In a thrilling and often nerve-wracking game at Scotiabank Arena, the Leafs overcame a 5-2 deficit to squeak past the Philadelphia Flyers 7-6 on Friday night. Toronto used a bit of the luck of the Irish in their annual St. Patrick’s game, commemorating the franchise’s nickname that was used between 1918 and 1927.

The Good

  • Auston Matthews had a pair of third period goals to help lead his team to victory. It was Matthew’s ninth multi-goal game of the year, raising his season total to 34.
  • Matthews’s first goal – the Leafs’ sixth – was created by a fantastic rush by William Nylander into the Flyers’ zone, and punctuated with an assist from behind the net.
  • Babcock on the chemistry between Nylander and Matthews: “When we talk about chemistry, the biggest part about chemistry is Willy is competing and working and skating and getting pucks. He made an unbelievable play on that one goal, on one leg, winning a battle, making a play. That’s what’s happened. When we put him there before, whether it was his conditioning, whether it was his timing… it’s a hard league and he wasn’t ready. And now it looks like he’s ready.”
  • Jake Muzzin started the Leafs’ rally with a pair of second period goals.
  • Zach Hyman finished a tic-tac-toe passing play with Mitch Marner, who breezed past the Flyers defenders on a zone entry in the second period.
  • Patrick Marleau had a goal, and played in his 777th consecutive game, moving him past Craig Ramsay on the NHL’s all-time longest iron man streaks.
  • Martin Marincin also scored for Toronto.

The Bad

  • After a (rinse, repeat) slow start for the third home game in a row, the Leafs were fortunate to get two points. Credit is due for their comeback, but their defensive play, particularly after lost faceoff in their own end, could have just as easily cost them the game.
  • On Wednesday, this section of the recap griped about the Rielly-Hainsey pairing. The duo either didn’t read this column (understandably), or simply didn’t execute. Either way, both defenders were caught puck-watching as Claude Giroux drew their attention behind the Leafs goal, leaving an uncovered James van Riemsdyk to receive an eventual centring pass for a goal.
  • Matthews thought he had a goal in the first period, but it was waved off after a video replay determined that the net was dislodged. The call was correct. But, after Chicago’s Colin Delia ‘accidentally, on purpose’ knocked the net off the moorings two nights prior, how is it the the posts – at the same end of the ice – are coming off so easily?
  • Indeed it was a fundamentally unsound, albeit entertaining, game played by both sides.

The Ugly

  • Yes, you all know what’s coming. Freddie. Leafs fans all agree that Frederik Andersen has bailed his team out on many occasions. But his play during the three-game homestand has been dreadful. He might be forgiven for Jakub Voracek’s first goal of the game, off a set faceoff play, after which the whole Leafs team looked stunned. But when Radko Gudas beat Andersen in the second period from the top of the circle to make the score 4-2, viewers knew that the long night between the pipes was going to extend further.
  • The goal by Shayne Gostisbehere, the Flyers’ fifth, prompted this observation:

  • Andersen’s save percentage over the past three games is an alarmingly-low .775% (14 goals, 62 shots).
  • Even without analyzing the scoring plays, Andersen fumbled the puck not once, but twice, in the third period. He looked nervous, and so was the sellout crowd in the building.

Rob Del Mundo is the author of Off The Post, and is a regular columnist at

In 2019, Rob co-wrote with Evan Gubernick “Hockey Addict’s Guide: Toronto”, now available at Chapters and Indigo stores everywhere.

(thanks @MikeInBuffalo for the shout-out!)