Saturday , October 23 2021

First period hiper Andreas Johnsson leads the Maple Leafs on the Flyer


Toronto Maple Leafs & Andreas 39 John Andreas celebrated after scoring his second goal as skating shoes for Shayne Gostisbehere from the Philadelphia Flyers in the past during the first period of NHL hockey in Toronto on Saturday, November 24 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Chris Young

Chris Young / The Canadian Press

Andreas Johnsson's hat trick just over 12 minutes into the game led to an early attack when the Toronto Maple Leafs drove past the Philadelphia Flyers 6-0 on Saturday.

John Tavares, Patrick Marleau and Josh Leivo also scored for Toronto (16-8-0). Reserve keeper, Garret Sparks, made 35 savings for his first shutout this season and the second in his career. Mitch Marner added two assists for the Leafs.

Calvin Pickard, who was claimed by the Flyers in lightening from Toronto before the start of the season, allowed four goals on six shots for Philadelphia (10-11-2) before getting a hook.

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Anthony Stolarz allowed two goals in 34 shots with relief.

Losing his way back, including Friday's 4-2 decision at Columbus, the Leafs built a 4-0 lead after just 12:20 action thanks in large part to the first hat trick of Johnsson's career.

The fast winger made everything happen at 4:45 when he faked a slapshot of busyness before sliding the pieces between Pickard's pads for his third goal of the season.

Johnsson made it 2-0 only 1:34 later when he blocked a point shot from Flyers defenseman Christian Folin and ran alone and beat Pickard through hole five for the second time.

Marleau was involved in the 7:44 action when he fired his fifth goal into the open goal after a poor Philadelphia cleaning match.

Pickard's teammate with last season's Toronto Marlies from the American Hockey League, Johnsson finished his hat trick – the 24-year-old only had four goals in 27 NHL matches before Saturday – in another shot between drivers from deep inside after stealing pieces of the Flyer defenders.

It ended the night for Pickard, who came from a 31-save shutout in Philadelphia's 4-0 win over the New York Rangers on Friday afternoon which stopped the skid of four Flyers matches (0-3-1).

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Toronto, who were 2-0 down in the first period in each of their last three matches, could easily extend their lead further before the period ended.

But Stolarz, the fifth goalkeeper to see the action for the injured Flyers this season, made two big stops at Marleau and another from Tavares by separating himself.

Sparks, who got first place as netminder number 1 Frederik Andersen, made a good stop at Shane Gostis where there was a timer in the middle of the second when the match ended after a panic opening in Toronto.

Leivo then made it 5-0 with all three at 11:07 in a freak rush when he beat Stolarz from a slick pass from Marner.

Casperi Kapanen hit the goal a few minutes later for the Leafs, but Tavares finally made it 6-0 with his 15th goal, firing a loose ball upstairs after Marner elbowed around two defenders at 17:10.

Saturday marked the return of Toronto of Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk, who played six seasons in blue and white before signing a five-year, 35-million-dollar contract with Philadelphia on July 1.

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Van Riemsdyk suffered a lower body injury in just two matches to his second task with the Flyers – he traded to the Leafs in June 2012 for defenseman Luke Schenn – who forced him out of the lineup for five weeks before he returned to action in November. 15.

Glorified by the first-ever video award on Saturday, the 29-year-old scored 154 goals in 413 matches with Toronto, including 36 last season in careers and teams.

Note: No team has been assessed as a penalty for the second consecutive match at the Scotiabank Arena. NHL's last free-penalty game before this week returned in March 2017. … Johnsson was the eighth Leafs player to score the first and first period hat trick since Wendel Clark on October 11, 1986 … There was only another shutout of the sparks in his NHL debut at 30 November 2015. … Canadian pop star Justin Bieber and new wife Hailey Baldwin watched the match from a private room. … Leafs center Auston Matthews lost 13 consecutive matches with a shoulder injury he suffered. The 21-year-old returned to training and was able to return to the lineup early Monday when Toronto hosted Boston. … The clock is ticking for the Leafs to get a contract with limited agent William Nylander. 22-year-old winger must register no later than December 1 at 5pm. ET to be eligible to play in the NHL this season.

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