The Maple Leafs overcame an atrocious start to their Saturday night matchup against Philadelphia, eventually losing 5-4 in overtime.
The last half of the first period and opening minute of the second was a stretch that coach Mike Babcock said was “the worst 13 minutes I’ve seen in a long time from a competitive standpoint.”
After Shawn Matthas opened the scoring just 1:29 into the game, Philadelphia reeled off three straight goals. The back-breaker was Brayden Schenn’s tally at the 57-second mark of the second period. Starting goalie Jonathan Bernier, having surrendered three goals on just 13 shots, was pulled in favour of James Reimer.
The move seemed to spark the Leafs. Nick Spaling broke a personal 60-game goal drought with his first marker of the year, just passed the midway mark of regulation.
In the third period, Nazem Kadri dazzled the hometown fans at Air Canada Centre with a superb rush that finished with a setup to Peter Holland for the tying goal.
Bryon Froese gave Toronto a brief lead before Matt Read knotted the affair just 32 seconds later.
The scene was set heroics of Flyers rookie defenceman Shayne Gostisbehere. Having been held off the scoresheet for the entire game, Gostisbehere streaked down the left wing and converted a pass from Jakub Voracek for the winning goal in extra session. The goal – the blueliner’s fourth overtime marker of the season – extended Gostisbehere’s point streak to 15 games.
“It’s just good to see our team battle through adversity and get two points,” Gostisbehere said.