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Maple Leafs hope home ice provides an elixir against Flyers

Sportsnaut
Oct 30, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe during the 1st period against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs hope to rebound from a disappointing road trip when they return home Wednesday night to play the Philadelphia Flyers.

After squandering a 3-1 third-period lead in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, the Maple Leafs completed their trip 1-2-2.

“You can get frustrated all you want, it’s not going to help anything,” Maple Leafs defenseman and alternate captain Morgan Rielly said Sunday. “You can talk about a lot of different things but this is on us. Players are in control of the outcome.

“Nobody is making excuses, that it’s early, that it’s OK. We’re not saying that. We keep our focus that it’s a long season. We’re not going to try to turn away from anything, we keep going until we right the ship.”

The Maple Leafs will get a heavy dose of home cooking as they play eight of their next 10 games in Toronto.

The Flyers opened a three-game road trip Tuesday night with a 1-0 overtime loss to the New York Rangers. It was Philadelphia’s second consecutive loss in extra time.

The Maple Leafs have lost four in a row, two in overtime.

“When you talk about our start and our results we had, the points we have been able to accumulate to this point probably are even more than what I would expect based on how we have played, frankly,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said on Tuesday after practice.

The Maple Leafs are working on executing fundamentals, something that has been lacking.

“There are a lot of fundamentals we are not executing at a high level,” Keefe said. “Some of the things that we expect to be really good in — as simple as breaking out and being available for one another and being responsible for your touch and your pass — that was the emphasis, to be good in that area.”

Other than that, Keefe said that he had a simple message to his players: “It’s nice to be home. The calendar turns to November, we have a fresh opportunity to get back on home ice. Let’s get to work.”

“I think we’ve been on a roller coaster as far as our play,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said after a 4-3 overtime loss to the visiting Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. “It’s been awful. It’s been good. It’s been just terrible. It’s been really good. It’s been up and down. But the team has found a way to get points. So they should feel good about this point.”

The Flyers had good goaltending again from Carter Hart on Tuesday as he stopped 35 shots. Rangers goaltender Igor Sheshterkin made 19 saves, none in overtime.

Tortorella said that because of the heavy minutes some of his players logged Tuesday, he will likely play defenseman Egor Zamula and center Tanner Laczynski on Wednesday to provide fresh legs against a team with speed like the Maple Leafs. Both were scratches Tuesday.

Tortorella saw value from the game in New York beyond the one point earned.

“It’s great experience for some guys to play in this building (Madison Square Garden), the way the atmosphere was, and just stay within themselves,” Tortorella said after the game on Tuesday. “That’s what I liked about it is that after an abysmal second period, I thought we gathered ourselves, and I thought we played a good third period.”

–Field Level Media