Looking to see how they measure up against one of the Eastern Conference’s most dangerous clubs Tuesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t receive the outcome they wanted.
Dropping a 4-0 shutout loss to Sergei Bobrovsky and the new-look Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre, the Leafs were faced with a tougher squad than a night earlier when they beat the Ottawa Senators.
Rookie Sean Couturier led Flyers offensively with a goal and assist.
The Leafs looked flat as they were outgunned by Philadelphia’s young forward corps.
Both teams exchanged power plays for most of the opening stanza, but neither team established anything resembling an offensive attack.
Leafs goaltender James Reimer stopped 18 of 22 shots on the night, but was bested by his counterpart who stopped all 27 shots the Leafs directed towards the Flyers’ net.
A 20-game winner from last season, Reimer is looking to have another strong campaign this year and avoid the notorious sophomore slump.
Nazem Kadri skated confidently with the puck for Toronto, stick handling his way through the Flyers defence on numerous occasions, generating scoring chances whenever he was on the ice. The young Leaf also threw some booming body checks in an effort to show the top brass he’s ready to stick with the big club.
“I’m quite pleased with what he’s doing,” said Leafs head coach Ron Wilson after the game. “He’s making smart decisions on the puck.”
Two other Leafs fighting for depth positions were solid on faceoffs, with Mike Zigomanis winning eight of nine draws while Darryl Boyce went 9-for-13.
With Clarke MacArthur in the box for interference, Wayne Simmonds tipped a Matt Carle wrist shot past Reimer, putting the Leafs behind 2-0 midway through the second period. Flyers rookie Brayden Schenn drew an assist on the goal.
Philadelphia’s Brayden Schenn, younger brother of Toronto’s Luke Schenn, got the last laugh in this particular game, finishing with an assist in less than 18 minutes of ice time.
His big brother was a minus-2 for Toronto in 15:38 minutes played.
Fresh off of signing a five-year, $18-million US deal, Luke hopes to repeat on his successful 2010-11 campaign where he was the only NHL player to record 250 hits and 150 blocked shots.
Moments after the Simmonds goal, Mike Testwuide finished a brilliant passing play, firing a wrist shot past a helpless Reimer, extending Philadelphia’s lead to three heading into the final period. Carle and Couturier collected the assists, the latter in his first-ever NHL game.
Couturier continued his strong NHL debut, beating Reimer early in the third period, pushing the gap to 4-0.
“You couldn’t really fault [Reimer] on any of the goals,” said Wilson. “Poor coverage and bad turnovers in our end and getting beat one-on-one wide, he basically didn’t have a chance.”
Toronto will get a second chance against the Flyers on Wednesday night (7 p.m. ET), when they travel to Philadelphia for the second half of the home-and-home series at the Wells Fargo Center.