TORONTO – In arguably the biggest game between the Flyers and Maple Leafs in the last 13 seasons, the Flyers came up short.
Michal Neuvirth was beaten three times in the circles as the Flyers lost, 4-2, on Thursday night at Air Canada Centre in a game with huge playoff implications.
The Flyers (70 points) could have tied the Leafs, but now trail them by four (74) as both teams battle for a wild card.
Toronto showed a lot more desperation than the Flyers in the third period when the Leafs led, 2-1.
Neuvirth got the nod with considerably better lifetime numbers against Toronto even though Steve Mason was on a 3-0-1 run with 1.45 goals-against average and .954 save percentage.
Shayne Gostisbehere's goal with 2:28 left made it 3-2 with six attackers. The Flyers pressured again and had their chances before the Leafs scored on an empty-net tally.
Tyler Bozak stripped Sean Couturier for a shot and goal from the circle in the second period to break a 1-1 tie.
How about Leafs center Zach Hyman's block on Jakub Voracek's open-net shot late in the first period? Best save of the game.
Neuvirth had not started since losing the outdoor game in Pittsburgh on Feb. 25. Neuvirth got lucky in the second period when Connor Brown's shot in the paint went off the crossbar.
The Flyers broke an 0-for-14 skid over their previous three-plus games on Wayne Simmonds' 14th PP goal of they year barely six minutes into the game. It was excellent, quick passing. Gostisbehere shot it before Simmonds tipped it and then put the rebound back in just in case. Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen had a huge stop on Claude Giroux's one-timer on the Flyers' second power play. The Flyers were 1 for 3 on the power play in the game.
There wasn't much Neuvirth could have done on William Nylander's incredible snap-wrister from the right circle. That goal was Nylander's ninth on the power play, tying a rookie record. Mitch Marner clinched it with a shot from the circle late. The Leafs were 2 for 2 on the PP.
Forwards Michael Raffl (knee), Dale Weise (healthy) and Roman Lyubimov (healthy) and defenseman Nick Schultz (healthy).
The Flyers will practice Friday afternoon in Boston and meet the Bruins on Saturday afternoon.