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Philadelphia at Toronto

Niittymaki makes 54 saves as Flyers bag up Leafs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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TORONTO -- Three goals were good, 54 saves made the difference for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Antero Niittymaki was spectacular in goal, stopping 36 shots in the first two periods and 18 more in the third to give the Flyers a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 Saturday night.

"He pretty much won that game for us," forward Mike Richards said.

Steve Downie scored his first NHL goal, Jeff Carter had his 14th of the season and Richards added his 19th to support Niittymaki. The Flyers bounced back from a shutout loss at New Jersey on Friday night to win for the fourth time in five games.

"Niitty stood on his head," Carter said. "He played a hell of a game."

Mats Sundin scored both goals for Toronto, which lost despite a 56-32 shots advantage. All three goals on Andrew Raycroft were on rebounds.

"We played a good game, but it's like we don't know how to win the close games," Sundin said. "We have to become smarter and learn what it takes to win."

Each team lost a player to injury in the first period. Toronto defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo reinjured his right knee, and Philadelphia forward Joffrey Lupul was too woozy to continue after colliding with big teammate Derian Hatcher.

"Hopefully I'll feel fine in the morning," Lupul said. "I've got a big bruise and a little cut on my head but, other than that, I don't feel all that bad.

"I'll be re-evaluated (Sunday), but I feel a lot better now than when I was leaving the ice."

Toronto fell to 1-4-1 since goalie Vesa Toskala went down with a groin injury.

Downie, who was suspended for 20 games after a preseason hit on Dean McAmmond in Ottawa, skated in his second NHL game since being recalled from the AHL on Wednesday and his fourth overall.

The 20-year-old native of nearby Newmarket outmaneuvered Colaiacovo for position and slammed a rebound past Raycroft at 10:04.

Carter converted a 2-on-1 break into a short-handed goal at 16:28.

Sundin slapped in a drive from the top of the circle to Niittymaki's right at 4:09 of the third period during a power play. The puck caught the far side of the net on the glove side. Sundin then scored his 20th off at 11:48 of the third.

Richards got the winner at 17:09 while Ian White sat in the penalty box for holding.

"It was a gutsy win," Carter said. "We lost a couple of guys early and were down, basically, to 2½ lines. We pulled out the win. These points against conference teams are going to be huge because (the standings) are so tight."

The 542nd and 543rd goals of Sundin's career moved him past Stan Mikita into sole possession of 25th place on the NHL's regular-season list. One more and he'll tie Maurice Richard.

It marked the 17th consecutive season Sundin scored at least 20 goals. Gordie Howe had 22 and Brendan Shanahan is working on his 19th. Marcel Dionne and Brett Hull did it 17 times.

"In the first half of the season we made a lot of mistakes," Sundin said. "We're good enough to be a playoff team ... but we're shooting ourselves in the foot on a lot of nights."

A weak power play again hurt the Leafs. They had six advantages, compared to two for the Flyers, but they managed only Sundin's goal.

Notes

  • Colaiacovo played in his fifth game after taking months to recover from head and knee injuries.
  • Raycroft hasn't won since Nov. 9.
  • Leafs C Nik Antropov hasn't scored in 11 games.
  • F Kyle Wellwood returned to Toronto's lineup after being a healthy scratch for two games. RW Wade Belak also was a healthy scratch as was D Andy Wozniewski, whose place was taken by D Anton Stralman.
  • Philadelphia was without D Jason Smith (bruised calf), LW Scottie Upshall (ankle) and C Simon Gagne (concussion). Gagne hasn't played since Nov. 7.
  • Toronto is 13-11-4 with Toskala in goal, and 3-7-4 without him.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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All the ice in the arena can't cool off Darcy Tucker and Jim Dowd (R), who exchange a couple of blows.  (AP)
All the ice in the arena can't cool off Darcy Tucker and Jim Dowd (R), who exchange a couple of blows. (AP)
Scoreboard
Philadelphia  (20-15-4) «2013
Toronto (16-18-8)0022
Three Stars
A. Niittymaki
PHI


Saves: 54
Save Pct.: .964
A. Steen
TOR


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0
M. Richards
PHI


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
10:04Steve Downie (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Jim Vandermeer, Jim Dowd
16:28Short - Jeff Carter (14), Snap Shot. Assist: R.J. Umberger
2ND PERIOD
None
3RD PERIOD
04:09Power Play - Mats Sundin (19), Slap Shot. Assist: Kyle Wellwood, Pavel Kubina
11:48Mats Sundin (20), Snap Shot. Assist: Jason Blake, Hal Gill
17:09Power Play - Mike Richards (19), Snap Shot. Assist: Mike Knuble, Daniel Briere
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
04:02Downie, 2 min, Roughing
04:02Cote, 4 min, Roughing
04:02Hartnell, 10 min, Misconduct
04:02Colaiacovo, 2 min, Roughing
04:02Gill, 2 min, Roughing
04:02Tucker, 10 min, Misconduct
14:41Ruzicka, 2 min, Hooking
17:56Vandermeer, 2 min, Slashing
2ND PERIOD
02:37Hatcher, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
07:45Vandermeer, 2 min, Tripping
3RD PERIOD
03:28Downie, 4 min, Roughing
03:28Blake, 2 min, Roughing
06:17Antropov, 2 min, Interference
15:05Coburn, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
15:05Kubina, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
16:05White, 2 min, Holding
18:05Kubina, 2 min, High-Sticking
Shots On Goal
 123T
Philadelphia11101132
Toronto16202056
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Antero Niittymaki60:00542
Andrew Raycroft59:20293
Game Information
Attendance - 19412
Referees - Gord Dwyer, Mike Leggo
Linesmen - David Brisebois, Steve Miller
 
Other Games
Cal 6 Final
LA 4
Car 0 Final
StL 1
NJ 3 Final
Bos 4
NYR 2 Final
Edm 3
NYI 1 Final
OT
Colo 2
Det 3 Final
Dal 0
Ana 2 Final
Pho 3
Wash 5 Final
OT
Mon 4
Fla 0 Final
Pitt 3
Min 1 Final
Nash 4
Colu 2 Final
SJ 3
TB 3 Final
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Ott 4