TORONTO --Thanks to a two-night feast at the expense of Canada’s pair of Original Six teams, the Flyers have clawed their way to .500 at 17-17-3.
More importantly, thanks to a dose of Schenn-Mania here in Toronto, the Flyers' playoff hopes received a much needed boost.
Led by goals from Brayden and Luke Schenn, the Flyers posted a 5-3 victory over the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on Thursday night. The win came just 24 hours after Philadelphia had defeated the Montreal Canadiens by the same score.
Suddenly, dreams of the postseason coming back to Broad Street don’t seem so far-fetched any more.
After ending a 21-game scoreless streak on Wednesday versus Montreal, Sean Couturier was one of the Flyers' best players against the Leafs.
Couturier assisted on two of the Flyers' goals, including a helper on Philadelphia’s second marker that is worthy of the highlight reels.
Busting down the left side, Couturier delivered a nifty feed perfectly through the legs of Toronto defenseman Carl Gunnarsson onto the stick of Jakub Voracek, who had an easy two-foot putt into the open net for his team-leading 16th goal of the season.
With his team fighting for a playoff spot, Voracek is heating up at just the right time.
A whole lotta Rosie
It didn’t take newly acquired pugilist Jay Rosehill to leave his mark in this, his first game in Flyers' orange and black.
Rosehill, acquired on Monday from the Anaheim Ducks in a deal for Harry Zolnierczyk, dropped the gloves with former Maple Leafs teammate Colton Orr just 11:42 into the game. Rosehill came out ahead in the bout after knocking Orr to the ice, not an easy thing to do to one of the toughest heavyweights in the league.
In an interesting twist, Rosehill often used to spend part of practice alongside fellow tough guy Mike Brown, learning the art of fighting from Orr when all three were members of the Leafs from 2010-12.
But that wasn’t the end of the heroics for Rosehill, who seemed comfortable in his return to his old stomping grounds known as the Air Canada Centre.
At 15:53 of the second period, Rosehill deflected a Couturier shot past Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer to put the Flyers up, 4-2. It was Rosehill’s first goal since Feb. 8, 2011 when he was a member of the Leafs.
Hall of a guy
Another relative newcomer, forward Adam Hall, also made his presence felt on Thursday.
Claimed on waivers by the Flyers just one day earlier, Hall combined with Rosehill to sandwich Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul early in the first period. The play, which was totally clean, caused Lupul to leave the game with an upper-body injury, leaving the Leafs without the services of the player who was named the NHL’s First Star for last week.
Then, in the second period, Hall caused havoc with Reimer, nudging the stick of the Leafs goalie as he skated past him on the play in which Rosehill scored. Reimer complained to the officials that Hall had interfered with him but the referees disagreed, claiming the Toronto goalie had been outside his crease at the time of contact.
Despite the fact that newly acquired goalie Steve Mason was in the house, coach Peter Laviolette opted to go with incumbent Ilya Bryzgalov, who was making his 21st consecutive start.
And, as has been the case so often in the past, it was a combination of Good Ilya and Bad Ilya.
After Simon Gagne put the Flyers up 1-0 just 79 seconds after the opening faceoff, Bryzgalov gave up a huge, juicy rebound into the slot that the Leafs’ Nikolai Kulemin drained to tie the game 1-1. The Flyers goalie appeared as if he was trying to do his best Lionel Messi imitation, judging by the way he kicked the initial shot back into play.
At the same time, down the stretch, Bryzgalov made some huge saves just when the Flyers needed him the most.
Mason, meanwhile, was swarmed by a throng of reporters after the Flyers morning skate at the ACC. A native of Oakville, which is just a 30-minute drive west of downtown Toronto, Mason was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday for goalie Michael Leighton and a third-round pick in 2015.
“I’m not sure what my role is right now,” said Mason, a former Calder Trophy winner as the NHL’s rookie of the year. “I haven’t really been told.
“To me, that’s not my main focus. My job is to come in here and become the goaltender the organization believes I can be, and that’s to be a No. 1 goaltender.
“I’m fully prepared to put the work in and I’m really excited to start doing it.”
The Flyers left right after the game for Winnipeg, where they will face off against the Jets at the MTS Centre. The Flyers are 2-0 against Winnipeg this season, outscoring the Jets 8-5 in the process.