Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Leafs hang on for road win

PHILADELPHIA—The excitement James van Riemsdyk felt about playing his first game in Philadelphia since a trade to Toronto quickly turned to nerves when the Maple Leafs’ winger spent four minutes in the penalty box in the third period.
But his new team survived van Riemsdyk’s late double minor and picked up goals from Phil Kessel, Nikolai Kulemin, Mikhail Grabovski, and Jay McClement (into an empty net) to beat the Flyers 4-2 last night.

Van Riemsdyk, who was drafted with the second overall pick in 2007 by the Flyers and played three seasons with them before being traded in June, was held scoreless in his return to Philadelphia but was happy to get out of town with the win.
“It was one of those cases where the boys did great on the penalty kill,” said van Riemsdyk, who leads Toronto with 11 goals.
“That’s a first for me: two penalties on one shift,” he added. “Hopefully, the last.
“It was an uneasy feeling for me and the team really bailed me out.”
Scott Hartnell, playing his second game since fracturing his foot Jan. 22, scored his first goal of the season for the Flyers.
Jakub Voracek, who brought a five-game scoring streak into the game, assisted on Hartnell’s goal and then scored one of his own on the power play to cut Toronto’s lead to 3-2 late in the third period.
But Toronto goalie Ben Scrivens, who finished with 23 saves, was at his best in the final few minutes to secure the victory.
“We did a really good job of clearing pucks and clearing rebounds in the third,” Scrivens noted.
“The [Flyers] really got into it in the third and made it close, and then their building got into it,” he added.
“We found a way to hang on and we made some smart plays.”
After Toronto opened a 2-0 lead, Hartnell, who enjoyed a breakout season last year with a career-high 37 goals, got the Flyers on the board with two minutes left in the second off an excellent pass from Voracek.
Despite getting his first goal of the season, Hartnell said he felt “a little worse” physically than he did in the last game, and that he “won’t be able to sleep much tonight” because of the loss.
The most frustrating part, he noted, was that the defeat came after such a strong surge to close the contest.
“When we play like we did in the last 10 minutes, I don’t think there’s a team in the league that can play with us,” Hartnell said.
“We’re skating, we’re hitting, we’re beating them to pucks, we’re winning battles,” he noted.
“And that’s something in the first 50 minutes we never did.”
The Leafs took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission after Kessel outhustled Kimmo Timonen to a puck along the boards with 2:41 left and beat Flyers’ goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who made 17 saves, to the far side.
Toronto doubled its lead with just under five minutes left in the second when Nikolai Kulemin was sprung free on a breakaway by Nazem Kadri and backhanded it past Bryzgalov for his second goal of the season.
“It’s been talked about too many times,” Hartnell said. “It’s got to change fast.
“We can’t get down 2-0 every game and expect to win, especially against a team like Toronto,” he stressed.
“They’re playing really well.”
Toronto made it 3-1 with 12:08 left in the game on Grabovski’s sixth goal of the year.
Voracek’s goal came with 8:18 off an assist from Timonen, slicing the Flyers’ deficit to 3-2.
But McClement iced the victory with an empty-netter in the final seconds.
“It’s a challenge here but we did enough to get a win,” said van Riemsdyk. “We were all in, we all went in the right direction, we all pulled the rope.
“There were no passengers and that’s what we needed,” he added.
“We got off to a good start and that was the key.”
Elsewhere in the NHL, Ottawa nipped Montreal 2-1 (SO), Chicago edged Edmonton 3-2 (OT), Nashville topped Dallas 5-4, and L.A. beat Anaheim 5-2.

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