The Maple Leafs dropped a 2-1 decision at Wells Fargo Center to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, ending their franchise-record streak of eleven straight road games with at least a point.
Both teams were coming off road victories – via the shutout – the previous night. The weariness on both rosters was evident as the game plodded into a chess match. A late third period goal by rookie Roman Lyubimov held up as the game-winner, and mercifully saved the spectators from an overtime session, although the result cost the Leafs at least a point in the standings.
Toronto had gone 9-0-2 in their previous eleven games away from Air Canada Centre dating back to November 30.
Scarborough native Wayne Simmonds opened the scoring versus his home city on a breakaway, beating netminder Curtis McElhinney for his 21st goal of the season.
The Leafs got the equalizer in the middle frame. William Nylander was able to bury a rebound through a maze of players to collect his 10th goal of the year, becoming the fourth Toronto rookie to hit the double-digit mark in goals in 2016-17. The franchise feat was last accomplished 64 years ago.
As the clock clicked towards the end of regulation, Toronto got pinned in their own zone and Lyubimov found a loose rebound in the slot to lead the Flyers to victory.
Altogether, McElhinney made 32 saves in a steady performance.
The Leafs now have four days off heading into the NHL All-Star break, and resume play on January 31 in Dallas.