Morning After: Flyers top line answers call against Leafs


Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek celebrate Giroux's third-period goal in the Flyers 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo Courtesy of

In a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday, the Flyers fourth line generated the best scoring chances. Despite Jake Voracek's power-play goal in the closing minutes, the Flyers effort wasn't nearly good enough.

Craig Berube called out his top line and made some changes to the rest. Tye McGinn was on the second line. Michael Raffl was on the third. And veteran Vincent Lecavalier was centering the fourth line.

On a 5-on-3, Lecavalier scored to open the scoring with help from Claude Giroux and Kimmo Timonen and that helped start the Flyers on their way to a much-needed 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.

"We did a good job of coming strong right away," Giroux said. "Obviously that first goal gave us the momentum and a little lead. At home, you want the first goal. I think we did a good job of keep playing for 60 minutes."

That was only the start of Giroux's three-point night. He assisted on the first two goals – power-play tallies by Lecavalier and Scott Hartnell – and scored off a turnover in the third to give the Flyers a two-goal cushion.

Giroux's three points give him 78 on the season and moved him into third place in the NHL, passing Toronto's Phil Kessel.

Hartnell and Timonen also posted multi-point games.

In addition to Giroux and Hartnell posting multiple points, Voracek registed six shots, most on the team. It's safe to say the top line responded to Berube's criticism.

"I said it before, I didn’t like the energy in the New York game," Berube said. "It’s probably a lot of games, tough games, the grind. We had good energy tonight."

The Flyers certainly seemed energized from the start on Friday and took advantage of a Leafs team struggling for success. In the waning moments of Friday night's game, the Leafs, who are slipping further from a playoff spot, started to take out their frustrations on the Flyers.

The Flyers strong play started early, as they returned to doing the things that made them successful on a five-game winning streak. They won puck battles and created turnovers. They were the team with the upper hand.

It seems crazy to say it this way, but the Flyers had hit a wall in the previous two games. Sensing the Flyers were in need of a break, they did not practice on Thursday. The day off helped tremendously.

"I was tired,” Hartnell said. "Kimmo was banged up. I think everyone benefited from the day off the ice. We went in, watched some video of how poor we were. It was good to take a step back from the ice and rejuvenate us. I think it showed tonight, we had a lot of jump."

"I thought they had an extremely strong effort overall," Steve Mason said. "From blocking shots to the pressure on the backcheck – things like that are going to be the key to us winning hockey games."

Having success at the start of games and getting production from the top line will be important in the Flyers next game. The East-leading Bruins make the trip to Philadelphia in the Flyers latest test, a nationally-televised contest on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

The Bruins beat the Flyers, 6-1, in their last meeting on Jan. 25. The Flyers won five of the next six games after that. 

"I think in the East they are the best team; top two in the league," Giroux said. "It’s going to be a good challenge for us. Every time we have a good team come into town, we take that as a challenge and we start playing well. Obviously our last game against them wasn’t as planned but I think we need to be more responsible and just take that challenge and have fun with it."

Kevin Durso is the lead beat writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.

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