Maple Leafs 2, Flyers 1, OT
TORONTO (AP) _ The Toronto Maple Leafs are one win from the second round of the NHL playoffs.
Yanic Perreault’s backhander eluded goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck 11:51 into overtime to give Toronto a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers and a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference quarter-final.
Games 6 is Sunday night in Philadelphia. If a Game 7 is necessary, the teams will return to the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night.
On the winning play, the Maple Leafs won the draw and quickly got the puck back up ice. Perreault took his shot from a bad angle at the bottom of the faceoff circle to the left of Vanbiesbrouck. The puck went under the goalie’s catching mitt near the post and into the lower corner.
The Flyers have lost seven consecutive playoff overtime games since a 1995 OT win.
Philadelphia’s Keith Jones and Toronto’s Dimitri Yushkevich exchanged first-period goals.
When the third period started, it was 21-21 on the shot clock, and 25-25 on the hits chart. A capacity crowd of 18,800 was anxiously waiting for somebody _ a Maple Leaf, most hoped _ to end the stalemate.
Flyers forward Valeri Zelepukin had a great scoring chance with 10 minutes remaining in regulation, but Toronto goalie Curtis Joseph managed to get an arm in the way of the shot. Each team wasted a power play as the period drained away and the checking got tighter by the minute.
Jones scored on a wraparound 1:52 into the game, and Yushkevich threaded a long wrist shot through a group of players at 9:16 on a power play.
In the scoreless second period, Joseph made a huge save during a power play early in the period when LeClair got the puck behind Toronto’s net and set up Rod Brind’Amour at the front of the crease. Vanbiesbrouck stopped a shot by Sundin from point-blank range as the period ended.