Flyers 3, Maple Leafs 2

At a time when questionable hits have dominated discussion

around the NHL, Mike Komisarek put the Toronto Maple Leafs in a

difficult position with one of his own.

The defenseman was ejected early in Toronto’s game Thursday

night for shoving Philadelphia’s Daniel Carcillo into the boards

from behind and the Maple Leafs never totally recovered. The Flyers

scored on the ensuing power play and led the rest of the way in a

3-2 victory.

Even though Komisarek’s hit wasn’t as egregious as others that

have drawn headlines recently, the Maple Leafs thought referees

Mike Leggo and Brian Pochmara made the correct call on the


”It’s a 5-minute major – he cross-checked him in the lower back

from behind in a vulnerable position,” Toronto coach Ron Wilson

said. ”Whether the guy’s acting or not, he did kind of a wishbone

into the boards. We would expect the same thing in return.”

Carcillo briefly went to the visiting dressing room for some

treatment before returning to the bench. He would have preferred

Komisarek wasn’t thrown out of the game.

”I kind of would have liked to see him stay on the ice, to do

something about it,” Carcillo said. ”But I’ll have to wait until

next year.”

With a third loss in three games, the Maple Leafs are in danger

of having to wait until next year for another crack at the

playoffs. They’re six points behind the Rangers and Buffalo – 4-3

overtime winners in Boston – heading into a pivotal Saturday night

matchup with the Sabres at Air Canada Centre.

The players are trying to hold out hope.

”I guess this just makes Saturday’s game all the more

important,” forward Joffrey Lupul said. ”There’s a lot of games

left but this is basically as close to a must win as you can


The Eastern Conference-leading Flyers managed to play a

tight-checking game despite missing top defenseman Chris Pronger

because of an upper-body injury.

Andrej Meszaros, Darroll Powe and Claude Giroux scored for

Philadelphia, which won back-to-back games for the first time in

three weeks.

”The last month, we haven’t been playing the way we should,”

Giroux said. ”I think tonight we played a 60-minute game and guys

were playing together and the puck was moving and we had fun doing


Mikhail Grabovski and Lupul replied for the Maple Leafs.

Toronto found itself playing from behind all evening. Not only

was Komisarek’s ejection costly because it allowed Meszaros to open

the scoring, but it also forced Wilson to rely more heavily on his

other blue-liners.

”Well you’re down to five (defensemen) with 56 minutes left out

of 60,” said Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, who played a game-high

29:35. ”It’s not good when you lose a D-man that early. It’s part

of the game and I though we adapted OK.”

James Reimer finished with 30 saves but was left kicking himself

for Philadelphia’s second goal. He was trying to get up off the ice

when Powe swept a shot from an awkward angle through his legs at

9:36 of the second period.

”We lost by one goal,” Reimer said. ”If I don’t make that

mistake we’re in overtime.”

Grabovski gave Toronto a brief shot of life with the most

painful of his 26 goals this season. He was standing at the side of

the goal when Phaneuf’s point shot ricocheted off his visor and

past Brian Boucher at 11:13.

”Thank God he’s wearing a shield, which everybody should be

wearing for that very reason right there,” Wilson said. ”He’d

have gotten the puck right in the forehead.”

It was the Leafs’ first power-play goal in six games.

The team pushed hard for the tying goal immediately after that –

Boucher robbed Colby Armstrong with his glove – until Giroux put

the Flyers ahead 3-1 at 14:40. He went to the center of the ice

just as the puck arrived on his stick and beat Reimer.

Energy-line player Mike Brown was an unlikely catalyst for

Toronto in the third period, turning defenseman Sean O’Donnell

inside-out before setting up Lupul’s goal at 7:56. But the team was

unable to get another puck past Boucher.

”We played hard, but we didn’t play hard enough,” Phaneuf

said. ”It’s a disappointing loss, that’s for sure.”

NOTES: Since dealing Kris Versteeg to the Flyers on Feb. 14,

Toronto has gone 6-2-4. … Jay Rosehill and Jonas Gustavsson were

healthy scratches for Toronto. Andreas Nodl and Nikolay Zherdev sat

out for the Flyers.