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Flyers erupt for 5 late goals, are NHL's best since Nov. 1 (but lose Michael Raffl to injury)

Flyers erupt for 5 late goals, are NHL's best since Nov. 1 (but lose Michael Raffl to injury)

Updated: 10:07 p.m.

BOX SCORE

After an NHL-best November, the Flyers picked up their season-best fifth straight win to kick off December with a 6-1 decision Tuesday night over the Maple Leafs at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers turned a defensive game into a laugher with five goals over the final 10 minutes of regulation. Claude Giroux scored the game-winner midway through the final frame before Travis Konecny, Joel Farabee, Shayne Gostisbehere and James van Riemsdyk followed suit (see highlights).

The Flyers (16-7-5) have allowed only 1.60 goals per game during their winning streak. Since Nov. 1, they are 11-2-4 with 26 points and a plus-15 goal differential. No NHL team has more points over that stretch.

The Maple Leafs (13-12-4), a top-10 goal-scoring club, had won four of their previous five games since firing head coach Mike Babcock.

• Great response from the Flyers after Carter Hart allowed a flukey game-tying goal in the third period.

Philippe Myers and Konecny made great plays to set up Giroux's goal. The floodgates then opened.

Konecny has 17 assists and will shatter his career high of 25 set last season. Myers added another assist to spring Konecny as the Flyers put the game on ice with a 3-1 lead that ballooned even more.

• Hart, who went 6-2-2 with a 1.94 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in November, converted 27 stops.

Hart delivered a huge first period in which he made 15 saves as the Maple Leafs looked faster and more dangerous.

Amazing what consistent goaltending can do for a team. The Flyers have gotten it from Hart and Brian Elliott thus far.

• Fourth-line center Michael Raffl was not on the bench during the third period, playing just six minutes overall. After the game, head coach Alain Vigneault said Raffl suffered a broken right pinkie finger and is expected to miss around a month (see story).

The 31-year-old is one of the Flyers' better puck possession and penalty kill forwards.

• More and more, Kevin Hayes is starting to show how he can dominate a shift with his size.

The big-bodied puck protection is an area in which the 6-foot-5 center excels and he put it on display to create the game-opening goal in the second period.

Scott Laughton, who finished the play, has three goals in the last four games.

The Flyers are 9-2-1 when Hayes records a point. He has seven points (four goals, three assists) and a plus-5 rating over the past eight games.

• Competition is hot between Myers, Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg, who are in a rotation for playing time.

Myers was excellent with three assists and a plus-3 mark.

Gostisbehere was as noticeable and active as he's been this season. His elusiveness drew a penalty during the second period, giving the Flyers their first power play opportunity. The Flyers went on the man advantage again not long after as they controlled the final eight minutes of the middle stanza while holding a 1-0 lead.

If Gostisbehere (one goal, one assist, plus-3) can make that type of impact consistently, he'll take himself out of that rotation. The same goes for Myers.

• The Flyers continue their three-game homestand Thursday when they host the Coyotes (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

 

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Flyers vs. Maple Leafs: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Maple Leafs: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

On Tuesday night, the calendar officially turns for the Flyers following a franchise-record-tying November.

Now with the sixth-most points in the NHL, the Flyers (15-7-5) welcome the Maple Leafs (13-11-4) to kick off December.

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• Once Shayne Gostisbehere returned to the lineup on Black Friday following three straight healthy scratches, it became clear that competition was brewing on the Flyers' blue line.

Until someone seizes hold of the final spots among the three defensive pairs, the Flyers will rotate Gostisbehere, Philippe Myers and Robert Hagg, depending on the team's specific matchup each game.

Against the Maple Leafs, Hagg will sit for the second game in a row. He has played 16 games this season, working his way into the picture recently.

We’ve got seven healthy Ds at this time and there’s probably going to be a rotation there.

We have decisions to make that we feel are in the team’s benefit. They’re not easy, it’s never fun to tell a player that he’s not playing, but we’ve got to look at the overall situations and do what’s best for the team.

Haggs sat there for a bit and I thought that was a little unfair. He had been playing well, but when we made that change, it was tough taking somebody else out of the lineup. This last time, between the coaches and [general manager Chuck Fletcher], we talked about if all is equal and we’ve got seven healthy bodies, to maybe have a rotation with that last pair.

- Vigneault on Monday

• The Flyers are eyeing a season-best fifth straight win. During their current four-game winning streak, the Flyers are allowing 1.75 goals per game.

Vigneault's club didn't just have the NHL's best month of November. Since Oct. 21, the Flyers are 13-4-4 with 30 points. Only the Blues (33) and Bruins (31) have more points in that span.

• The Maple Leafs have won four of five games since the firing of Mike Babcock as head coach. Toronto is scoring 3.29 goals per game this season and allowing 3.21.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Morgan Frost-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
James van Riemsdyk-Michael Raffl-Tyler Pitlick

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun
Philippe Myers-Shayne Gostisbehere

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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Flyers are rolling into Boston after massive shootout win over Maple Leafs

Flyers are rolling into Boston after massive shootout win over Maple Leafs

BOX SCORE

The Flyers and Maple Leafs needed 11 rounds in the shootout to decide last Saturday's game.

This time, three rounds were enough and the Flyers came out on the winning end to earn a massive 3-2 victory Saturday night over Toronto at Scotiabank Arena.

Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier scored in the skills competition with highlight-reel tallies.

 

The Flyers (9-5-2) extended their season-best point streak to five games. They are 7-2-1 with 15 points since Oct. 21. The defending champion Blues are the only NHL team with more points (16) over that stretch.

The Maple Leafs (9-5-4) had a three-game winning streak snapped.

• Big-time win for the Flyers, who played a strong game from start to finish. They were 2-4-1 on the road entering tonight and needed this one. Their confidence should be at a season high heading into Boston.

• Travis Konecny and Oskar Lindblom have been a treat to watch all season so far.

Off a feed from Konecny, Lindblom scored a James van Riemsdyk-type of power play marker in the first period, giving him eight goals over 16 games. Last season, he had eight goals through 57 games.

Konecny and Lindblom have thrived under head coach Alain Vigneault — give all three of them credit for this start.

"I didn’t know much about Oskar before coming here, but what I’ve found is a real smart, two-way player, hard-working young man," Vigneault said on Oct. 26. "He’s got a good hockey sense to play that 200-foot game and he’s got a real good skill level.

"We’ve got him playing 5-on-5 on Coots' line, which has been our most consistent, he’s playing penalty killing with Coots, and he’s playing the power play. He’s become a real important player on our team.”

 

• After looking like the Flyers' best player in Thursday night's 3-2 OT win over the Canadiens, Philippe Myers kept it up Saturday night.

The defenseman opened the scoring for the second straight game with a first-period goal. Joel Farabee, 19 years old, started the rush and Myers, 22 years old, finished it.

Myers had one goal and two points in 21 games last season. He has already topped those totals through five games this season with two goals and three points.

We're seeing why general manager Chuck Fletcher was "bullish" on Myers this summer. He has been impressive in all areas.

 

• The Flyers' penalty kill went 3 for 3.

The PK had allowed 18 goals through 16 games last season. This season, the Flyers have allowed only seven power play goals in 16 games.

Assistant coach Mike Yeo has been key in those efforts. So, too, have the additions of Kevin Hayes, Matt Niskanen, Tyler Pitlick and Justin Braun.

• Brian Elliott gave the Flyers a great chance to win a tough road game. He was strong in overtime and finished with 38 saves.

• Shayne Gostisbehere has quietly looked better and better on the power play. Ivan Provorov has had a rough few games handling the puck on the first unit. Maybe the Flyers make a switch Sunday, moving Gostisbehere back to the No. 1 power play.

• Farabee had an assist and Saturday night marked his 10th game with the Flyers, which is notable.

• Andy Andreoff played well in his Flyers debut. He was noticeable and active on the fourth line, which was one of the Flyers' best Saturday night. His weekend is off to a good start and it will have a say in how long he sticks with the Flyers.

• The Flyers are right back at it Sunday when they visit Boston to play the Bruins (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP), who are 11-3-2 and 7-0-1 at home.

This season, the Flyers are 0-2-1 in the second game of back-to-back sets.

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