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Flyers grab hard-earned point in OT loss to Leafs

BOX SCORE

TORONTO -- This time, there was no Miracle in Maple Leaf Land.

This time, these pesky Flyers, who have proven themselves to be Comeback Kids like no others in franchise history, could not climb all the way back from the early hole they dug themselves.

Eleven times this season the Flyers have trailed in the third period only to somehow snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Those 11 comeback wins -- in terms of being behind at some point in the third -- are a Flyers team record.

And at one point before the Flyers fell, 4-3, in overtime on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre (see Instant Replay), Craig Berube’s team seemed poised to make it 12.

Down 2-1 entering the third, Kimmo Timonen knotted the score for the visitors with his second of the game with 12:41 left. And after Mason Raymond put the Leafs ahead 3-2, Brayden Coburn brought the Flyers back again, scoring his fifth of the season with just 2:32 remaining in regulation (watch highlights).

But successful teams can’t always rely on overcoming deficits. While the Flyers put up an admirable effort, their aspirations of leaving Toronto with two points were squelched when ex-Flyer Joffrey Lupul deposited a cross-crease Dion Phaneuf pass past Steve Mason at 2:21 of overtime to give Toronto the victory.

“We deserved, maybe, the two points,” Timonen said. “But hockey is all about mistakes.

“We made a couple of mistakes and they scored. But overall the team effort after that (first) 10 minutes was pretty good.”

The first 10 minutes? More like the first four.

That’s all the time it took for the Flyers to fall behind by two goals.

The Leafs' Jake Gardiner opened the scoring at 2:21 of the first, showing great patience for a seam to open up in the gaggle of bodies in front of the net. Poor Mason couldn’t see a thing as eight players were counted clogging the slot area in front of the crease.

Playing a collapsing defense is one thing, but not at the expense of your goalie’s sightlines.

Just 77 seconds later, the Flyers found themselves trailing 2-0 courtesy of a Nazem Kadri snapshot from the slot. Kadri was left wide open by a Flyers defense that Berube admitted had its issues in the opening period.

“Didn’t play a very good period, but we battled back after that,” Berube said.

“We got a point and that’s good. But for me, the first period has got to be better. You can’t come out flat like that.”

After allowing two goals on the first four shots he faced, Mason was beaten just once in the remaining 56-plus minutes of regulation and kept the Flyers in the game.

“He gave us a chance,” Berube said. “That’s all you can ask of your goalie.”

The single point allowed the Flyers to take sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference's Metropolitan Division, moving one point ahead of the idle New York Rangers. Both teams have 18 games remaining as the drive for the playoffs officially kicks into high gear.

In the Flyers' favor is the fact that 11 of their remaining contests will be in the friendly confines -- at least for the home team, anyway -- of the Wells Fargo Center. After Saturday’s game in Toronto, the Flyers have only seven road games left.

Of course, if the Flyers keep coming out of the gates as if they were skating in slush like they did Saturday, collecting points will be a difficult task no matter where they play.