Couturier’s goal lifts Flyers over Leafs on Lindros’ night

Sean Couturier scored the winning goal in overtime and the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs on a night when the Flyers retired Eric Lindros' number 88.

PHILADELPHIA — On a night that belonged to Eric Lindros, the Philadelphia Flyers paid tribute to the Hall of Fame centre with a gritty comeback.

Sean Couturier scored 18 seconds into overtime and the Flyers rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Thursday after retiring Lindros’ No. 88 jersey.

"A huge comeback win on a special night," said rookie Nolan Patrick, who scored his first goal in 25 games.

Couturier continued his hot streak with his eighth goal in six games. He took a feed from Travis Konecny and beat Frederik Andersen with a wrist shot.

Couturier’s 26th goal and 46th point in his already career-best season lifted the Flyers to their fifth win in six games.

"Coots is playing on another level right now," Flyers defenceman Shayne Gostisbehere said. "We’re trying to match it. He’s definitely carrying us."

Patrick and Wayne Simmonds scored early in the third period for the Flyers. Michal Neuvirth stopped 29 shots in just his second start since Nov. 28, including a sprawling pad save on Patrick Marleau with 2:48 left in regulation.

"Three at least 10-bell saves by Neuvy," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of his backup goalie. "I don’t think that’s lost on anybody in the building and certainly in the dressing room. He was tremendous."

Fourth-liners Connor Brown and Frederik Gauthier scored 28 seconds apart in the second period for Toronto in its season-high fourth straight loss. Andersen made 34 saves.

Toronto, in a 2-3-4 stretch, last won in regulation on Dec. 28 at Arizona, and Andersen let his teammates have it.

"I don’t think we’re tired. I think it’s a lack of effort at certain points," he said. "It’s something that can’t happen. If we want to play any meaningful hockey later, we need to figure it out."

Patrick ended Philadelphia’s streak of seven unanswered goals allowed with an unassisted tally 2:07 into the third. It was the third of the season for the 19-year-old forward, the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft.

The Flyers tied it just over a minute later with only their second short-handed goal of the season, with Simmonds picking up his 16th goal with Jori Lehtera in the box.

Toronto dominated the second period. Brown scored on a breakaway at 12:57 after Gostisbehere’s giveaway in the neutral zone. The 22-year-old Gauthier then made it 2-0 with his first goal of the season and No. 3 for his career.

"We can’t let the lead go every time we are up by one or two goals," Gauthier said. "There’s something to learn here."

The Flyers had more energy late on an emotional night for the franchise.

The big and skilful Lindros, who grew up watching the hometown Maple Leafs in Ontario, spent eight seasons with the Flyers. He won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP in 1995 and helped Philadelphia reach the Stanley Cup Final two years later.

Back on good terms with the organization after an ugly 2001 departure, Lindros received several standing ovations before his number was hoisted to the rafters in a ceremony that delayed the start by an hour.

Lindros attended Flyers practice Wednesday and the morning skate before the game, spending time with veterans Simmonds and Jakub Voracek and marveling about how the game has evolved.

"Those guys are just machines," Lindros said. "They’re built for speed. The hands and skill level of today’s player is far greater than even five years ago."

As Lindros watched from a suite, the Flyers improved to just 3-8 in overtime.

NOTES: The Flyers considered but decided against challenging Gauthier’s goal as offside. . Toronto D Morgan Rielly, who left the ice in pain after the second period, returned for the third. . Gauthier played ahead of Dominic Moore. . Tyrell Goulbourne was back on the Flyers’ fourth line after being scratched Tuesday. . Flyers rookie D Travis Sanheim was a healthy scratch for the seventh time in eight games.


Maple Leafs: Visit Ottawa on Saturday night.

Flyers: Host New Jersey on Saturday afternoon.

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