Defense has been somewhat of an issue for the Flyers this season. It helps explain the addition of Andrew MacDonald to the Philadelphia blue line last week.
However last night in Toronto, the defensive corps was the only reason the Flyers escaped with a point.
The Maple Leafs jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first period but Kimmo Timonen put the Flyers on his back scoring his third goal of the season on a nice wrist shot late in the second period. The 38-year-old defenseman would add his fourth goal of the year on a beautiful backhand shot over Toronto goaltender Jonathan Bernier’s shoulder.
The Flyers would continue to swarm when Timonen nearly netted a hat trick on another great backhand that beat Bernier but hit the post and bounced out. It would have been his first-career hat trick.
When the Maple Leafs took a 3-2 lead with just over six minutes remaining in the game, it only seemed logical the Flyers turned to their defensemen to generate some offense.
With a shade over two minutes remaining in the game and the Flyers facing a one-goal deficit, Philadelphia cycled the puck around in the Maple Leafs’ zone to find defenseman Braydon Coburn alone at the point. Coburn’s slap shot went through a maze of Leafs and Flyers before ending up in the back of the net to tie the game.
The Flyers forced a 3-3 tie through regulation to earn a point in the standings thanks to their defensemen.
Philadelphia would go on to lose 4-3 when former-Flyer Joffrey Lupul netted the game-winner 2:21 into the extra frame.
Taking into account the way the game began for the Flyers and combining that with a group of Philadelphia forwards who were shutout by Bernier, the Flyers were lucky to escape the Air Canada Centre with a point.
It was Timonen’s seventh career two-goal game and his second as a Flyer. The last time Timonen scored twice in a game was way back on December 14th, 2009 against the Boston Bruins.
We all know how that season ended for Philadelphia.