Johnsson has 1st-period hat trick, Maple Leafs rout Flyers
TORONTO (AP) — Andreas Johnsson was down on himself earlier this season for his lack of finish around the net. That wasn’t a problem Saturday night.
“That’s how hockey is,” said Johnsson, who entered with two goals in 18 games after scoring twice in nine appearances as a rookie. “Sometimes you miss all your chances, sometimes you score. Everything went in.”
John Tavares, Patrick Marleau and Josh Leivo also scored, and backup goalie Garret Sparks made 35 saves for his first shutout of the season and the second of his career. Mitch Marner added two assists.
“(Johnsson) and Sparky led the way today,” Tavares said. “Got off to a hell of a start.”
Neither team was assessed a penalty for the second consecutive game at Scotiabank Arena. The NHL’s last penalty-free game before this week came in March 2017.
Calvin Pickard, who was claimed by the Flyers on waivers from Toronto before the start of the season, allowed four goals on six shots for Philadelphia (10-11-2) before being pulled. Anthony Stolarz allowed two goals on 34 shots in relief.
“We’ve got to own it,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “We’ve got to own it as a group.”
Coming off back-to-back road losses, including a 4-2 decision at Columbus on Friday night, the Leafs built a 4-0 lead after just 12:20 thanks in large part to the first hat trick of Johnsson’s career.
The speedy winger got things going at 4:45 when he faked a slap shot off the rush before sliding the puck between Pickard’s pads for his third goal of the season. Johnsson made it 2-0 just 1:34 later when he blocked a point shot from defenseman Christian Folin and raced in alone and beat Pickard through the five-hole for a second time.
Marleau got in on the action at 7:44 when he fired his fifth into an open net off a scramble after a poor Philadelphia clearing attempt. A teammate of Pickard’s with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League last season, Johnsson completed his hat trick — the 24-year-old had just four goals in 27 career NHL games before Saturday — on another shot between the pads from in tight after stealing the puck from a Flyers defender.
That ended the night for Pickard, who was coming off a 31-save shutout in Philadelphia’s 4-0 victory over the New York Rangers on Friday afternoon that snapped the Flyers’ four-game skid (0-3-1).
NOTES: Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk returned to face the Leafs for the first time. He played six seasons in blue and white before signing a five-year, $35 million contract with Philadelphia on July 1. He was honored with a first-period video tribute. … Johnsson is the eighth Leafs player to score a first-period hat trick and the first since Wendel Clark on Oct. 11, 1986.
Flyers: Host Ottawa on Tuesday night.
Maple Leafs: Host Boston on Monday night.