Maple Leafs top Flyers in overtime

Claude Giroux displays his ball skills for Chris Handles Franklin of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Claude Giroux displays his ball skills for Chris Handles Franklin of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Posted: March 10, 2014

TORONTO - Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen has been in the NHL for 15 seasons, but he had never scored against Toronto.

Until Saturday night.

Timonen, who will turn 39 later this month, scored two goals to dramatically tie the score at 2, but it wasn't enough.

Former Flyer Joffrey Lupul won it with 2 minutes, 39 seconds left in overtime, tapping in Dion Phaneuf's pass to give Toronto a riveting, 4-3 victory at the Air Canada Centre.

The Flyers, who nearly earned their 12th win after trailing in the third period this season, salvaged a point and are on a 3-0-1 run.

"The point is huge. Every point is important right now," said rookie winger Michael Raffl, whose team moved a point ahead of the New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division. "We battled hard. Came back twice."

The Flyers overcame deficits of 2-0 and 3-2.

Defenseman Braydon Coborn scored on a point drive with 2:32 left in regulation to tie the game at 3. Brayden Schenn and Raffl set a double-screen in front.

"We had an awful start. You can't start hockey games that way," Coburn said. "But we battled back and had our chances, and their goalie made some big saves, and it's too bad we couldn't pull it out."

Toronto had taken a 3-2 lead when Mason Raymond's point-blank shot bounced off the pads of goalie Steve Mason (32 saves) and trickled into the net with 6:26 left in the third.

Timonen, playing in his 30th career game against Toronto, nearly had his first career hat trick, but his close backhander caromed off the right post with 3:30 left in regulation. No matter. The Flyers tied it less than a minute later.

"The first 10 minutes, we didn't play that good, but the next 50, 54 minutes we were skating and working and creating chances," Timonen said. "We were a better team after that."

Of an elusive hat trick, Timonen said: "Maybe someday."

Earlier, Timonen took a pass from Jake Voracek, skated into the left circle, and fired a shot past Jonathan Bernier with 1:58 left in the second period, cutting the Leafs' lead to 2-1.

With 12:41 remaining in the third period, Voracek again set up Timonen. From behind the net, Voracek found Timonen in front, and he put a backhander into the net, marking the seventh time in his career that he had a two-goal game - and the first since 2009 against Boston.

After struggling at the outset, Mason recovered nicely and kept the Flyers in the game.

"He came up big," coach Craig Berube said.

Mason made a terrific stick save on Phil Kessel, who was alone in front, with 15:39 left in the third period. A little less than two minutes later, Bernier robbed Mark Streit in front after a slick tic-tac-toe passing play by the Flyers to keep the Leafs ahead by 2-1.

Toronto scored twice in the first 3:38 to take a 2-0 lead, getting goals from Jake Gardiner and Nazem Kadri.

Gardiner scored from the high slot after Mason allowed a rebound. Just 1:17 later, Kadri took a pass from Lupul and beat Mason by finishing a three-on-two break.

After the Leafs scored twice on their first four shots, Mason made 29 straight saves before Toronto's third goal.

The Flyers appeared to cut it to 2-1 with 17:04 left in the second period on a goal by Matt Read, but the referees ruled Bernier had covered the puck before it went into the net. Captain Claude Giroux and Berube protested, but it fell on deaf ears.

"To me, the puck went in before the whistle blew," Berube said.


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

www.inquirer.com/broadstreetbull

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