10 Observations: Flyers grab point from Leafs

10 Observations: Flyers grab point from Leafs
March 9, 2014, 12:00 pm
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Steve Mason made 32 saves, this one on former Flyer James van Riemsdyk, in Saturday's 4-3 overtime loss to Toronto. (USA Today Images)

They could have had two points.

They had to settle for one.

And they were fortunate their goaltender got them that point, as well.

Here are 10 things I think from the Flyers' 4-3 overtime loss to the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Saturday:

1. Starts
Steve Mason was a bit shaky in the first 10 minutes of the game in that his rebounds weren't going into the corner, but directly in front of the slot and his defense was unable to find or clear pucks. Mason settled down but the first period was all Toronto coming at him from every angle unimpeded.

2. No panic
Really like that coach Craig Berube didn’t panic and use his timeout when the Flyers fell behind 2-0 in less than four minutes. He let them work it out in their own way and they did.

3. Schedule
A game Tuesday against the Devils, then a home-and-home against Pittsburgh. Eleven of the next 12 games are against teams that held playoff seedings as of Saturday night. After this week, the schedule amps up on the Flyers and they have raise the bar, as well.

4. Comeback
It looked like the Flyers were going to get their 12th comeback win after trailing in the third period when they tied it, 2-2. They simply dominated the overtime, as well. They didn’t get the extra point because they tried to get cutesy in OT instead of simply hammering away at the net with shots on Jonathan Bernier. Do that and they get that comeback win.

5. Open ice
Berube was upset after the game with the first period. There was too much open ice down the middle for the Leafs and that led to four rushes and two goals. You can’t win a game in the first period but as Bill Clement said on Postgame Live, you can certainly lose it. The Flyers’ poor defensive start almost prevented them from earning a point.

6. Follow chances
Through almost two periods the Flyers weren’t getting enough follow chances on Bernier. Initial shots followed a pattern of shot, save, regroup the other way. The second half of the game was all Flyers as they generated chances, rebounds and especially goals.

7. Line changes
The Flyers were slow in line changes at least four times early in the game and Mason made up for it with a save at the other end.

8. Non-goal
Matt Read scored one sitting on his butt in the second period that ultimately was huge in the game. What I didn’t like about the play was the referee farthest from the goal – Dean Morton – whistling the play dead while the senior official - Kevin Pollock - was at the net closer and signaled goal. Morton lost track of the puck. It should have been Pollock’s call and not his.

9. Special teams
The Flyers were 0 for 2 on the power play. They had one in the second period with oodles of chances from Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds but couldn’t get it past Bernier. The Maple Leafs were a very poor 26th in the NHL on the penalty kill entering the game. The Flyers should have taken advantage of that and didn’t.

10. Puck possession
The Flyers owned it in the third with all the momentum and were hard on the puck and forecheck the entire period which allowed them to tie the game and force the overtime. You have to like the Flyers’ Claude Giroux shutting down Phil Kessel, the hottest Leaf, who had no goals and was minus-1 in the game.