TORONTO — William Nylander had a goal and two assists to help the Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday.
“We came out kind of slow in the beginning, but then we got going there, got the two big goals (in the second period) and started off hot in the third,” Nylander said. “A little too exciting at the end, but a good way to head into the break.”
Mitchell Marner had a goal and an assist, Calle Jarnkrok and Michael Bunting each scored, and Ilya Samsonov made 16 saves for the Maple Leafs (21-7-6), who extended their home point streak to 10 games (8-0-2).
Video: PHI@TOR: Nylander goes to his backhand to extend lead
Samsonov improved to 9-0-0 at home.
“Last couple games, yeah, I [allowed] eight goals,” Samsonov said. “A little bit of a Christmas gift from me, but it’s OK, we got the two points today, so that’s more important for us. We [will] smile tomorrow with a few days off. I’ll just enjoy it and stay with my family and dog.”
Tony DeAngelo had a goal and an assist, and Travis Konecny had two assists for the Flyers (11-16-7), who are 2-4-2 in their past eight games. Carter Hart made 30 saves.
“Penalties and just not being able to get pucks behind their defense,” Philadelphia coach John Tortorella said. “We fed their transition, we allowed their top guys to get going on the power play. Our second period was atrocious.”
Marner put Toronto up 2-1 at 19:23 of the second period when he one-timed a pass from John Tavares in the high slot on the power play.
The Maple Leafs outshot the Flyers 26-8 through the first two periods.
“It’s not an easy task for a goalie,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “I was thinking about it during the game about how we have to do a really good of preventing the big chance because long breaks with no action, and then we saw it in the third period all of a sudden they got two in pretty tight. It’s a tough ask for the goaltender there. I feel for them in that sense, yet I don’t because our team is playing well in front of them, keeping the chances down, the shots down, so they’re going to have to get comfortable in net.”
Bunting made it 3-1, extending the lead 33 seconds into the third period when he one-timed a pass from Auston Matthews in the slot.
“That was a great play, that whole sequence I thought we were hard on the forecheck, switching sides and then things opened up,” Bunting said. “[Nylander] made a great play to [Matthews] and he could have even shot that, but he saw me and I had an easy tap in so that was a great play by both of them.”
Video: PHI@TOR: Bunting buries Matthews’ dish to double lead
The Maple Leafs killed off a 5-on-3 power play for 1:01 beginning at 8:20 of the third.
Nylander made it 4-1 at 11:39 when he backhanded a shot past Hart’s blocker for his 20th goal of the season.
Morgan Frost cut it to 4-2 at 12:01 when he shot from the left hashmarks, and Joel Farabee made it 4-3 at 13:24 with a shot between Samsonov’s pads from the slot to end an 11-game goal drought.
“It doesn’t really mean much,” Farabee said. “I’d rather not score the rest of the year and win every game then score every game and lose. It’s definitely a little frustrating. I thought we gave a good effort but a couple of mistakes hurt us but it doesn’t really mean much when you don’t win the game.”
Video: PHI@TOR: Farabee beats Samsonov to trim deficit
Samsonov preserved the one-goal lead when he stopped Frost with a save sliding to his left with 2:23 remaining.
“I thought our offensive guys struggled through a lot of the game,” Tortorella said. “But I thought they came alive towards the end and found a way to make it close.”
The Maple Leafs killed off an interference penalty to Timothy Liljegren for 24 seconds beginning with 1:10 remaining and Hart pulled for an extra attacker until Farabee took a roughing penalty at 19:14. Toronto killed the final 46 seconds with the Flyers having a 5-on-4 advantage with Hart pulled.
“We’ve been in that situation, but I liked that,” Keefe said. “We had some opportunities to ice the game and put it in the net and we were unable to do that but in terms of how we played, I thought we didn’t panic through that. We’ve been in that situation before and it looked like it.”
The Flyers took a 1-0 lead at 4:17 of the first when DeAngelo one-timed a pass from Kevin Hayes in the high slot on the power play.
Jarnkrok tied it 1-1 at 16:50 of the second when he redirected a shot from Marner in the slot.
NOTES: Samsonov tied Bruce Gamble (Oct. 25, 1967 to Jan. 20, 1968) for the longest run in Maple Leafs history by winning each of his first nine games at home. … Marner extended his home point streak to 14 games (21 points; five goals, 16 assists). … Toronto forward Pierre Engvall played his 200th NHL game and had an assist in 12:52 of ice time. … Konecny’s first assist was his 300th NHL point.