Couturier scores late tiebreaking goal, lifts Flyers over Maple Leafs

Sean Couturier scored the tiebreaking goal with 2:55 left and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory.

Couturier and Claude Giroux each had a goal and an assist, and Travis Konecny also scored as Philadelphia snapped a six-game home losing streak. Scott Laughton added an empty-netter, and Brian Elliott made 20 saves.

Patrick Marleau and James van Riemsdyk scored for the Maple Leafs, whose three-game winning streak was snapped in the opener of a three-game road trip.

The Maple Leafs played without star centre Auston Matthews (upper body) for the second consecutive game. Matthews was injured late in the third period of Saturday’s win over Pittsburgh when he collided with teammate Morgan Rielly and is day to day. Toronto dropped to 5-1 without him.

Couturier’s 15th goal of the season gave Philadelphia a 3-2 lead. Giroux set it up with a between-the-legs pass from the boards that Couturier corralled and shot over goalie Frederik Andersen’s left shoulder.

Konecny’s shot 5:36 into the third tied it at 2. Konecny blocked Andersen’s clearing attempt, keeping the puck in the Toronto zone, and wheeled around at the blue line with a wrist shot that first hit the stick of the Maple Leafs’ Dominic Moore before deflecting over Andersen.

The Flyers opened a five-game homestand with their first victory on home ice since Nov. 9 against Chicago. Philadelphia had won three in a row – all on the road – to stop a 10-game skid, quieting calls for coach Dave Hakstol to be fired.

It looked as though the Flyers were going to return to their losing ways at home when van Riemsdyk put the Maple Leafs ahead with 3:10 left in the second period with a power-play goal that made it 2-1. After Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek went off for tripping, van Riemsdyk netted his 15th of the season after deflecting Rielly’s wrist shot from the point.

Giroux opened the scoring with a slap shot that beat Andersen at 9:21 of the first. Couturier set up the goal by winning a faceoff, and Giroux unleashed a hard one-timer to Andersen’s blocker side.

Toronto tied it 27 seconds later when Marleau’s wrist shot from a sharp angle went off Elliott’s arm. It was the 1,100th point of Marleau’s career.

NOTES: Andersen finished with 35 saves. … Flyers D Radko Gudas returned from a 10-game suspension for slashing Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perreault on Nov. 16. . Philadelphia improved to 5-10 at home. . Following this road trip, Toronto hosts Carolina on Dec. 19 before playing the next five on the road. The Maple Leafs then will return home Jan. 2 for the start of a six-game homestand. . Matthews has 13 goals and 13 assists.


Maple Leafs: At the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.

Flyers: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail