Flyers-Maple Leafs: Postgame Perspective

Ghost delivers winner in wild affair with Leafs

The Flyers absolutely could not let the second point slip away this time, so they turned to their overtime specialist.

Just 29 seconds into overtime, Shayne Gostisbehere struck again. The Flyers got the much-needed second point.

In a wild game that featured nine goals, two disallowed goals and two goalie changes for very different reasons, Gostisbehere waited until the last moment, but extended his record points streak to another level with the game-winning goal in the Flyers 5-4 overtime win.

For Gostisbehere, this is just the continuation of a dream season. 

His scoring streak has reached 15 games, continuing to extend an NHL rookie record and now becoming the longest streak by any NHL defenseman since Chris Chelios had a 15-game streak 20 years ago in 1995-96.

His four overtime goals are an NHL record for a rookie. His four overtime goals are also two shy of the Flyers all-time record for goals in a career. And he's played just 40 games this season.

In reality, Gostisbehere's overtime winner was only made possible by the two disallowed goals taken from the Flyers and Matt Read's equalizer just seconds after the Leafs gained their first lead of the game.

Both goals were nullified on incidental contact. Andrew MacDonald had a goal taken away in the first. Mark Streit had one taken in the third. Moments after Streit's was disallowed, Byron Froese scored to give the Leafs the lead with 15:28 left in the game. Read scored 32 seconds later.

In a game where the Flyers let a 3-1 lead slip away and certainly didn't play as well on the defensive end, they managed to weather the storm. That said, it has all come at a cost.

Claude Giroux missed the game with an upper-body injury after getting hit in the head by a P.K. Subban hit late in Friday's game against Montreal. Steve Mason made 11 saves on 14 shots before pulling himself from the game with an injury.

Michal Neuvirth made nine saves on 10 shots to earn the win.

And before Gostisbehere's heroics, several other players had excellent games as well.

Brayden Schenn, Michael Raffl, Wayne Simmonds, Scott Laughton and Jake Voracek all had two-point games. 

The implications of the win couldn't be bigger. As with their game in Montreal, the one point allowed really meant nothing against a team below them in the standings. It was the second that would determine how the outcome was perceived.

By virtue of losses from Pittsburgh and New Jersey, the Flyers two points pull them within three of the final playoff spot.

They trail the Penguins by three points. Pittsburgh has one game in hand, but the two teams meet three times from March 19 through the end of the season.

The Flyers have two games in hand on the Devils, who are two points ahead, and one game in hand on the Hurricanes, who are one point ahead. The Flyers close a five-game road trip in Carolina on Tuesday.

After two weekends where overtimes didn't go their way and the games that immediately followed featured undesired results, the Flyers can finally say a weekend was not lost and look to the standings with a bit of hope.

They may trail three teams in the race and still have an uphill climb. But at three points back, anything is possible.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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