and Matt Niskanen didn't get beat on the play.

Overall, more positives from Farabee a game after he scored his first career goal in clutch fashion.

• The Flyers shouldn't be overly concerned with Travis Sanheim but it is puzzling to see the 23-year-old have this much trouble skating. He has fallen down in back-to-back games on an opposition's goal and three times this season.

He appeared to be fighting himself in the first period. On one play, Sanheim had an opportunity to hold the blue line but was hesitant and started backpedaling.

What do you know, Sanheim redeemed himself with a go-ahead goal early in the third period. He let out a huge fist pump as the play had to be massive for his psyche.

The 2014 first-round pick was arguably the Flyers' best defenseman in 2018-19 and didn't just forget how to skate. Sanheim will be fine but his confidence is worth monitoring (see story).

• Ivan Provorov replaced a struggling Shayne Gostisbehere on the Flyers' first-unit power play and wasted no time delivering during the first period. He pinballed a shot through traffic to erase the Maple Leafs' 1-0 lead and salvage the opening frame for the Flyers, who were toyed with by Toronto's speed and pressure. He tacked on a power play assist in the second period.

 

Provorov will put a stranglehold on that role if he continues to produce. Thirteen games into 2019-20, the 22-year-old already has a new career high in man advantage points with six (two goals, four assists). As Gostisbehere still tries to find his game, Provorov might have the first-unit quarterback spot until he shows he doesn't deserve it.

• Couturier took 10 faceoffs and won four of them after losing his only three draws Friday night. He's not 100 percent healthy but good enough to play — and help — right now.

The Flyers have 16 games this month, so it's a tough stretch. He's gutting it out and any day off will be vital.

• After allowing six goals through two periods against the Penguins, Brian Elliott was fine with 23 saves. He gave the Flyers a chance in the crazy shootout.

• The Flyers are off Sunday, practice at 11:30 a.m. Monday in Voorhees, New Jersey, and host the Hurricanes Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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