Maple Leafs-Flyers: Bozak Scores First NHL Goal, Toskala Earns Shutout

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Maple Leafs-Flyers: Bozak Scores First NHL Goal, Toskala Earns Shutout
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Tyler Bozak scored his first NHL goal and Vesa Toskala made 38 saves as the Toronto Maple Leafs shutout the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-0, at the Air Canada Center on Thursday.

Bozak, an undrafted collegian from the University of Denver whom the Maple Leafs signed last April, beat Flyers netminder Michael Leighton midway through the second period to give Toronto a 1-0 lead. 

The 23-year-old made a major league move on Flyers' defenceman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen on the game's opening goal, turning the Norwegian blueliner inside out before depositing a high shot over Leighton.

Later in the middle period, Bozak was involved in Toronto's second goal when he assisted on Nikolai Kulemin's ninth of the season.  Kulemin converted a Phil Kessel 2-on-1 pass at 19:19.

In three career games with the Maple Leafs dating back to last season, Bozak has registered four points.

Luke Schenn and Lee Stempniak added third period markers for the Maple Leafs to round out the scoring.  Kessel contributed two assists for his sixth multi-point game of the season.

There was a bit of controversy on Schenn's goal, as it appeared Toronto had an extra man on the ice when the goal was scored. 

On the play, Maple Leaf defenceman Jay Rosehill sent a alley-oop pass to Matt Stajan before heading off to the Maple Leafs bench.  As Rosehill came to the door of the Leafs' bench, Schenn scored. But, instead of leaving the ice surface, the Marlie call-up decided to join his teammates in celebration. 

Flyers captain Mike Richards argued briefly with the referee, but his two-many-men complaint fell on deaf ears.

The win by the Maple Leafs snapped their four-game losing streak, which ironically began last Wednesday against the Flyers in Philadelphia. 

In that game, Daniel Briere reached the 500-point plateau as the Flyers pasted the Maple Leafs, 6-2.

Toskala was making his first start in goal for the Maple Leafs since last Friday's 3-2 loss in Buffalo.

Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson continues to juggle his two goaltenders, in an effort to find a starter he can count on.

Rookie Jonas Gustavsson, who has been given the majority of the opportunities of late, was benched by Wilson after allowing 13 goals on just 88 shots in his last three outings.

The Leafs and Flyers were both 0-for-4 with the man-advantage.

There will be little time for Toskala or any of the Maple Leafs to savour this victory, as the club is in Washington for a date with Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals tonight (Friday).

Prior to the game, Maple Leafs' general manager Brian Burke held a state of the union address with reporters to discuss his team's recent failures.

"We have lost our way," Burke remarked.  "We have got to get back on track."

Despite his frustration with the team's lack of on-ice success, Burke maintained Wilson's job wasn't in jeopardy.

It would seem hard to fathom Burke firing Wilson right now.  The two men were selected by USA Hockey to lead the Americans at the upcoming Vancouver Olympics in less than a month. 

Toronto improved to 16-23-9 for 41 points with the victory over Philly.  They remained 14th in the Eastern Conference and nine points behind Montreal for the eight and final playoff seed.

 

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