Flyer rookie nets OT winner to beat Maple Leafs, extend scoring streak
TORONTO — Shayne Gostisbehere continued his remarkable scoring run and gave the Philadelphia Flyers a much-needed win.
Gostisbehere scored 29 seconds into overtime, extending his points streak to 15 games, and the Flyers edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on Saturday night.
Gostisbehere is the first rookie to have four overtime goals in a season and his points streak is the longest by a defenseman since Chris Chelios in 1995-96, who had 20 points in 15 games.
Gostisbehere already had the longest rookie scoring streak in Flyers history.
"He’s unbelievable," Brayden Schenn said of Gostisbehere.
"He’s extremely confident. He always wants the puck out there. On the 3-on-2s he’s always yelling for the puck. He wants it on his stick and that’s good. Fifteen games with a point, it’s absolutely incredible what he’s doing right now. It’s nice to see him get one."
Sam Gagner and Jakub Voracek scored 39 seconds apart in the first period for the Flyers. Brayden Schenn and Matt Read also scored for the Flyers, who are in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Nick Spaling snapped a 60-game drought and Byron Froese scored for the first time in two months for Toronto, his second goal of the season. Shawn Matthias, who was returning from a five-game absence because of whiplash, and Peter Holland also scored for Toronto.
Toronto has lost 15 of its past 19 games.
"If you don’t do your job someone else is getting (it)," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "That’s just the way it is. That’s the way life is. It’s hard. In some jobs they don’t report it in the paper, in our job they report it in the paper."
The Flyers won for just the third time in their past nine games.
Making his second straight start, Jonathan Bernier gave up three goals on 13 shots in Toronto’s net and was replaced by James Reimer 57 seconds into the second period.
Bernier has not registered a victory since Jan. 6, a string of seven starts.
"I wasn’t good enough," Bernier said. "I didn’t make the big saves."
Steve Mason started for the Flyers, but he was replaced by Michal Neuvirth because of an apparent injury. Mason left the ice gingerly shortly after yielding the third Leafs goal to Holland.
Neuvirth gave up one goal on 10 shots in relief, and Reimer stopped 13 of 15.
The Leafs had two one-goal leads erased, while the Flyers had a two-goal deficit vanquished.
A healthy scratch in two of the previous three games, Gagner was in the Flyers lineup due to an upper-body injury to captain Claude Giroux, who is considered day to day.
"It’s a little bit tough, but we’ve got a good group of guys in here," Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds said. "We’re all battling for each other. I thought tonight was a good example."
The Leafs played without leading scorer Leo Komarov, who served the first game of a three-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh. McDonagh suffered a jaw contusion and neck spasms as a result of the collision.
Komarov joined a lengthy list of missing Leafs which includes injured forwards James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Josh Leivo, Milan Michalek and Joffrey Lupul as well as injured defensemen Matt Hunwick and Jared Cowen. Hunwick, the Leafs leader in average ice-time, missed his second straight game due to a lower-body injury.
Bernier has one year remaining on a two-year contract signed just before an arbitration ruling last summer. He acknowledged that another opportunity had slipped through his grasp.
"Yes I guess, but that’s not the end of the world," Bernier said. "I’ve just got to stick with it. I thought my game’s been better. Tonight wasn’t my game, but I’ve got to turn the page."
NOTES: Saturday marked the 10th annual Canadian Armed Forces night at the Air Canada Centre. More than 500 members of the Canadian Armed Forces were in attendance. After the game, the group was invited onto the ice for photo opportunities with members of the Leafs.