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Feb 14, 2024 6:11 pm

Leafs try to ride strong ‘D’ against visiting Flyers

konecny

The Toronto Maple Leafs showed that they can play a solid team game Tuesday and will try to do it again Thursday night against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.

The Maple Leafs held the St. Louis Blues to 15 shots on goal Tuesday and had a hat trick from an unexpected source, Bobby McMann, in a 4-1 victory.

McMann was playing only because forwards John Tavares and Mitchell Marner were scratched because of illness. Defenseman Morgan Rielly also started his five-game suspension handed out Tuesday for cross-checking an Ottawa Senators player in the head in a 5-3 loss on Saturday.

“I thought the guys played well,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “Played a pretty simple game, which was required especially once we got the lead. We needed guys to step up in different ways. I thought we got a lot of great efforts tonight, and then Bobby (McMann), two huge goals for us and a cool empty netter to finish it off. Terrific end to kind of a strange day for us quite honestly with our lineup uncertainty.”

Keefe added that McCann didn’t know for sure he was going to play until he arrived at the arena.

“I basically anticipated that I was going to be out tonight based on the lineup at practice (on Monday),” McMann said. “But still tried to take care of business, take care of the body. You never know when you are going to be called upon.

“I felt like I was ready this morning, and Keefe let me know some guys were sick and I would likely be playing, so at that point I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to go through my regular routine,’ and did just that.”

The Blues had won seven of their previous eight games before losing in Toronto.

Consistency has been a problem for the Maple Leafs and they face another test against the Flyers, who have won four in a row.

The Flyers overcame a 3-2 deficit after two periods to defeat the visiting Arizona Coyotes 5-3 Monday.

Flyers coach John Tortorella was confident that his team could come back in the game and told that to the players before the third period.

“I don’t think we were playing that bad,” Tortorella said. “We weren’t great, but I still thought we were generating enough. I still thought our energy was good. I just felt that we just stayed with it and not get anxious about it and give up more by being too anxious, that we’d find our way.”

Flyers forward Travis Konecny had a goal and two assists Monday and is on a four-game scoring streak (three goals, four assists).

“It wasn’t our best game,” Konecny said. “We just found a way to win, and that’s what we’re learning. That’s a good thing for our group, is just finding ways no matter how the game is going, you just keep yourself in it and give yourself a chance.”

The Flyers’ power play continued to struggle, going 0-for-7 on Monday.

“Definitely is frustrating,” said Flyers forward Morgan Frost, who scored a goal Monday. “You want to score on the power play and it (stinks), but I think over the last little while we’ve been kind of growing a foundation.”

–Field Level Media

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