Flyers stabilize with start-to-finish win over Maple Leafs

Flyers stabilize with start-to-finish win over Maple Leafs originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Samuel Ersson and the Flyers stemmed the tide Tuesday night with a 4-3 win over the Maple Leafs at the Wells Fargo Center.

Scott Laughton scored a massive goal to put a dent into Toronto‘s third-period comeback bid. The Flyers had just killed off Laughton’s hooking penalty and were trying to fend off a dangerous Maple Leafs team that had already struck twice in the final stanza.

The Flyers led 19 seconds into the game, thanks to Owen Tippett, and took a 3-0 lead into second intermission.

Ersson, who lasted only one period against Toronto last week in the same building, gave the Flyers what they needed Tuesday night.

“We’ve just got to find a way to push forward and push through that barrier right now in order to grind out some points,” assistant coach Rocky Thompson said at morning skate.

The Flyers did so without their captain Sean Couturier, who was a healthy scratch. More on his benching here.

Travis Sanheim and Morgan Frost also scored goals for the Flyers (35-26-8).

John Tortorella’s club needed this one. It had lost three of its last four games, a stretch in which it allowed 21 goals.

The Flyers are still in third place of the Metropolitan Division, a spot they’ve held since the end of January. They’re three points up on the Capitals and five ahead of the Islanders.

Through this gauntlet of a seven-game stretch, the Flyers are 1-2-0. They’ve got matchups with the Hurricanes, Bruins, Panthers and Rangers still remaining.

The Flyers went with 1-1-1 against the Maple Leafs (38-20-9) in their three-game regular-season series. Prior to this win, the Flyers were 0-7-1 in their last eight matchups with Toronto.

• Five days after the Maple Leafs chased him 20 minutes into the game, Ersson got another crack at Toronto and was significantly better.

The 24-year-old rookie is going to have some bumps, but how he responds will be just as an important to the Flyers.

So far, he has responded really well to rough outings.

With the Flyers up 2-0 in the second period, Ersson made a huge save on a Bobby McMann shorthanded breakaway.

The Maple Leafs trimmed the Flyers’ lead to 3-1 with a power play goal from William Nylander 1:11 minutes into the third period.

Tyler Bertuzzi made it 3-2 midway through the frame but Laughton answered not even two minutes later.

After John Tavares got Toronto back to within one, the Flyers were able to nail things down.

Ersson recorded 27 saves for the victory. He got some love from his posts. He’ll take it.

The Flyers blocked 36 shots. Egor Zamula led the way with seven.

Ilya Samsonov stopped 24 of the Flyers’ 28 shots. The Flyers got him from distance on their first three goals. To their credit, they screened Samsonov plenty and consistently put pucks toward the net.

• A quick word at the start of warmups was all Nicolas Deslauriers and Ryan Reaves needed to line up an early fight.

The two heavyweights dropped the gloves near center ice only 4:53 minutes into the action. It was a good bout.

Jamie Drysdale and Rasmus Ristolainen, both week to week with upper-body injuries, rehab skated Tuesday morning.

The Flyers have been precariously thin on the back end. Already without Drysdale and Ristolainen, the club lost its second defensive pair about two weeks ago when Sean Walker was traded to the Avalanche and Nick Seeler was placed on injured reserve.

Seeler is also considered week to week with an injury to the area of his left ankle and foot.

On Monday, the Flyers recalled rookie Adam Ginning. He entered the lineup Tuesday for Marc Staal and was paired with fellow rookie Ronnie Attard.

The Flyers, as expected, primarily rode their top pair of Sanheim and Cam York.

Sanheim’s goal came 56 seconds into the second period and cushioned the Flyers’ lead to 2-0. He finished as a plus-2.

York continues to embrace having more on his plate. He had an assist and a plus-1 mark. The 23-year-old defenseman has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) over the last 11 games.

“The six we put out there, they’re going to get more time,” Tortorella said Monday. “Sanny and Yorky are going to play a lot. But there’s going to be more minutes to divvy up. It just gives other guys opportunity.

“When you have the injuries and the trading of Walks and the whole situation back there, it gives guys opportunities.”

Jamie Drysdale and Rasmus Ristolainen rehab skating with skills coach Angelo Ricci.

Both have been week to week with upper-body injuries.

— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) March 19, 2024

• The Flyers head to Raleigh, North Carolina for a matchup Thursday with the second-place Hurricanes (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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