Matt Hunwick scores in closing seconds to lead Maple Leafs past Flyers
PHILADELPHIA – Matt Hunwick’s slapper with 7.5 seconds left lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
Hunwick’s first goal of the season snapped Toronto’s five-game losing streak.
Joffrey Lupul and Roman Polak also scored for the Maple Leafs.
Matt Read and Shayne Gostisbehere scored the Flyers, who lost for just the second time in seven games and failed to crack the Eastern Conference playoff standings.
James Reimer stopped 31 shots for Toronto.
The Flyers had won five of six entering Tuesday and thrust themselves into the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Based on results from other games, the Flyers had a chance to sit in eighth place in the East. While a modest achievement for late January, it would have been a nice step for a Flyers team that missed the playoffs last season and whose coach, Dave Hakstol, never coached in the NHL and made the jump from college.
The Flyers instead left two huge points on the ice and trudged to the locker room to boos from the crowd.
Hunwick’s shot appeared to hit off defenceman Michael Del Zotto and past a surprised Steve Mason. Mason stopped 32 shots.
The Maple Leafs entered with the fewest wins in the NHL and had a punchless offence over their recent losing skid. They led 2-1 until Gostisbehere came through for the Flyers late in the third.
Gostisbehere picked off a pass deep in the zone right above the circles, streaked the length of the ice and buried the puck through Reimer’s legs for an amazing goal that tied it 2-all.
Gostisbehere, a rookie defenceman, has been sensational at times since the Flyers called him up from the AHL in November. He’s been a key piece in Philadelphia’s turnaround that has the Flyers thinking of the post-season instead another year sitting out the playoffs.
The Maple Leafs appeared to go up 2-1 early in the second when they scored off a Flyers’ turnover. But the goal was reviewed and overturned on an offsides penalty against the Maple Leafs.
They wasted little time taking the lead again, and this time it stuck. With 4:50 left in the period, Lupul, a former Flyer, made it 2-1 with his 10th goal of the season and first since Dec. 21.
Both teams scored a goal in the first.
Read scored his seventh of the season when he flipped the puck past Reimer with 6 seconds left on a power play. Mason, who has been fantastic in stretches this season, lost track of a shot late in the first and Polak poked in the puck for his first goal of the season.
Notes: The Maple Leafs had scored one goal three times, were shutout and only scored two goals one time over their previous five games. … Flyers C Jordan Weal was a healthy scratch for the sixth straight game since he joined the team in a Jan. 6 trade.
© 2016 The Canadian Press