The first exhibition game at the Air Canada Centre this year went the distance as the Toronto Maple Leafs fell to the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2, in a shootout Monday night.
Tye McGinn scored in the seventh round to split the back-to-back games the two clubs played.
Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner and TJ Brannan all had opportunities to score in the extra rounds for Toronto, but weren’t able to come through.
The Maple Leafs had a 2-1 lead going into the third period, until Bruno Gervais tied it at the 6:56 mark, unassisted, with a slap shot from the left circle.
Maple Leafs’ goaltender Drew MacIntyre replaced starter Jonathan Bernier halfway through the game and stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced, including a handful of tough saves to keep his team in the game.
“I was just trying to stay in the moment,” said the 30-year-old journeyman. “When you’ve played as long as I have, you go through ups and downs and you learn to deal with certain situations.
“You never get too high or you never get too low.”
Head coach Randy Carlyle liked what he saw between the pipes from the backup goalie.
“I thought MacIntyre played very well given the shot advantage they had in the second period against us,” said the coach.
In the second period, he made a nice glove save off Adam Hall, followed by a pad stop on a Philadelphia two-on-one shortly after. MacIntyre needed to help his teammates out after some bad giveaways in front of the net.
He also stopped a three-on-one by Philadelphia late it the third.
MacIntyre played with the Marlies last season in the AHL and won’t likely see any action in the NHL barring injuries to James Reimer or Bernier.
“It was fun. I’ve been playing for quite a while, but haven’t had too many moments,” he said regarding the positive crowd reaction during the game due to his play.
“It was a blessing. I’m thankful for every moment up here.”
The Flyers outshot the Leafs 30-21.
Leafs’ rookie Jamie Devane broke a 1-1 tie late in the second with a one-timer from the point. Trevor Smith and Mark Fraser picked up the assists.
James van Riemsdyk led off the scoring when he bolted down the left wing and wired a shot glove side to beat goalie Calvin Heeter at 12:30 in the first. The goal was unassisted.
Flyers tied the game with a soft Luke Schenn slap shot from the point with 18 seconds left in the opening frame. Nicklas Grossman and Tyler Brown picked up the assists.
Bernier made his first appearance as a Maple Leaf on Monday and stopped 14 of his 15 shots. The Laval, Que. native was traded to Toronto from Los Angeles in the off-season and will compete for the starting job with Reimer.
“I thought Bernier was pretty solid in the net,” said Carlyle.
“The one that went in actually went off our defencemen and caught him moving to the puck, can’t really fault him there.”
It will be a different environment for Bernier in Toronto than in Los Angeles, but said he needs to keep focused on what’s important.
“That’s the mindset that I need to have, to focus on my game and not the outside stuff.”
Both clubs are now 1-1 in the pre-season. The Maple Leafs beat the Flyers, 4-3, on Sunday night in London.
Phil Kessel looked like he was about to drop the gloves with Ben Holmstrom in front of the Flyers’ net when both were swinging their sticks at each other during the second, but the referees quickly put a stop to it.
The Leafs’ sniper spent much of the night sitting in the box, picking up six penalty minutes.
The Flyers went 0-5 on the power-play, while the Leafs went 0-3.
Carlyle spoke about how the game had its low points energy-wise because of the exhibition atmosphere.
“I wouldn’t say it was a classical NHL game,” said the coach. “It wasn’t, what I would say the most intense exhibition game, but that’s what you get some nights.”
Attendance was 19,185. Toronto plays next in Ottawa on Sept. 19.