Flyers bust slump, beat struggling Leafs
Joffrey Lupul scored twice and Daniel Brière registered his first multi-point game in more than a month as the Flyers snapped out of a recent malaise by pounding the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 on Thursday night.
The home victory quashed a season-high six-gamelosing streak for the Flyers (17-14-4), who after a hot start to the season hadfallen to last place— albeit by just two points— in the tightly packed Atlantic Division heading into Thursday's action.
Philadelphia clung to a 2-1 lead heading into the third period before Brière and Lupul conspired to put the game out of reach.
Brière deflected in a Jason Smith point shot at 3:05 of the final frame for his 16th goal of the season, then saw Lupul get his second of the night— and 15th of the season— with 12 minutes remaining as he zipped a shot past the glove of Leafs goalie Andrew Raycroft.
"When we got the lead we didn't sit back at all, we went out there and finished,"said Lupul, who has five points in his last three games."We've had some leads, especially at home, and we've let teams back in the game.
"Tonight, even when they made it 2-1 we still played as a confident team."
Lupul's first-period power-play goal was assisted by Brière, allowingtheplaymaking centreto finish the night with his first multi-point effort since recording a goal and two assists in a win over Ottawa on Nov. 24.
"After a while you forget what it is to win," Brière said. "It tastes a lot better than losing, the way we were lately, especially the way we were finding ways to lose. That was frustrating."
Raycroft's struggles continue
Mike Richards earned an assist on Lupul's second goal to stretch his point streak at home to 16 games, tying a team record set by Bobby Clarke in the 1975-76 season.
Jeff Carter scored a first-period goal— his 13th— for the Flyers, while Martin Biron made 34 saves.
Mats Sundin's power-play goal— his 17th— late in the second period was the only scoring mustered by Toronto (15-15-8), which lost for the fifth time in six games and finished its seven-game road trip 2-3-2.
"We've played far better for the majority of the trip," Toronto coach Paul Maurice said. "We're just showing the result of not putting pucks in the net."
Raycroft made 30 saves in his second start in as many nights in place of Vesa Toskala, who is nursing a sore groin.
Raycroft, who on Wednesday made his first appearance in more than a month as the Leafsfell 4-3 in overtime to the New York Islanders, hasn't won since shutting out Buffalo on Nov. 9.
The Leafs — last in the Northeast —return home to face the New York Rangers on Saturday night (CBC,7 p.m. ET).
With files from the Associated Press