Leafs Slip Past Listless Flyers

Dino MoriAnalyst IApril 2, 2009

TORONTO - NOVEMBER 29:   Brian Burke speaks to the media after being named President and General Manger of the Toronto Maple Leafs November 29, 2008 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)

One day after being eliminated from Stanley Cup contention, the Toronto Maple Leafs threw a wrench into the Philadelphia Flyers home-ice playoff aspirations.

The Leafs held off a late Flyers rally, edging the one-time Broad Street Bullies, 3-2, at the Air Canada Center on Wednesday.

Toronto goalie Curtis Joesph stopped Jeff Carter, the NHL's fourth leading scorer with 41 goals, in the final minute of play to preserve the Maple Leafs win.  This came after Flyers forward Claude Giroux cut the deficit to one at 17:09 of the third on a Philadelphia power play.

The loss proved costly to the playoff-bound Flyers, who dropped into a fourth place tie with division rivals Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference race—both have 92 points.

The top four teams in the conference earn home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Jamal Mayers, Lee Stempniak, and Ian White scored for Toronto, who climbed back to the .500 mark improving to 32-32-13 on the season for 77 points.

Aaron Asham had the other Philadelphia goal, his eighth on the campaign.

Prior to the game, Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke expressed his disappointment about his team's failure to make it to the post-season, for a franchise record fourth consecutive year.

"Any time that you have to stand in front of the media and talk about not qualifying for the playoffs should be a kick right in the groin to every member of the Leafs organization, " he said.  "I take it personally and professionally."

Before taking over as GM in Toronto, Burke enjoyed seven straight playoff seasons in both Anaheim and Vancouver.

The Maple Leafs were officially eliminated from the playoffs on Tuesday, after Montreal beat Chicago 4-1, leaving Toronto 13 points behind the Habs with six games to go.

Toronto heads to the City of Brotherly Love for a return engagement with the Flyers on Friday. 

It is expected newly-signed Notre Dame forward, Christian Hanson, will make his NHL debut.  Hanson, 23, is the son of former NHL and WHA player Dave Hanson, better known to many as a member of the Hanson brothers in the movie Slapshot.